In an interview published online on Wednesday, Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, described poverty as a “state of mind.”
“I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind. You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there,” he said during a town hall interview with friend Armstrong Williams that aired on SiriusXM radio Wednesday night. “And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way back down to the bottom.”
Carson added that not all people have a “defeatist” attitude but that the government should help those who do.
“I think the majority of people don’t have that defeatist attitude, but they sometimes just don’t see the way, and that’s where government can come in and be very helpful,” he said. “It can provide the ladder of opportunity, it can provide the mechanism that will demonstrate to them what can be done.”