Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks outside the Alpha Gamma Rho house during a campaign stop at Iowa State University on Oct. 24, 2015 in Ames, Iowa.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty

‘Learning curve’ gives Carson trouble again

Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson talked to The Hill yesterday, and shared some thoughts about budget policy. It really didn’t go well.
If elected, Carson said, “I will make it very, very clear that there will not be any budget signed that increases our debt ceiling. It will have to be done.”
Unless the retired neurosurgeon believes the $400 billion deficit will magically disappear in his first year, none of this makes sense. A few weeks ago, it was clear Carson didn’t understand what the debt ceiling is, and he hasn’t gotten up to speed since.
Making matters worse, the leading GOP candidate seemed to stumble yesterday on how public schools are funded. MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin reported yesterday:
Dr. Ben Carson defended a prior call to combine and “redistribute” education funds in order to eliminate inequality between rich and poor school districts on Tuesday, but his campaign clarified afterwards that Carson would not intrude on local control of education.
The exchange stemmed from comments Carson made in 2014 to Politico Magazine in which he condemned gaps in school spending at the local level.
Last year, he argued, “If you happen to be in an affluent community, there’s a lot more money for the schools, better facilities, everything. All that does is perpetuate the situation, Wouldn’t it make more sense to put the money in a pot and redistribute it throughout the country so that public schools are equal, whether you’re in a poor area or a wealthy area?”
Asked yesterday about this by CNN’s Jake Tapper, Carson said such a policy was “very different than redistributing because you believe in it as a social thing.”
I don’t know what this means. I’m not sure Carson does, either.
Soon after, a Carson campaign spokesperson told MSNBC via email, “Dr. Carson [does not] support the national pooling of property tax receipts. That is a falsehood.”
As the MSNBC report added, the campaign spokesperson added that Carson intends to pool federal education funding to bolster Title I, a Department of Education program that distributes money to support urban and rural schools with impoverished student bodies.
That’s not, however, what the candidate himself said, either last year or in yesterday’s interview with Tapper.
Not long after launching his bid for the nation’s highest office, Carson conceded he has limited knowledge about government and public policy. The Republican candidate acknowledged that the “learning curve of a candidate” can be daunting.
By some measures, not much has changed since.

Ben Carson and Benjamin Carson

'Learning curve' gives Carson trouble again