Where does Ben Carson stand on the issues?

Detroit News staff

Age: 65

State: West Palm Beach, Florida (formerly Maryland)

Family: Wife Candy and three grown sons

Current position: Retired neurosurgeon from Johns Hopkins University

Professional background: Director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore from 1984 until his 2013 retirement. In 1987, Carson completed the first successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head. It was one of several ground-breaking surgeries he performed. Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush.

Political background: None. He rose to political attention because of his speech at the February 2013 National Prayer Breakfast in which he criticized government policies, including the Affordable Care Act, with President Barack Obama sitting a few feet away.

Biggest campaign controversy: In September, he said he would “not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” adding that Islam is not consistent with the Constitution — an apparent reference to sharia law. He later said he would be open to a moderate Muslim presidential candidate but the country shouldn’t elect people “whose faith might interfere with carrying out the duties of the Constitution.”

Signature campaign line: “I have no interest in being like everybody else and giving away all our values and principles for the sake of political correctness.”

Number of delegates: 8 of the 1,237 needed to win. Said Wednesday he wouldn’t campaign anymore.


Flint: “When they switched over from the Detroit water supply to the Flint water supply, people immediately started complaining. They said, ‘This water is dirty, it smells bad. It tastes bad,’ and yet nobody did anything about it. I think that is abominable.”

Auto bailout: No official position, but implied opposition. “I don’t know if it does any good to rehash things that have already been done,” he said in a December interview with The Detroit News. “I will say that Ford didn’t participate in that. It seems like they are doing OK.”

Taxes: Replace the tax code with a uniform 14.9 percent income tax rate with no deductions, tax shelters or loopholes. Apply this flat tax only to families with income above 150 percent of the federal poverty level or above $36,375 for a family of four. The same 14.9 percent rate would apply to corporations. Would stop double taxation of capital gains, dividends and interest income at the personal level. Eliminate the estate tax.

Immigration: Install layered fencing across the southern border and increase the number of Border Control agents. Give illegal immigrants six months to register with federal government. Those who don’t would be prosecuted as criminals. Those who do register and “have an acceptable record” could become eligible for guest worker status by paying a back tax penalty.

Health care: Would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Gradually raise the Medicare eligibility age to 70. Give each American a tax-free health savings account at birth to pay for life-long medical expenses. Accounts would be paired with high-deductible major medical insurance plans to cover basic health care needs.

Abortion: Opposes it. Says as a pediatric neurosurgeon, he “dedicated my life to saving and improving the lives of children.” Would eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, calling it a “corrupt organization ... involved in abhorrent practices.”

Islamic State: Would formally declare war on the Islamic State. Increase air war against IS with support of Iraqi and Kurdish ground troops. Impose tough sanctions on nations, groups and individuals who commit terrorist acts or provide material or moral support to radical jihad.

Syrian refugees: Opposes Donald Trump’s call for a temporary ban on all Muslims from entering the country as unconstitutional discrimination. “You can’t discriminate against people based on their religion,” Carson told The Detroit News. “That really would not be consistent with the First Amendment rights guaranteed by our Constitution.”

Source: Detroit News research