Originally posted at Conservative Review

Durham, NC — Dr. Ben Carson plans a multi-prong approach to attack the $18 trillion U.S. debt and would seek to reduce the regulatory burden to unleash American ingenuity as well as advance both corporate and personal tax reform if he became president.

Dr. Carson’s comments were made in an exclusive interview with Conservative Review just prior to his keynote speech before the Civitas Institute Leadership Conference (CLC) in Durham, North Carolina.

To keep future spending under control, Dr. Carson wants to reduce the size of the federal bureaucracy through attrition and prevent future debt growth through a balanced budget amendment.

Regarding Obamacare, Dr. Carson believes it will die on its own if a better plan was presented to Americans. “It would have to be something that people would want and not something that you have to force people into. You do that first and then Obamacare would just die because nobody will want it.”

Dr. Carson is traveling the country to gauge voter support for a possible run for the White House and described the response to his countywide tour as “unbelievable” adding, “Everywhere we go – North, South, East, West. Red States, Blue States. People are incredibly enthusiastic and it’s good for me to be able to get out in front of people so that they get to know me rather than the news portrayal.”

Recently, Dr. Carson has come under fire for his comments about homosexuality and past comments on gay marriage.

ALSO ON CR: Ben Carson’s 2016 Scouting Report

While Dr. Carson’s personality and demeanor can clash with the sound bite culture of television interviews, the lengthy dinner speech provided him an opportunity to elaborate on his views and policies. For 45 minutes, Dr. Carson calmly paced the stage where he addressed a wide range of policy issues from education to foreign policy.

His speech was not all facts and figures. Dr. Carson personalized his address interjecting jokes about the media’s inability to dig up dirt from his past and growing up in ghettos.

Dr. Carson’s opening comments during his keynote address set the tone for the evening. “The wonderful thing about this conservative group is that they are bold and are willing to stand up for what they believe in. That is really, I believe, going to be the key to whether or not this country remains free or not.”

Dr. Carson joked about all of the things he was planning to do once he retired, such as, learn how to play the organ, catch up on reading and movies, and play lots of golf at the new home he and his wife purchased in Florida.

That is, until the first Thursday of February 2013.

“And then along came the National Prayer Breakfast,” said Dr. Carson, and the mere mention of the day, which catapulted him into the national spotlight, ignited a thunderous round of applause and laughter from the audience.

“I didn’t anticipate all of the things that have happened [since the National Prayer Breakfast] but right now I’ve got to tell you, and it’s fascinating to me, but the media has been in all of the neighborhoods where I’ve lived snooping around, talking to all of my colleagues and patients trying to dig up dirt. And they’re getting frustrated because they can’t find anything.”

Dr. Carson stressed the importance of a good education and for citizens to be informed to avoid being manipulated with misinformation.

“The other thing is so important that our Founders emphasized was education. Why were they so concerned about education? Because they knew that an educated populous is a very difficult to deceive populous. You cannot manipulate people who have a lot of information and who are very well informed.”

During his speech, Dr. Carson elaborated on his earlier comments to Conservative Review about the debt, regulations, taxation and Obamacare.

“I grew up in Detroit. Detroit used to be the most prosperous city in America. From there it went to the biggest bankrupt city in America. How did that happen? Because there were people in Detroit who were thinking about ‘me, me,’ and didn’t care about who was coming along after them. It’s exactly the same thing that is happening to America today as we accumulate these massive debts – over $18 trillion our national debt.

“This is what we are laying on the backs of our children and our grandchildren. And I’m not even talking about the unfunded liabilities somewhere between $100-$200 trillion dollars. This is absolutely criminal,” Carson said.

Dr. Carson sees government policies as a barrier to economic growth and by removing the weight of regulations and excessive taxation, the economy would flourish.

“Now here’s the good news,” Carson went on to say. “This nation possesses the most powerful and dynamic economic engine the world has ever seen. All we have to do is take the fetters off of it. Government has imposed so many rules and regulations on business, industry, academia, every aspect of our lives that it’s virtually impossible for them to function in an efficient way.”

Regarding taxes, Carson added: “We have an absolutely ridiculous taxation system and if we fix the taxes, and we fix regulations, and we get rid of things like Obamacare, we won’t be weighed down.”

With over 600 people attending the exhibits, breakout sessions and keynote speeches, this year’s CLC was their biggest event in its ten-year history. Observing the audience’s warm reception and enthusiastic response, Dr. Carson’s presence contributed to the conference’s successful outcome.

Deneen Borelli is the Senior Correspondent at Conservative Review.

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