By John Solomon | The Washington Times
Just months after he gave a speech earlier this year that challenged America’s leadership in President Obama’s presence, Dr. Ben Carson was targeted by IRS agents who requested to review his real estate holdings and then conducted a full audit without finding any wrongdoing.
“I guess it could be a coincidence, but I never had been audited before and never really had any encounters with the IRS,” Dr. Carson said in an interview Thursday with The Washington Times. “But it certainly would make one suspicious because we know now the IRS has been used for political purposes and therefore actions like this come under suspicion.”
Dr. Carson is a world-renown neurosurgeon whose rise from poverty and a single-parent home, and his medical work with pediatric patients was celebrated in a movie called “Gifted Hands.”
He has electrified the conservative world with speeches and columns since his February National Prayer Breakfast speech in front of Mr. Obama, in which he decried the “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility” of America in recent years. He writes a weekly column for The Times.
Dr. Carson told The Times that IRS agents contacted him in June — less than four months after the speech — and requested to review his real estate holdings. After finding nothing that concerned them, the agents then informed him they were conducting a full audit of his finances, and then asked to go back an additional year to review his records, he said.
They finally ended the review in August after finding no problems, Dr. Carson said.
“They told me everything was in good standing and left,” he said.
Asked whether he thought the audit was a retaliation for his speech, Dr. Carson quipped: “I guess I’m surprised it took them that long.”
He said the more serious issue is that the IRS has been politicized — “something that should never have happened” — and that leaves all of its activities open to suspicion.
A call seeking comment from the IRS Thursday morning went unanswered. The agency has furloughed more than 90 percent of its staffers during the government shutdown.
In his prayer breakfast speech, Dr. Carson called for a free market approach to improving the nation’s health care system, knocking the bureaucracy and control measures of Obamacare.
“Here’s my solution: When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health savings account to which money can be contributed — pretax — from the time you’re born ‘til the time you die,” Dr. Carson said. “If you die, you can pass it on to your family members, and there’s nobody talking about death panels. We can make contributions for people who are indigent. Instead of sending all this money to some bureaucracy, let’s put it in their HSAs. Now they have some control over their own health care. And very quickly they’re going to learn how to be responsible.”
The speech, which reverberated across the political landscape and had the The Wall Street Journal editorial page calling for Dr. Carson to run for president, also criticized liberal tax policies favored by Mr. Obama.
“What about our taxation system? It’s so complex there is no one who can possibly comply with every jot and tittle of our tax system. What we need to do is come up with something that is simple,” Carson stated. “You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10, you put in $1 — of course, you gotta get rid of the loopholes, but now some people say, ‘That’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made $10.’ Where does it say you have to hurt the guy? He’s just put in a billion in the pot! We don’t need to hurt him.
“It’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here, building our infrastructure and creating jobs — and we’re smart enough to figure out how to do that.”
He also focused on the nation’s moral decay and its similarities to ancient Rome.
“I think particularly about ancient Rome. Very powerful. Nobody could even challenge them militarily, but what happened to them? They destroyed themselves from within. Moral decay, fiscal irresponsibility. They destroyed themselves. If you don’t think that can happen to America, you get out your books and you start reading, Dr. Carson said.
“Our deficit is a big problem. Think about it. Our national debt — $16.5 trillion — you think that’s not a lot of money? I’ll tell you what, count one number per second … You know how long it would take you to count to 16 trillion? 507,000 years — more than a half a million years to get there. We have to deal with this.”.Follow enlightenedlbrl