Quite a few people Wednesday were outraged, offended, shocked, etc., to learn that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson had said during a radio interview Tuesday that poverty “is a state of mind.”

Barack Obama’s (former?) senior adviser Valerie Jarrett managed to strike just the right balance of disbelief and self-righteousness, though there were plenty of runners-up. Look at all these super-smart folks.

Maybe it’s experience, or maybe it was just a hunch that inspired us to see if maybe there was more to Carson’s statement than the bit that made all the headlines.

According to the Hill, what Carson said was that a person’s mindset could have a huge influence on getting them out of poverty or keeping them in it:

“You take somebody that has the right mindset, you 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 in a SiriusXM radio interview released Wednesday. “And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom.”

So, Carson’s solution is to strip away all government assistance and force people either to “think” their way out of poverty or starve? Not quite; Carson went on to call a defeatist attitude “real poverty” that no amount of assistance can cure.

“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,” Carson added. “It can provide a ladder of opportunity, it can provide the mechanism that we demonstrate to them what can be done.”

Wow, it’s crazy that that didn’t make all the headlines: “Ben Carson says government can be very helpful in providing poor a ladder of opportunity.”

What right does wealthy neurosurgeon Ben Carson have to talk about poverty anyway?

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