Later, neurosurgeon Ben Carson received a question more likely to come up in a Democratic presidential debate. CBS refererred to Morgan Stanley’s $3.2 billion settlement with state and federal regulators over the sale of mortgage-backed bonds in the lead up to the financial meltdown, and asked Carson if he believes that more financial executives should be held legally “responsible for crises” and if fines are an effective deterrent against bad behavior.
Though white-collar prosecutions have hit a 20-year low, Carson fired back that the real problem is that regulators are too aggressive.
“We have all these government regulators. All they’re doing is running around looking for people to fine, and we’ve got 645 different federal agencies and sub-agencies — way, way too many, and they don’t have anything else to do,” he said. “I think what we really need to do is start trimming the regulatory agencies, rather than going after the people who are trying to increase the economic viability of our society.”
Carson continued: “Now that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some people out there who are doing bad things. But I’m not sure that the way to solve that problem is by increasing all the regulatory burden. When you consider how much regulations cost us each year, $2 trillion. Per family, $24,000 per family. That happens to be the same level as the poverty level for a family of four. You want to get rid of poverty, get rid of all the regulations.”