However, Hallett and Riskind engage in a game of distraction in declaring Kasich a “success.”
The article begins with this question:
“How much of a role did Kasich actually play in balancing the federal budget in the late 1990s?”
Here’s Governor Strickland’s answer:
“It was the economy that brought us to a balanced budget, it was not the work of any individual,” Strickland said.
But Strickland also correctly points out that the task was made easier then by tax increases championed in 1990 by Republican President George H.W. Bush and in 1993 by Clinton, coupled with a booming dot-com economy that produced record revenue for the federal government.
And for an objective, academic prospective?
“For the most part, Republicans and Democrats joined together to take credit for what was happening, due mostly to a bubble-fed surge in federal revenues,” said Allen Schick, a federal budget expert and public policy professor at the University of Maryland.
Kasich disagreed, contending that Clinton’s budgets in 1994 and 1995 projected “$200 billion deficits as far as the eye could see.”
Well, not really, and Hallett and Riskind failed to point out an obvious counterpoint to Kasich’s soundbite: Kasich’s budgets at the time also predicted budget deficits until this century. None of Kasich’s budgets, which were NEVER enacted, ever predicted a budget surplus in the 1990s. At best, they predicted a “balanced” budget by the early 2000s.
The reason Kasich’s projections were off? Yeah, that bubble economy Prof. Schick and even the CATO Institute acknowledges was responsible for balancing the budget and creating federal “surpluses,” not John Kasich (or Bill Clinton.)
To Kasich’s defense rides Newt Gingrich and Pete Dominici, who spend the rest of the article discussion how important Kasich’s role was in budget negotiations, even though he was excluded from negotiations with the White House, which the article mentions.
But this is a subterfuge, because this issue isn’t whether John Kasich was involved in the federal budget debate in the 1990s. He was the House Budget Chairman, of course, he was involved. The issue was, I thought, was did Kasich actually do anything that allows him to claim credit for those surpluses.
The fact that the Clinton White House is viewed as winning each budget battle and none of the draconian cuts Kasich advocated ever made it into law, coupled with the fact that Kasich’s own budgets didn’t predict they’d be balanced in nearly a decade, all suggests that his claim to fame is undeserved.
And you’d think that there’d be some mention of how Kasich’s current tax plan, with no plan to pay for them, is a stark contrast to the image Kasich presents from his congressional days.
You’d think in a story that was about whether Kasich did anything to deserve credit for the budget surplus, you’d see, you know, SOMETHING that actually discussed these issues.
But not in an article written by Joe Hallett for the Columbus Dispatch. Not when the the truth doesn’t support Kasich’s narrative.