John Kasich gave the Republican weekly radio address yesterday and he urged “the federal government to follow Ohio’s example.” “We looked our problems square in the eye and we didn’t blink…and Americans can learn from Ohio,” said Kasich.
There are three problems with Kasich’s statements that I think need to be pointed out:
First: Republicans in congress are focused on one thing: cutting spending. But John Kasich didn’t cut spending. He actually INCREASED spending from the General Revenue Fund (GRF). According to the Legislative Service Commission (LSC), Strickland’s last budget had $50 billion in GRF spending while Kasich’s has $55 billion. That’s $5 BILLION dollars, an increase of 10 percent.
Second: Kasich balanced his budget in large part by planning to sell off or privatize everything the state owns (prisons, lottery, liquor, turnpike) in exchange for one-time money.
Third: Kasich balanced his budget by cutting funding from local governments. In fiscal year 2012, the local government fund (for cities, counties, etc.) is getting 25% less money. In 2013 the cuts jump to 50%! And don’t even get me started about the massive education cuts.
So if Barack Obama wanted to “follow Ohio’s example”, as set by Kasich, the President would need to do at least three things:
1. Increase federal spending by about 10%.
2. Sell off everything the US government owns to get one-time money to pay for short-term costs – Federal parks? SOLD! Highways? SOLD! The White House? SOLD TO THE HIGHEST (Chinese) BIDDER!
3. Make MASSIVE funding cuts to states.
According to our sister site OhioBudgetWatch.com: “The State of Ohio saw $108 billion in federal funds come our way in 2009.” That’s over $200 billion over two years. Nearly four times our state budget.
Kasich claims he closed an $8 billion budget hole (which is a lie – but let’s play along for simplicity’s sake). You want to guess what would happen if we lost 25% of our total federal funding? 50%?!
To be fair, a good portion of that goes to retirement and disability payments and other direct payments to individuals like Medicare, pell grants and unemployment compensation. And this money would probably continue to flow under Obama.
But at least $16 billion in federal grants goes directly to Ohio’s GRF over the next two fiscal years (according to the same LSC analysis mentioned above) and a 50% cut to that funding would double the budget hole Kasich claimed we had (and likely quadruple the real budget hole).
It’s cute that the Republicans think John Kasich and his 33% approval rating are going to sway voters into believing Republicans have a better plan for resolving our country’s financial issues, especially since nothing Kasich did is the least bit relevant to the national discussion.
But they all seem to have missed one very basic fact here: if the U.S. government actually followed Kasich’s advice, Kasich – and all of Ohio – would be completely and totally screwed.
Road construction and maintenance would grind to a halt. Government offices would reduce hours or close completely. Police and fire services would be gutted. And thousands of state and local government employees would immediately lose their jobs, causing our unemployment rate to go up even more.
At the state and local level, Kasich’s budget plan is going to be painful and difficult and will ultimately set the state back years, if not decades. At the federal level, a Kasich-type plan would completely destroy Ohio.
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