An article Tuesday in the business magazine Forbes rained big time on Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s newly resuscitated crusade to call for a federal balanced budget amendment [BBA]. Elected to a second and final term in early November, Ohio’s governor, a former Chairman of the House Budget Committee during the reign of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, took a pounding in an aptly titled article: “John Kasich Isn’t Ready For Prime Time On The Federal Budget.”

“It’s a bit strange to have to say that Ohio Governor and possible Republican candidate for president John Kasich doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to the federal budget,” Stan Collender wrote. “But anyone who calls for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would require a balanced budget each year, as Politico has reported Kasich has done, doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to fiscal policy. He deserves to be denounced for doing it.”

Being for a balanced budget amendment is an easy way to avoid going on record for the specific policies that would actually get spending to equal revenues, Collender opines, adding, “All you have to do is be in favor of changing the process.” Gov. Kasich, from his earliest days in the Ohio Senate where he first introduced a resolution calling for a BBA, has been big on grand ideas but short on details. That tradition was alive and well last week when one reporter, not one from Ohio, asked him what he would cut to balance the budget. Basic Kasich is to offer no details, which the go-go CEO style governor did.

Calling the governor’s proposal “anything but a new or innovative plan,” the Forbes’ article unpacks Kasich’s balanced budget amendment as mostly a substitute for a substantive debate on the budget itself. “Never mind increasing revenues or reducing spending now its advocates say; just change the rules in the future so we can’t do it again,” Collender mocks Gov. Kasich, who made history this year by setting aside decades of debates by refusing to debate his Democratic candidate.

Taking it to the presidential wannabee Kasich, who’s currently engaged in a stealth campaign for the Oval Office, Collender says, “If it happened at all, it would likely take seven years for the amendment to be ratified by the states and then wouldn’t take effect for several years more. In other words, it wouldn’t be in effect for the whole time Kasich would be in the White House even if he were re-elected and served eight years.”

For the author, Gov. Kasich’s balanced budget amendment would be a disastrous fiscal policy for the country. “There simply are times when a federal deficit is called for because of what else is happening in the economy. For example, a balanced budget requirement in 2008 and 2009 would have made a federal response to the recession impossible and significantly deepened the downturn,” Collender writes.

Gov. Kasich is a master of the bob-and-weave, having perfected it over a long and lucrative career as an elected official. Striving to be included in the list of top tier GOP hopefuls for 2016 now that he’s out of the reach of voters in Ohio, the governor who appears more of a Billy Sunday crusader character than a governor for all is desperately seeking attention by showing what an independent official he is, when he’s as Republican today as he was in 1978.

  • dmoore2222

    All true, but he got re-elected in Ohio because most Ohioans basically didn’t really care what they were getting in a governor. Whether or not that would happen on a national level remains to be seen. But it wouldn’t surprise me from a population that really can’t distinguish between reality and reality shows.

  • davescottsc

    Katich shows what a fraud he is. He knows the arithmetic full well. For this man to get up in front of an audience and say “I’ll balance the federal budget — look at that IRS and Secret Service spending” is demagoguery of the worst kind — dishonest, sick, pernicious stuff that does our democracy real harm by pretending that you can address excruciatingly difficult long term public policy choices with bumper sticker solutions — just calling on the Amendment Fairy. Note that congressman Stivers has also called for an amendment.

  • Ruth Alexander

    I live in Ohio and I voted against him, but we were given the impression early in the election that Fitzgerald wasn’t going to win. There was a drunk driving scandal and he couldn’t raise money for advertising. It was a shame that his opponent could just be written off so easily. I don’t know what my state was thinking.

  • Anthony Dlugos

    “For example, a balanced budget requirement in 2008 and 2009 would have made a federal response to the recession impossible…”

    Come to think of it, that could be the best possible reason for supporting a balance budget amendment.

    Sadly, however, we all know that politicians would just ignore the proposed amendment anyway, or else insert enough loopholes to ignore it with impunity, and thus extend and deepen any recession that their previous policies in all likelihood created in the first place.

    Of course, Mr. Collender further writes that the lack of a federal response would have “…significantly deepened the downturn,” which is essentially unverifiable, since we don’t have access to parallel universes, one where federal action is tried and one where it is not, to determine if his assertion is correct.

    On the other hand, based on what he wrote, I would assume Mr. Collender is probably a liberal or progressive, and thus has a metaphysical belief in the goodness of government action, and so requires no evidence that government can magically solve problems more efficiently than voluntary exchange, even though there is zero evidence for this idea.

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