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.