Continuing to campaign in New Hampshire, the early primary state he’s betting his presidential run on, Ohio Gov. John Kasich revealed his plan to fix Social Security, the most important social safety net program in the nation’s history that is celebrating its 80th birthday.

Trying to sell himself as a budget balancer, compassionate conservative, military expert and man of faith to Granite State voters who don’t know him like Ohioans do, recent polls show that after spending $3 million in TV ads to introduce himself, the Ohio governor has moved up in state polls. Mr. Kasich is now in third place, a point behind second place candidate Jeb! Bush, who trails state poll leader Donald Trump.

Robber Baron Kasich

The governor’s upbeat, positive message about his vision for a new day in America almost never includes actual plans to achieve what he would do were he to be elected president next year. Based on what Gov. Kasich said to a group of New Hampshire voters yesterday, his recipe going forward has changed little from what he’s advocated over the course of his long and lucrative career in politics, which relies more on tearing down than building up.

Speaking on the topic of entitlements, Gov. Kasich, said, “On entitlements, they all need to be—so let me give you my basic feeling on it. If you’re on it, we don’t want to take it away. The baby boomers are going to have to give some on it. Not sure what it’s going to be yet, because I gotta go back and do all the numbers again. And for the younger people I still like the idea of giving them an opportunity to earn money through the strength of our American economy, with Social Security included in that.”

Kasich’s comments could be very problematic for him, since he voted for the 1983 Social Security tax hike that was supposed to put a surplus in place to secure Baby Boomer retirements. As one political watcher said, “It takes a special sort of Chutzpa to vote a big tax hike on a generation’s entire working life and then steal the benefit at the last minute.”

Gov. Kasich, whose value on FEC financial disclosure documents could be as high as $22 million, wants the Baby Boom generation [1946-1964] to give up some of its hard-earned Social Security benefits, while he privatizes the system for future generations. In the past, Congressman Kasich has proposed cutting Social Security benefits and been a supporter of privatizing Social Security since his days in Congress. Sources say he introduced legislation that would implement a new retirement program that has been called “stealth privatization.”

President George W. Bush, who forced Kasich out of the race for president in 2000, also wanted to privatize the program created in 1935 by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But Bush’s effort to tamper with the so-called third-rail of politics went no where.

Kath Allen of Peterborough asked Kasich how it’s fair that Americans earning over $118,500 are only taxed up to that amount for Social Security, Benji Rosen of the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript reported. Kasich said he wasn’t for raising taxes, and instead spoke about his 1998 plan as a U.S. representative to fix Social Security. Gov. Kasich doesn’t count raising use taxes as raising taxes. It’s true he has cut Ohio’s income tax rates, but it’s also true he has raised other taxes in order to amass the funds he gives back to his wealthiest donor base in state subsidies.

Kasich Wants Wall Street In Charge

Asked to comment on Gov. Kasich’s plan, Brad Wright of the The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare said, “Privatizing Social Security means handing it over to Wall St. And it’s just another way to cut the benefits of the American men and women who contribute to social security. It is perhaps the most successful of all government programs which and pays for itself. It has never contributed a dime to the national debt.

Ohio senior U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, a strong voice for Social Security, said on its birthday, “For the better part of a century, Social Security has been crucial to the financial security of millions of Americans of all income levels – including retirees, workers with disabilities, and children whose parents can no longer provide for them because of death or disability. While its benefits remain relatively modest, some in Washington are calling for cuts to Social Security.”

With fewer defined pensions and more seniors relying on Social Security for the majority of their incomes, Brown said “we should be expanding Social Security instead of cutting it.” He added, “Social Security’s continued success relies on Congress’s ability to work together. We must take steps to ensure that it remains strong for another eight decades and beyond.”

DNC National Press Secretary Holly Shulman didn’t let any dust settle on Kasich’s candid comments. “Asking baby boomers to face cuts on the Social Security benefits they’ve earned over their entire lives is the exact opposite of what they need to hear from a White House contender,” she said via email Wednesday. “We need to be doing more to protect our seniors who are so close to retirement and counting on a system they’ve paid into. Instead of doing the time warp on Social Security, Republicans should join Democrats and fight to protect and preserve this promise to our seniors.”

“The Governor better look again at the numbers,” said Robert Borosage, founder and current president of Campaign for America’s Future, a Washington based progressive advocacy group. “He [Kasich] seems to think the US has an entitlements crisis,” Mr. Borosage, an Ohioan by birth, told me via email today.
Social Security was never in crisis, Mr. Bososage argues.  In fact, it contributes virtually nothing to the “scary long-range projections about deficits … and even on its own bottom, only minor reforms are needed to sustain it.” For Mr. Borosage, who played a large role in hammering out a People’s Platform that more aligns with Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton now, a larger concern is handling the demographic change as Baby Boomers retire out of the workforce.
“The real question is the retirement crisis we’re headed into, with too many Americans without pensions or savings, suggesting that we ought to be planning ways to expand Social Security not cut it,” he said.
Mr. Borosage said the driver of long-term deficits is and has been health care costs.  “Obamacare — and the recession — has had greater effects in slowing the rise of health care costs than any expected,” he said, adding, “But much more needs to be done, starting with repealing the absurd ban on Medicare negotiating bulk discounts on prescription drugs.”
To Mr. Borosage, Ohio’s go-go CEO governor sounds like someone who thinks the question is how to cut entitlements.  “The question is how to get the economy growing — and cutting Social Security would be truly counterproductive towards that end.”
Does Kasich Understand Social Security?
As Chairman of the House Budget Committee in the late 1990s, Gov. Kasich is claiming near sole credit for balancing the federal budget, even though he voted against the 1993 Clinton budget that made it all possible. Before he declared for president, Ohio’s term-limited governor was out peddling a federal balanced budget amendment that budget experts say is a bad idea at best and a disaster of an idea at worst. Gov. Kasich is a signatory to Grover Norquist’s no new tax pledge, which means the obvious and easy solution to shoring up Social Security’s solvency to the end of the century, raising the income cap on paying into Social Security, is a non-starter for him.

He would rather spend billions on bulking up American military might, even sending more boots on the ground to Iraq and Syria, then balance the budget by taking benefits from retirees’ earned benefits when they are just ready to start to enjoy them. If that’s not a bait and switch recipe, then Gov. Kasich needs to explain the madness of his method clearly for everyone to understand.

Democratic candidates, on the other hand, are campaigning to strengthen and boost programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Talking first and thinking later, Gov. Kasich will have an uphill climb to convince the majority of Americans who want social safety net programs they pay into to be around when they need them that his recipe to whittle them down and privatize them is the absolute wrong policy.

When St. Peter asks John Kasich what he did for the poor, his answer better not be that he took programs that keep them alive, fed and healthy down in order to balance budgets out of whack from his costly military spending and crony capitalism.

  • Spitfiremk1

    SSDD – how much proof is needed for voters to see what they are dealing with? We know in Ohio what a financial windfall to private companies like Lehman Brothers John Kasich could be, ask anyone with a state pension how well that works. It worked so well that they have lost their group insurence bargaining power for a “connector” -republican code for “here’s a couple of bucks, go see how far it gets you with health care.” What a guy!

  • Susan Riley

    A question I would like to hear asked during a Republican debate: Why have none of you talked about lifting the cap on income from which SS taxes are withheld? And if you think this is a bad idea, please give us a detailed reason why you feel that way.

  • Red Rover

    The Soviet Union’s Premier Nikita Kruschev went on a big tour only to find out when he came back to Moscow that he’d been “retired” due to his incompetence. Wouldn’t it be great if Kasich could come back from his favorite campaigning destination to similar news?

  • Michael Smith

    Frankly, I’m in favor of some cuts to social security for baby boomers. The reality is that we have to make cuts and/or raise taxes or payments will drop 21% in about 17 (?) years. We’ve known that that day of reckoning has been coming for many years. Does anyone remember Al Gore’s lockbox? When you tell people “hey, you just ignored this problem for 15 years and now you get off scott free while your kids pay the entire bill”, you set a dangerous precedent. We should be facing these challenges head on and solving them early. Because we’ve wasted 15 years, changes are going to have to be much more drastic.

    So let’s see the baby boomers give up a little something. Everyone should contribute in some way.

    But privatization? No thank you. There is no logic to that, apart from trying to give the financial sector more cash to steal.

  • Michael Smith

    Because it doesn’t solve the problem. It actually does very little, unless you lift the cap for taxes while keeping the cap for calculating benefits.

    That is a dangerous thing to do, IMO. Benefits were very carefully crafted such that there was a direct tie between taxes paid and benefits paid – the more you pay in taxes, the more you get in benefits – but with a progressive scale where lower incomes come with a higher rate of return. If you eliminate that connection, you take a large section of the population and turn them against social security. I think you’re far more likely to see social security end if you do that than if you make other modest changes and keep people with their buy-in.

  • john curry

    Social Security is in good shape now…it would be in great shape if the “cap” were to be eliminated or to be raised significantly more. Too many wealthy are “freeloading” by quitting to pay into the system after them make their first $118,000 each year. Of course it’s a lot more fun (and saves money for the wealthy) when one fear mongers by putting out misinformation and disinformation about Social Security being on its death bed, isn’t it? I have heard this sob story for six decades now. Give me an effing break!

  • Spitfiremk1

    You truly are the man with a hundred faces, and I am not sure I particularly care for this one.

  • fry1laurie

    For being a Grover Norquist bot, Kasuck sure doesn’t get the “no tax increases” thing. Income tax for the lowest earners went way up, and his government cuts have forced local communities to raise their taxes. A tax cutter Kasuck is not.

  • I think you are living in some kind of fantasy world. Do you know what happened in 2008? The Great Recession came along and took with it the jobs, the savings, and the home equity of millions of Baby Boomers. Many Baby Boomers who thought they had things well in hand in the 1990’s.. up until the mid 2000’s… found that everything fell apart. People who were in their 50’s and 60’s who lost their jobs in the recession often had to cash in their retirement savings just to stay afloat. Many of them were out of full-time bill-paying work for years… The Baby Boomers who did find work probably are not making anything close to what they were making before the Crash. Some had to take early Social Security just to keep the lights on and keep a roof over their heads.

    Don’t for one minute think that these people didn’t save enough… Many of them never made that much anyway; some had to deal with illnesses and accidents or family members with illnesses and accidents. Some of them saved, never anticipating they’d lose their homes; their savings, everything.
    Now some Baby Boomers made it through the recession without horrible losses and they are now able to retire to a reasonable life style. But others are not. Others, people who were considered middle class at one time, face a retirement of near-poverty, being much more dependent on Social Seucrity than they ever thought they’d be.

    Be glad that none of that happened to you.

    Not sure how much you want the Baby Boomers to give up. Too many have given up too much already.

  • A large section of the population? I don’t believe that more than 4-6% of workers earn more than $117,000 in any given year. And it seems that few people earn more than the cap for decades of their working lives.. Those that do are extremely fortunate.

  • Michael Smith

    It’s actually a bit above 6% that earn over the maximum taxable. But that isn’t the only portion of the population that you turn completely against social security if you remove the link between what you pay and what you receive. There are a lot of people with close to the maximum taxable income who will likely exceed it (remember, this isn’t a static 6+% of the population you’re talking about) sooner or later. And there are the people who generally believe in fairness. The current system pays everyone an expected positive rate of return. The poor get a higher rate, the rich get a lower rate. By having the variable rate, there is some wealth transfer going on, but only a limited amount. If you turn the program into a wealth transfer scheme, where we tax you more but don’t increase your benefits at all, you lose basically the entire GOP base – many of whom actually still do support social security.

    That is a VERY dangerous thing to do.

  • Michael Smith

    The wealthy aren’t “freeloading” in social security. They’re getting the lowest rates of return on the money they pay in of anybody. You can’t say that the guy paying $100 in taxes to get $101 in benefits is freeloading when everyone else is paying $40 in taxes to get $60 in benefits.

  • Michael Smith

    I don’t care for people who insist that everyone else pay for the problems they helped create, and take a selfish attitude of “I got mine, screw the next generations!”

  • Spitfiremk1

    Well how about this , Mike: we screwed them in Viet Nam, we screwed them when they tried to earn a living by outsourcing the jobs (many to Viet Nam) and we screwed them when they tried to help US pay for our college so we could have a better life. I’m sorry that the people who raised you are too much of a burden for you to tolerate.

  • Michael Smith

    You’re pointing out things that are no different than for any generation. Kids entering school today are going to pay far more for college than their parents paid, because their parents decided to slash funding for state colleges and universities. They’ll be looking at even fewer jobs available as the baby boomers (and those that followed) outsourced even more jobs.

    The question is – do you stop the bleed or do you insist on keeping on with the “give me mine, the next generation will just have to make do with less” madness that we’ve been on. The next generations are predicted to have lower incomes than the past because of these trends. We’re seeing it already. And you want to pile on to it by making them pay for every sin of their forefathers?

  • Spitfiremk1

    Do you realize how immature you are sounding?

    Consider this: there are more of them and unless you can make your vote count for more than theirs, you are going to be the one who gets voted off of the raft.

    You sound more like Donald Trump than he does.

  • Michael Smith

    Talk about jumping the shark.

    So the person who says that the hole that past generations have dug for us should be fixed by EVERYONE contributing something, and calling for the people arguably most responsible for letting it get so big to take a razor thin cut, so that future generations might have some remote hope of maybe having it as good as those in the past – THAT person is being immature? Not the person who says “give me my benefit, don’t charge me, just take it all away from future generations… and ignore that I helped dig that hole”?

    Are you kidding me?

    And yes, there are a lot of you. And voting to screw over future generations is hardly anything to be proud of. NO child in a younger generation has any reason to believe that they’ll ever get as good of a deal from social security as baby boomers did. Not one.

  • Spitfiremk1

    For someone so concerned with not removing “the cap” you sound couriosly worried that there will be enough left for you.

    I’m sorry about your troubles, but one way or another we all hoe weed for the county. Now go ahead and Trump it.

  • fred murtz

    Maybe we can stop giving $aid to the rest of the world, just for six months.I’m sure that would fix social security. I’ve paid my fair share over the years, save it alone. If the powers that be could pay back all the $$ they took out over the years,we wouldn’t be concerned. It’s not a entitlement. It’s someone holding my taxed money until I can collect. It.

  • KCP

    Yeah, put Social Security in the hands of Wall Street, what could possibly go wrong? The Republicans want smaller government but larger Wall Street, that way Wall Street can control the country and we will be at their mercy. Yeah, that’s the ticket let Wall Street control the country, they practically do anyway.

  • KCP

    Here is a suggestion, let’s quit making War Machines that the Military does not want and use the money we would put into Planes that do not fly and tanks that go straight to storage for just one year, pay back what was taken from Social Security and we wouldn’t need to have this conversation.

  • wetsu

    What you are reading in the comments of Mr. Smith involve the latest set of rationalizations being sent down the pike by Wall Street and thus by republican bots. Attempts at shaming people, claims of needing ‘shared sacrifice’ in order to make the program solvent, etc you know the drill since we’ve seen them before. They count on people forgetting history and how the Feds and monied elite have raided SS for decades, living high on the hog directly off of the Boomers. Anyone with two functioning brain cells can figure out that they would come for the pensions.

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