Floundering in national and state polls, Ohio’s prickly governor, who promises to run over anyone who gets in his way, delivered another one of his big idea speeches Thursday in New Hampshire.
Reading from prepared remarks, a new twist for the off-the-cuff political preacher, John Kasich offered a hodgepodge of leftover ideas we have all heard before.
According to the polls, Mr. Kasich isn’t faring well with voters in New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, Georgia and South Carolina.
Maybe John Kasich’s ‘Cookie Cutter’ Thinking Is Obsolete
James Pethokoukis, an economic policy analyst at the conservative-center American Enterprise Institute, says Kasich’s tax proposals won’t necessarily set him apart from other Republican presidential candidates, according to NBC news.
“That is sort of what you’ve seen from the other plans: Christie, Bush, several others,” Pethokoukis said. “In a way it is a very cookie cutter tax plan.” The problem Kasich will have, Pethokoukis told NBC, is that losing revenue through the tax cuts could make it harder for Kasich to keep his first promise to keep the budget balanced.
“He’s going to do it through Medicare reform, through freezing non-defense discretionary spending, which is already done a lot because of the sequester deal … by freezing it, it will be even lower. It will be really at historically low levels.”
Unpacking Washington To The States
Gov. Kasich spent 18 years in Washington and claims he knows how it works. Yet today, writing in the Washington Post, he declared DC is obsolete and in need of resuscitation. If Kasich thinks Washington is obsolete, what does that say about him and his time spent there, since he’s made his resume there his central selling point. Why then does Ohio’s term-limited chief executive want so desperately to be president of a failed system of government? His lofty remarks, based on decades of being wrong on how to create jobs and increase wages—and Ohio’s metrics on jobs, wages, poverty, etc. are standing proof his zombie ideas only work for a few—were delivered more to resuscitate his own stalled campaign for the White House than anything else.
It takes a lot of political chutzpah to talk about reigning in federal debt when Gov. Kasich reins over a state with more bonded debt devoted to economic development than any state in the nation. Gov. Kasich will never admit it, but according to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government ran a budget deficit of $435 billion fiscal year 2015—$48 billion less than the shortfall recorded in fiscal year 2014, and the smallest deficit recorded since 2007.
Relative to the size of the economy, that deficit—at an estimated 2.4 percent of gross domestic product was slightly below the average experienced over the past 50 years, and 2015 was the sixth consecutive year in which the deficit declined as a percentage of GDP since peaking at 9.8 percent in 2009, experts say.
In fact, the CBO reported that the federal government realized a surplus of $95 billion in September 2015. Mr. Kasich may not listen to experts like former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who says the deficit as a percent of GDP would actually be smaller now without the “sequester,” a strangling of federal government spending orchestrated entirely by his Republican friends in Congress, with special kudos going to Kasich’s friend and golfing buddy, House Speaker John Boehner from Ohio.
CBO estimates the GOP-driven “sequester” will contribute about 0.6 percentage point to the fiscal drag on economic growth this year. “Given the still-moderate underlying pace of economic growth, this additional near-term burden on the recovery is significant,” Bill McBride at Calculated Risk wrote.
Kasich Doesn’t Play Well With Others
Acerbic by nature, the governor whose multiple personalities have been on display for decades and have not gone unnoticed by reporters and pundits who think being perpetually petulant isn’t a quality any president should be proud of, nonetheless talks in volumes about working together, when his well-documented history is replete with examples of him not working together with others. Astute reporters need only look to understand the gap between what he says and what he does. The governor keeps touting his record of accomplishment, yet reporters, especially the high-priced Beltway variety, fail every day to fact-check his record against what he’s promising to do if elevated to supreme leader.
In more than one budget cycle since his narrow win in 2010 and his big win in the low-vote 2014 election, Gov. Kasich’s Administration has sprung proposals on everyone, including his Republican-controlled legislature. Not being party to Kasich policy formulation in the executive budget, those run over by the governor and his staff seek balance through the legislature to undue key portions of his executive budget. Regardless of which fiscal budget is reviewed, the governor makes income tax cuts fundamental to his policy brew. Less government regulation is always just a step behind.
Basic Kasich says exaggerate his role in balancing the federal budget when he was Chairman of the House Budget Committee during Bill Clinton’s second presidential term. Kasich, and every other Republican at the time, voted in lockstep against President Clinton’s first budget, the one that raised taxes among other advancements that triggered the prosperity of the 1990s and ended with the creation of about 23 million jobs, the most by any president in history.
Had Kasich won that 1993 vote, he wouldn’t have had the revenue to do what he claims he did in the late 1990s, when he left congress and first ran for president in 2000. Reporters who buy-in to Mr. Kasich’s overblown record in Congress ought to turn in their credentials, because they do a disservice to their readers and their news groups for being so gullible and naive as to constantly swallow the sweet narrative that the Wizard of Westerville is anything but a Music Man governor trying to put one over on River City rubes.
John Kasich: The DC Destroyer
Kasich’s comments today seemed to indicate that he wants to go to Washington to take it apart, program by program, department by department, and ship it back to states, so 50 different ways to do something standard becomes the norm. When Gov. Kasich talks about job creation, he’s whistling past the graveyard of his own poor performance.
“Ohio has still not recovered 42,800 of the jobs that it lost as a result of the deep and lengthy 2007-2009 national “Great Recession,” and Ohio still remains 225,100 jobs short of the jobs that it has lost since the 2000-2002 national recession more than a decade ago, the need for additional improvement in Ohio’s rate of recovery remains urgent,” wrote one of Ohio’s leading and unchallenged job-number watchers, George Zeller Thursday.
Meanwhile, Ohio ranks 31st in job creation, according to the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and has gone 34 straight months of not even meeting the national job creation average.
Gov. Kasich apes what other Republicans say about deficits, which is to swoon at $18 trillion in debt. Isolated and out of context, that figure sounds staggering. But in the context of national GDP, it perfectly in line with what economists consider satisfactory.
“The modern G.O.P.’s raw fiscal dishonesty is something new in American politics… And the question we should ask is why,” award-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote. “One answer you sometimes hear is that what Republicans really believe is that tax cuts for the rich would generate a huge boom and a surge in revenue, but they’re afraid that the public won’t find such claims credible. So magic asterisks are really stand-ins for their belief in the magic of supply-side economics, a belief that remains intact even though proponents in that doctrine have been wrong about everything for decades.”
Gov. Kasich’s Quixotic push for a federal balanced budget amendment has fallen flat, as experts on the right and left derided it as bad at best and disastrous at worst. Gov. Kasich will meet his maker soon enough as voters who take the time to look into his history and what he’s proposing now find him a polished, professional schiller of misinformed ideas that would bankrupt the nation while enriching the rich even more.