Gov. John Kasich doesn’t worry much about Ohio media debunking any one of the many myths he’s shamelessly put forward about his budgeting powers, in Washington or Columbus.
In addition to Plunderbund, which holds the high honor as the only Ohio-based news source that regularly, with accuracy and honesty, has shined a light on Mr. Kasich’s past and present, New York Magazine can join the small list of rare news sources that dare declare that the King of Ohio has no clothes.
This is especially pertinent when it comes to Gov. Kasich’s sanctimonious declarations about his current work in Ohio as governor or his past work in Congress, including his easily debunked claim of being the chief architect of the last federal balanced budget.
NY Magazine Finally Follows Plunderbund’s Lead
In his article “John Kasich’s ‘Plan’ to Balance the Budget Does Not Actually Exist,” Jonathan Chait lays the wood to Kasich and his PR handlers on their boss’s lofty but fanciful sweet song that he more than anyone else at the time was at the center of budget negotiations under former two-term President Bill Clinton that put federal surpluses to good work destroying budget deficits.
“If I tell you that I have a plan to balance the budget, would you believe me?” Chait quotes Gov. Kasich saying at a campaign event. Mr. Chait first defers to a description of Ohio’s now term-limited governor used by the Washington Post as “the Republican Party’s truth-teller on taxes and spending” before lowering the boom on Ohio’s intemperate governor.
Jonathan Chait gives credit to Mr. Kasich for ragging on the tax plans of his GOP challengers as fantasy. He then says what Plunderbund has known and written about for a long, long time. “The trouble is that Kasich himself is every bit as much a fantasist as his rivals.”
A central unchallenged talking point for Gov. Kasich over the years has been that he “balanced the budget in Washington as a chief architect.” For Mr. Chait, “Kasich’s iteration of his origin story is almost a pure inversion of fiscal reality.”
John Kasich is a first-class, performance politician who has, over forty years of working the Republican political scene, gained fame, celebrity and many millions of net worth. As Governor of Ohio, still the biggest battleground state of them all, the 63-year old Kasich has enjoyed solid support from Ohio media, especially the state’s two largest newspapers, The Columbus Dispatch and The Cleveland Plain Dealer, which have treated him and his administration with kid gloves, covered and hoovered over his every move and utterance as if the Lord Himself was in Kasich’s corner.
National media, who Mr. Kasich disdains as much as he does state reporters—including this reporter who Camp Kasich culled out for banishment from his last off-road State of the State speech—is fully aware of his cranky, off-putting personality, that has become his national trademark. Maybe, if John Kasich was polling higher than his low single digits, the Beltway media crowd would be spending more time on examining his record in order to differentiate between what he says he did, what he actually did in reality, and maybe most important of all, why.
Ohio, like other states, is required to balance its budget. Balancing the budget isn’t the issue, since all chief executives have to do. How it’s balanced is the key, and for Mr. Kasich, how he’s done what he’s required to do by the Ohio Constitution is the relevant exercise in understanding his ideological mindset that casts government with original sin that always needs reform. Who he reforms for is the question media don’t understand is the key question he doesn’t want to respond to for obvious reasons.
Music Man’s Sour Notes Noted
Ohio’s “Music Man” governor holds black-belt status at decrying one situation or another without revealing that he or his policies and beliefs are at the heart of the troubles. Gov. Kasich has long claimed that tax cuts produce jobs and revenue, but even a first-year J-school student can easily understand that’s completely false. If it were true, the $2.34 trillion in tax cuts passed by President George W. Bush and an GOP-dominated Congress would have produced jobs from here to eternity.
In an editorial published by The New York Times on the full Bush-era tax cuts, the Grey Lady attributed them as “the single biggest contributor to the deficit over the past decade, reducing revenues by about $1.8 trillion between 2002 and 2009.
The truth is that President Bush, over the course of his eight years in office—six of those years spent with a Republican-controlled Congress—actually lost one-half million jobs before he left office. John Kasich can’t talk about this record because he supported it, never once skewering President Bush for signing every appropriations bill that landed on his desk.
What eight years of President Bush left the nation in, much to the chagrin of John Kasich who’s still a signatory to Grover Norquist’s “No New Taxes Pledge,” was the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
But Chait clears the air by going back to two budgets Congressman Kasich didn’t vote for that produced the jobs and revenue of the 1990s that allowed him to claim as his own. “Kasich, in other words, opposed the two main laws that created the balanced budget in the 1990s, and supported one that had nothing to do with it,” Chait writes.
“Building upon his almost entirely imagined record as mastermind of the 1990s budget surplus, Kasich touts what he and his press clippings call his ‘plan’ to balance the budget in eight years. In actuality, it is not a plan at all. Kasich has a bunch of numbers for spending, but he does not say what he would do to arrive at those numbers.” This statement is in line with reports from reporters who have asked the governor to say, exactly, what he’d cut. John Kasich has refused to mention any specifics of his plan, and for good reason, since those details just don’t exist.
“Kasich simply plucks numbers from broad categories, allowing him to claim large savings without having defend cuts to any program in particular,” the author notes. Meanwhile, while Kasich mocks tax plans from his rivals, his own is pretty pitiful too. Mr. Chait writes, “By the eyeball test, the scale of the revenue lost by Kasich’s tax cuts will be absolutely massive.”
Chair concludes his riveting dive into Kasich’s many myths this way, “In sum, it is inaccurate to say Kasich has a plan to balance the budget. It would be accurate to say that he is promising to eliminate the deficit, but he has a plan to dramatically increase it, at least if you define plan to mean the actual change to taxes and spending that he has specified.”