“We have to have a system that allows people who can help themselves help themselves so that we can put more into poor districts that need it,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said, trying to explain his star-crossed plan to further starve some locations from state funding because he thinks the wealthy should pay more. “There are people in some parts of the state that can’t help themselves because they don’t have the wealth to do it.”
Kasich tried to use this same dysfunctional formula on school funding in his last budget, but state legislators took so much heat on it that they said thanks for the suggestion, but we’re not doing it. Ohio’s lame-duck governor is now foisting it on populous counties and cities where wealth is higher than in most of Ohio’s poor, rural counties.
In his latest bad budget, Gov. Kasich again wants people poor enough to qualify for Medicaid—which at three million is about 26 percent of the population—should pay a monthly premium. At the same time, he wants to reduce income taxes by another 17 percent on the very people who can and should pay more. Paying a monthly premium for Medicaid or paying into health savings account popular with Republicans is fine if money is available for those purposes. But qualifying for Medicaid is a measure that funds are tight, and disposable income is precious if it exists at all.
Wouldn’t it be fun if even one enterprising statehouse reporter asked Gov. Kasich, who claims to be a fiscal conservative who values balanced budgets, whether he would adopt his own plan for himself, his cabinet appointees and top tier administrative officials? Even Mitt Romney knows that if it’s good for the goose, it should be good for the gander. It makes sense, then, that if you are wealthy like John Kasich, the capacity to pay your own salary instead of being subsidized by tax payers is there.
Kasich’s wealth, based on rough financial disclosures he was forced to make last year when running for president, ranges in the many millions, maybe as high as $22 million. Meanwhile, at $148,886, his state salary is more than three times the state’s median salary.
It’s basic Kasich to push the financial burden onto someone else instead of living by the rules he thinks others should live by. If times are tough, and the budget is tight to reflect the tough times, why shouldn’t wealthy politicians like Mr. Kasich show more personal responsibility and shoulder more of the burden themselves, since they are rich enough to help themselves?