If hard-of-learning syndrome was a real disease, Ohio Gov. John Kasich would be the poster child for it. It’s sad if not tragic when a 64-year old man who’s been wrong so many times before refuses to give an inch when it comes to learning that what he believes in deeply is so deeply flawed.
But basic Kasich says stick to your guns even when they aren’t loaded anymore. In defiance of his poor record of creating jobs with massive tax cuts to those who need it least, scuttlebutt around the statehouse in Columbus says the confident quack governor is moving at the speed of business from being a lame duck to being a dead duck, now that majority Republicans are powerful enough to override his veto pen if and when he chooses to use it.
His firmly held beliefs, that tax cuts create jobs and tax-shifting from those who can most afford to pay more to those who can least afford to pay more is the way to grow the economy, haven’t produced the results he wants everyone to believe are working. The boy from McKees Rocks, PA, is wrong on both accounts, of course, and experts who follow the data see just how wrong he is.
Speaking at the Ohio Newspaper Association’s convention in Columbus recently, Ohio’s term-limited CEO said, “Tax cuts work.” His long-held theory, that’s proven wrong in real time, is that tax cuts attract business growth, jobs and lead to higher tax collections, according to one report of his sermonette.
Gov. Kasich is taking heat for yet another round of short-changing schools he thinks have money to use and that should tap locals for more tax money since he’s been so stingy with state funding since 2011. “Don’t blame it on tax cuts,” said Kasich, who got clobbered last year when he tried for the second time in his long and lucrative political career to run for president. Kasich said all people have to do is “look at the jobs (created) in your vicinity.” For experts who have looked at the jobs the governor has claimed to create, they find he’s fallen far short on the number, quality and speed. John Kasich doesn’t want to admit that the jobs he takes credit for are mostly minimum wage jobs that don’t pay a living wage. And the quantity is lacking, too, so tens of thousands of would be workers are dropping out of the workforce.
Ohio under Mr. Kasich now ranks 32nd in the nation, according to the highly respected W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, a leader in analyzing metrics critical to economic development.
Never having done more with less himself, John Kasich’s philosophy is that others should do do more with less. When it comes to school funding in Ohio, he maintains that many districts have not helped their finances by asking for more money from local taxes. He’s also critical of school districts for not merging with each other or partnering on administrative efforts like purchasing. In defending his sequestration of funds to schools, Mr. Kasich thinks school districts with cash carry-over balances or communities wealthier than others should be more creative or bolder in shoring up what he’s taken away from them with funding cuts.
Critics argue, correctly, that but for five billion or more in state funding he’s given away to the wealthy, Ohio would have funds to do many things, instead of being confronted with a “tight budget” this year. He wants to cut income taxes by $3.1 billion, or 17 percent, over two years by shifting the tax burden with a hike of 8 percent in the regressive sales tax. His hard-of-learning syndrome thinks it’s the right formula to add jobs and population.
“All taxes are not equal,” the former Lehman Brothers Wall Street banker said to attendees of the newspaper association’s gathering. “If you have high income taxes or taxes that are not competitive, people won’t come where you are.” Ohio’s growth in population is stagnant, as statistics show. And in spite of more people moving out than in, the governor, well known for his petulance and pique, continues to believe he’s cool in saying Ohio is cool.
At this point in his life, it’s hard to imagine he’ll learn that his deepest beliefs are so false as to border on delusion. Confident quacks who surround themselves with mesmerized loyalists and newspapers caught in the headlights don’t know how off the path they are. In the case of Kasich, hope doesn’t spring eternal, as Mr. Kasich wising up to the wisdom of the ages that tax cuts only benefit those who don’t need them seems a bridge to far for this governor.
And now it’s been learned that Kasich sidekicks are creating a nonprofit group that will “focus on passing a federal balanced budget amendment” and that will “support a strong national defense rooted in not shrinking from the international stage and promote a partnership of communities and citizens to tackle the nation’s problems.”
If anyone really believes the new “Two Paths” group wasn’t formed to advance his political future or that he won’t be involved in it, as news reports say, you’re in for a shock. With two years remaining in his last term as governor before he wanders off the political radar screen, the great reformer hopes for an after-life after being governor.