Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich

It’s amusing, and maybe a little sad, that media has chosen, generally, to not challenge Ohio Gov. John Kasich on his split-personality when it comes taxes, and why he thinks locals should shoulder more taxes.

He says it’s because they have the capacity to do so. But with Kasich, the wealthiest, who can pay multiples more in taxes and still be fabulously well-off, are thrown more tax breaks.

The capacity to impose more taxes is central to Gov. Kasich’s quackery on how to balance a budget that could be billions out of whack even though the national economy is roaring back, so much so that the Federal Reserve says it’ll hike interest rates to moderate it.

Mr. Kasich’s inside-out obsession with taxing those with the least to give breaks to those with the most is rearing its ugly head once again.

But it’s basic Kasich to hold equal and opposite thoughts in his head, in the same way George Orwell conceived of double-think in his classic tale of a dystopian future, “1984.”

As the wheels come off of the governor’s last proposed executive budget, with fellow Republicans showing little mercy to dismember it at will, the lame-duck governor is taking one hit after another on his demand that local school districts look inward if they want to add to the diminishing share of state tax dollars Mr. Kasich wants to give them.

Kasich’s Taxation Disorder

Editorial boards have mostly shown cowardice in calling out Kasich on going Billy Milligan on taxes. Billy Milligan was, for anyone not old enough to remember, an Ohioan diagnosed with multiple personality disorder.

The Akron Beacon Journal is talking back to the governor, saying in a recent editorial, “the governor continues to send mixed messages…State budget cuts have created increased pressure on local governments to raise taxes, even though the governor is proposing additional state income tax cuts. Meanwhile, the state is sitting on a $2 billion rainy day fund, while the governor criticizes locals for their surpluses.”

The ABJ correctly notes that in addition to reductions in the local government fund, “the state has eliminated the estate tax and phased out reimbursements for the previously eliminated tangible personal property tax. The coming elimination of a tax on Medicaid managed care providers would hurt counties and transit authorities, but the governor has proposed just a temporary measure of relief.”

Republicans in Washington are showing everyone how ill-equipped they are to govern, even after years of bellyaching about President Obama and his administration, which saved the nation from a second Great Depression.

That economic downturn was brought about at the hands of President George W. Bush and Republicans including John Kasich.

When Bush 43 spent trillions on unneeded tax cuts and wars of political convenience, the quixotic reformer from Ohio said nothing.

On Monday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman put into perspective what’s going on in Washington, which is a reflection of what’s been going on in Columbus, where Republicans control the legislature and Mr. Kasich occupies the governor’s office for another two years.

“(T)he broader Republican quagmire — the party’s failure so far to make significant progress toward any of its policy promises — isn’t just about Mr. Trump’s inadequacies. The whole party, it turns out, has been faking it for years. Its leaders’ rhetoric was empty; they have no idea how to turn their slogans into actual legislation, because they’ve never bothered to understand how anything important works.”

Even though President Donald J. Trump is floating in a sea of incompetence, Krugman, a noble prize winner in economics, says, “what we’re witnessing is what happens when a party that gave up hard thinking in favor of empty sloganeering ends up in charge of actual policy. And it’s not a pretty sight.”

Columbus Is Washington

Back in Ohio, where Gov. Kasich says another economic recession is on the horizon despite his budget razzle dazzle that has not dazzled anyone so far, the ABJ nails Mr. Kasich to his own cross of tax cutting.

“At best, the capacity factor amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul at a time when all local governments need state funding restored. The state’s big cities are its economic engines, and the local government fund has been particularly useful for economic development because of its flexibility,” they wrote.

It’s no secret that Gov. Kasich has stiffed cities and urban areas over the years with no expectation of reversing his bad budgets before he leaves office after the 2018 elections.

The ABJ notes that “the governor continues to send mixed messages. State budget cuts have created increased pressure on local governments to raise taxes, even though the governor is proposing additional state income tax cuts. Meanwhile, the state is sitting on a $2 billion rainy day fund, while the governor criticizes locals for their surpluses.”

Actually, the governor’s messages are not mixed at all if you’re a student of Republican economic thinking.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says Donald Trump’s campaign proposal would add up to $6.2 trillion in tax cuts over ten years. In a reverse Mitt Romney, 47.3 percent would go to the top 1 percent of households. House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to spend $3.1 trillion in tax cuts, with 99.6 percent going to the top 1 percent.

This is what Gov. Kasich and his uber-friendly GOP legislature did starting in 2011, and the cows are coming home to roost from upside-down thinking, as they will not far in the future as establishment Republicans like Kasich and Ryan again foist their failed economic thinking on the nation.

There was a decade in the last century when tax rates were 90 percent, and the middle class grew by leaps and abounds, with income disparity being a theory not a reality as it is today.

The Eisenhower years, following World War II remain the most prosperous decade for everyone, across the board, in history. Cutting taxes for the wealthiest, made popular by President Reagan and his followers like Congressman John Kasich, have tipped the scales toward the rich, who show no interest in the kind of so-called “personal responsibility” Mr. Kasich wants everyone other than the rich to abide by.

But Ohio’s big cities are run by Democratic leaders, whose urban dwellers stand in the background as voters Republicans hope don’t show up at the polls, for fear that if they do statewide offices and the General Assembly would be converted from R to D.

Sherrod Brown’s New Day, New Way

Meanwhile, while Ohio struggles on the home front to recover from poor job performance under the Kasich Administration, the governor who lost the presidential race last year by miles is basking in praise for accepting an expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. He just returned from a trip overseas, where he wants companies to know how much Ohio has to offer.

And Ohio does have a lot to offer, unfortunately it also has a lot that’s not good to offer, took, including a harsh health environment for women as Gov. Kasich has signed nearly 20 bills into law that make being a woman tougher, attacking public school relentless, so much so that Ohio as fallen from 5th best in the nation to 22nd.

If John Kasich wants to ape Billy Milligan with a split political personality, he’s certainly committed himself to that goal. Ohioans should likewise commit the governor to an institution for the hard-of-thinking, then look at what Democrats have to offer that can help.j

“There’s a big difference between what you say and what you do. Especially in Washington, where politicians are good at talking and bad at following through,” Ohio’s senior senator in Washington told his fan base Monday.

Suggested reading for John Kasich: Sen. Sherrod Brown’s plan to help workers across the board.

 

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