July 7, 2011

Kasich Gets Props From Rush, The WSJ, and … The New York Times?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:11 pm

RushLimbaugh0711Yesterday, in a figurative beatdown of Barbara Boxer, who is laughably claiming that it was Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increases which led to a balanced federal budget later in the decade, Rush Limbaugh (link will be available for a week) cited John Kasich’s critical role in doing the dirty work involved in achieving that balanced budget (paragraph breaks and minor punctuation changes are mine):

And here’s Boxer, this is psychologically pathologically insane, it is so wrong.

(Boxer says) “I hate to break it to my Republican friends, but the Democrat Party was the only party, the only people to balance the budget in 40 years.”

They did no such thing. It was John Kasich, current governor of Ohio, and Newt, Dick Armey, Tom DeLay, those are the guys that did it and all the others that were part of the Republican majority starting in 1994 all the way through the 2000s.

More specifically, as the Associated Press noted in May 2009, in a rare display of journalistic accuracy which was never repeated in the 18 months leading up to the November 2010 election:

Kasich, a 9-term Congressman from Ohio, was the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Budget Committee in 1997 that balanced the nation’s budget for the first time in more than 30 years. He said that budget paid down the largest amount of debt in American history.

No one else in America can claim that they accomplished what Kasich (obviously, with help) accomplished.

Bill Clinton’s role was primarily to sign the related legislation — and then to take all the credit from the history-rewriting establishment press.

At the time, Kasich also told the AP that:

“Ohio faces the same kind of situation I faced when I was in Washington,” Kasich said. “I was able to assemble a team that dealt with the situation. The late 1990s were a great time economically and the philosophy that led to the balanced budget gave us great success. We can do it again.”

WSJreviewAndOutlookIn an editorial this morning, the Wall Street Journal notes that Kasich has indeed “done it again”:

The Buckeye Budget Lesson
Ohio cuts spending and taxes—and still balances the books.

… Mr. Kasich took office this year facing the largest deficit in Ohio history, close to $7.7 billion. His predecessor, Democrat Ted Strickland, had avoided any serious reform in advance of the 2010 election, despite a shrinking economy and tax base, and had concealed fiscal holes with federal stimulus dollars that have now run out. To close the gap with revenue alone, the Ohio tax department estimated that income rates for the average family would need to rise 56%.

Mr. Kasich’s budget is bringing Ohio’s finances into balance by cutting spending while also cutting taxes, which ought to be a lesson for Washington. The $55.8 billion two-year budget pares from nearly every state program and agency, and it privatizes some of them, including some prisons and maybe even the Ohio Turnpike, if the legislature approves. It restores a scheduled cut in the top income tax rate to 5.9% from 6.2%—part of a larger across-the-board cut over five years that Mr. Strickland deferred. And it eliminates Ohio’s estate tax and cuts property taxes by $1.7 billion.

A particular achievement is reforming Medicaid, which covers one of seven Ohioans and makes up nearly a third of state spending. The stimulus and ObamaCare imposed severe “maintenance of effort” mandates on states that make the program far less flexible, but Mr. Kasich’s plan will slow the program’s projected 8% spending growth to 4%, well below the national average. Major savings come from redirecting subsidies to community-based care from the nursing home industry, which is politically powerful in Columbus.

… Mr. Kasich’s approval ratings have fallen sharply as he’s pursued budget and labor change, though challenging the status quo is always disruptive. On the other hand, voters didn’t reward Mr. Strickland for making the problem worse by doing nothing.

The obvious question anyone defending Kasich should be asking critics is: “Do you really want to go back to where we were?”

“Where we were,” which includes at least a dozen years of rule by RINOs going back to the mid-1990s, brought us the following in the previous decade:

Who in their right mind wants to go back to that?

NYT logoGiven Kasich’s weak approval ratings at the moment, an item appearing in the New York Times by reporter Sabrina Tavernise must be driving lefties crazy. Though poorly titled (“In Ohio, a New Governor Is Off to a Smooth Start” — you obviously missed something, Sabrina, if you think it was all “smooth”), it acknowledges the impact of Kasich’s successful budget passage will have on the political realities on the ground as long as Ohio’s economy continues to improve (bolded by me):

In Washington, Congress may still be fighting over the national budget, but in Ohio, where Republicans control the House, the Senate and the governor’s office, the budget passage has been about as smooth as a knife through butter.

That is partly because Republicans kept tight party unity, voting together on bills that Democrats say are some of the most conservative the state has ever seen. But the driving force was Ohio’s governor, John R. Kasich (pronounced KAY-sik), who has pressed his legislative agenda with remarkable success since his election in November.

… “We faced our problems and took them on,” Mr. Kasich said. “We have now stabilized the state. It is a new way, and it is a new day and, we are delivering.”

(Kasich’s) stewardship of the state budget could have outsize political implications, influencing the mood of voters and their economic circumstances, which will help set the backdrop for next year’s presidential election.

In his five months in office, Mr. Kasich, a former congressman and Lehman Brothers executive, has established himself as a get-things-done governor who has expansive powers and is not afraid to use them.

“Inning after inning, the guy scored every round,” said Gene Beaupre, a political science professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati. “I don’t see where he lost anything in the budget game.”

Mr. Kasich said at the news conference that the budget restored fiscal responsibility to Ohio by closing an $8 billion budget gap. But his opponents argue that it accomplished that through deep cuts in spending on schools and local governments, which will be hard pressed to make up the difference. It also repeals the estate tax in 2013, which applies to the most affluent Ohioans and is another important revenue source for local governments.

What Ms. Tavernise missed about the estate tax is that it primarily benefits the community in which the person with a big enough estate to be taxable lived (and died). In other words, it is mostly — and soon will no longer be — a slush fund for well-off places like Indian Hill, Oakwood, New Albany, and Shaker Heights. In other words, to use establishment press jargon: “Wealthy communities hardest hit.”

As would be expected, there’s no shortage of criticism of Kasich and the budget in later paragraphs of the Times article (including some dished out by Southwestern Ohio’s candidate for RINO of the Year, Bill Seitz), but it’s the same tired, evidence-free garbage we’re used to seeing (“Wealthy families and businesses benefit. School kids and communities don’t,” according to “a liberal economic research group in Columbus”). As just noted, estate tax repeal will take away rich communities’ slush funds, directly contradicting the libs’ claim. Tavernise also missed the fact that Kasich and the legislature beefed up school funding when tax collection projections improved.

Overall, I’d say that those who believe that they’ll be able to flog Kasich on the way to an easy repeal of SB5 in the fall have just been administered a rude awakening.



  1. I think Kasich meant back to the 2-4 years of a relatively conservative U.S. Congress (’95-’98) rather than RINOhio when he said, “We can do it again.” Again, all of this was Ken Blackwell’s plan back in ’06 that OH rejected, but now is dependent on to save the economy. Just think of how much better off we’d be. “What goes around…” well, you know the rest.

    Comment by Joe C. — July 7, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

  2. JoeC, I would agree that Rush including all the way into the 2000s was overly generous. OTOH, though spending increases were greater than inflation during the 2000s under the GOP (except 2006), they exploded once Pelosi and Reid took over.

    Comment by TBlumer — July 7, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

  3. Agreed, aka “The Moderate Revolution”– the Hastert years. When Moderates/Republicans ran the gov’t it essentially was liberal.

    Comment by Joe C. — July 8, 2011 @ 9:10 am

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