The 2010 election for the Governor of Ohio is a perfect example, on a smaller scale, of the Republican obstructionism and having no real ideas for governing. The GOP is also supporting a guy with a Mel Gibson short fuse.
John Kasich, the GOP candidate for Governor, served in the US House of Representives from 1983 to 2001 then left to cash in on his political connections as a contributor to FOX “news” and working for Lehman Brothers – the investment house that collapsed which led to our economy bombing in 2008. While in the House he was chair of the budget committee and helped craft a Federal budget that had a surplus for the first time since 1969.
Great news right? Well, not so much..
The surplus was based on financial deregulation, NAFTA, welfare reform, and first the dotcom bubble and then the housing bubble. Basically his “success” was based on the main GOP campaign tool box = pro-business policy, low taxes, and entitlement spending cuts.
Fast forward to 2008 and those “good” things led directly to the financial collapse. The bankers played their game and took their obscene paychecks, the housing bubble burst leading to millions of foreclosures, and the collapse of the economy took millions of jobs with it.
Kasich wants to do the same thing to Ohio. Yay!
Mr. Kasich, who held a “business roundtable” session in Lake Township on Tuesday, said the low ebb of the economy was made clear to him when he stepped out on the eighth floor of a downtown Toledo office building and saw nothing but vacant space.
“It was all empty, you know. The most important thing we can do here in this state is we’ve got to create a business-friendly environment so we can get some jobs,” he said.
A business-friendly environment is code for no regulations and no taxes – anything less than that doesn’t seem to work for him.
“I understand you have a very fine mayor here in Toledo, good guy, independent and all that, but he’s been saying he doesn’t like my program because I want to cut taxes. Well, how are we going to get anybody to come in here if we’re one of the highest-taxed states in the country?” Mr. Kasich asked.
Ohio has given away tax breaks like candy for decades. In fact major businesses in Ohio pay less income tax than many Ohioans. I wrote in a post in 2004:
Meanwhile the business inventory tax is being phased out, utility poll taxes were eliminated sometime ago, 81% of Ohio companies pay no more than $2000 a year in income tax, you are more likely to see tax breaks given to businesses for negligible requirements on their part, and Workers compensation taxes have been quite low for several years.
That really hasn’t changed since then. The state has not added any income taxes and in fact had a 21% tax cut that was being phased in before the 2008 collapse forced the state to delay the last part of the cut. In 2008 Ohio’s corporate tax rate was 5.1% and yet the state is flirting with $8 billion dollars in red ink, cuts in dozens of programs and education among others.
In the current two-year budget, Strickland – and the General Assembly – reduced state general-fund spending by nearly $2 billion. In the previous budget, spending was cut by $1.5 billion.
As Strickland summed up Kasich as a candidate:
Bringing up Mr. Kasich’s claim that some 400,000 jobs were lost during his term, Mr. Strickland said, “what John Kasich and his cronies on Wall Street did was more responsible for job loss in Ohio than anything I’ve done.”
He said Mr. Kasich had voted as a congressman against a $1 billion veterans’ benefit targeted for treating head injuries and repeatedly voted for a bill to allow wealthy people to avoid taxes by renouncing their citizenship.
Strickland has it right. The so-called 400,000 job loss (really only 379,000 through June) was not Strickland’s fault. He also isn’t responsible for the Republican controlled Ohio Senate that offered no plan to balance the budget and tried to hold onto the final bit of that irresponsible 21% tax cut. He also isn’t responsible for banks holding their bail out money and not lending it out. Strickland isn’t responsible for the lack of sales keeping any recovery muted and he sure can’t force businesses to do anything in Ohio until the recession subsides.
Kasich doesn’t have any real solution to Ohio’s economic problems. They are much bigger than the Governor and simply “cutting taxes” isn’t going to work. If Kasich wins then Ohio will continue down the road of bad roads, worse education, and increased suffering of people not associated with the big banks like Kasich.
Kasich’s “business-friendly environment” plan is the same old same old screw regular people plan that a majority of Americans rejected in 2008 when they gave control of the national government to the Democrats. Why in the heck would we want that failed plan in Ohio.
Kasich is just wrong for Ohio. Not to mention he seems to have a short Mel Gibson type temper.