Tag Archives: balanced budget

Pay attention to me, Gov. Kasich

Ohio Gov. John Kasich still wants to be president of the United States and says he is considering taking another run at the nation’s highest office in 2020.

I’m usually not in the mood to offer campaign advice to Republicans, but I believe Gov. Kasich, whose time in office ends in December, is an impressive fellow. I wanted him to win the GOP nomination in 2016. I well might have voted for him had the choice been Kasich or Hillary Clinton.

OK, now for the advice.

If he’s going to challenge Donald Trump for the GOP nomination, he needs to avoid the trap of being lured too far to the right. One of the more undersold aspects of Kasich’s 2016 candidacy was his role as chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee in forging a balanced federal budget in the late 1990s.

How did he do that? He worked with the Democratic president, Bill Clinton, in crafting a balanced budget that actually built surpluses during the final three years of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Yes, Kasich was a key player in achieving a stellar budgetary accomplishment. He chose not to tout that aspect of his public service career because it would have revealed his bipartisan tendencies. That ability to reach across the aisle is anathema to the hard-core, right-wing loony birds who call the shots these days in the Republican Party.

Are they going to keep calling the shots in 2020? I haven’t a clue at this moment in time. I hope not. Even if they do, though, I want to encourage John Kasich to shout it loudly and clearly: He believes in good government, which requires compromise and cooperation with everyone regardless of party affiliation.

I want this man to run yet again for president. He was one of the few GOP grownups running in 2016.

‘Welcome back,’ ballooning budget deficits

Ronald Reagan and his fellow Republicans made lots of hay in 1980 about the “spiraling” budget deficit during that presidential election year. It totaled a whopping $40 billion.

The GOP presidential nominee’s campaign ridiculed those big-spending Democrats en route to a smashing landslide election victory over President Jimmy Carter.

Ah, yes. Republicans were the party of “fiscal responsibility.”

Hah! Not any longer. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the current fiscal year will end with an $800 billion budget deficit and will surpass $1 trillion by the next fiscal year.

Hey, what happened? Oh, it’s that tax cut that the Republicans wrote into law — at the insistence of Donald J. Trump, and the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress.

What happened to fiscal restraint? Where are the controls on runaway government spending? Aren’t congressional Republicans — who control the House and the Senate — supposed to rein in free-spending tendencies usually associated with liberal Democrats?

A Democratic president, Bill Clinton, managed to craft a balanced budget in the late 1990s with help from congressional Republicans. Then came Republican George W. Bush, who succeeded Clinton in 2001. We went to war at the end of that year, but didn’t increase taxes to pay for it. The deficit soared out of control.

Democrat Barack Obama came aboard in 2009 with the economy in free fall. He pushed a tax hike and a spending boost through Congress. The economy recovered. The deficit was pared by roughly two-thirds annually by the time he left office in 2017.

Now we’re hurtling back to Square One. The deficit is exploding.

And no one in power seems to care about things that used to matter a lot.

Hillary finds a worthwhile task for Bill


I have been waiting to hear this bit of news. I’ve been curious about what might lie ahead for the next presidential spouse.

Hillary Rodham Clinton says she’s got a job for her husband if she’s elected the next president of the United States this November.

She intends to put the 42nd president in charge of “revitalizing the economy.”


Bill Clinton presided over an economic revival during his time as president. From 1993 until 2001, President Clinton — working with a Congress controlled by men and women who belonged to the other party — did what once was deemed impossible. The government reached a balanced federal budget. Indeed, it operated with a substantial surplus by the time Bill Clinton’s two terms had come to an end.

If there is one singular positive legacy from the Bill Clinton presidency, it is that the nation enjoyed tremendous economic health.

It came unraveled not long after Bill Clinton left office. Terrorists hit us hard, we went to war, the new president — George W. Bush — didn’t propose a way to pay for that struggle. The deficit ballooned.

Now, with another election coming on quickly, the former president is poised to give the next president a constructive hand in shoring up the economic recovery that most observers say remains unsteady.

“He’s got more ideas a minute than anybody I know,” Clinton said of her husband.

Great. Let’s put them to work.

Oh wait. First, Hillary Clinton’s got to get elected.


Here’s what Gov. Kasich didn’t say

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28:  Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich deserves the credit he sought during the Republican presidential debate for helping bring about a balanced federal budget back in the 1990s.

He spoke about his work — as chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee — in helping erase the chronic deficits that plagued the budget for previous decades.

However, Kasich left out an important element in that good work. It was that he was able — along with House Speaker (and fellow Republican) Newt Gingrich — to work with a Democratic president, Bill Clinton in crafting a budget that balanced and, in fact, produced surpluses. (Full disclosure: One of my sons brought this tidbit to my attention. So, I’m running with it in this blog.)

Oh yeah! I almost forgot. The former president is married to the Democrats’ current frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination, someone against whom Kasich would face were he to win the GOP nod next summer.

Of course, any mention of bipartisanship — which is one of Kasich’s many strengths — doesn’t play well to a primary crowd starving for the red-meat rhetoric the candidates in both political parties are serving up to their respective bases.

Accordingly, Gov. Kasich wasn’t about to mention that those budget surpluses disappeared almost immediately after another Republican, George W. Bush, took office in 2001; we suffered the horrendous attack on 9/11, went to war with the terrorists — and then the government cut taxes at the same time.

I just thought it was important to add some context to what we heard on that debate stage in Cleveland.