Thursday, April 21, 2016

John Kasich Lets Us Behind His Budget Curtain, and It Ain't Pretty.

John Kasich has made a living this primary season by appearing sensible and moderate. It would be (mildly) great if he were either of those things.

Look! Over there! A budget pony!

The problem for John Kasich was always that, if he did well and got close to being in contention for the GOP nomination, someone was bound to peel back the moderate faรงade and find a real, hardcore conservative. That moment -- without his being in actual serious contention -- may have come and almost passed us by.

Thankfully, Brad DeLong of UC Berkeley didn't let that happen, with an assist from Paul Krugman. DeLong caught the transcript of Kasich's meeting with the WaPo editorial board. "Oops!" went the joker, as Kasich went all classic conservative mumbo-jumbo on the federal budget.
KASICH:  Yes. Well,... look, I mean, we’re working through it. I’ve cut taxes in Ohio. It’s not confusing. I’m going to have a 28, 25 and 10 percent rate. We’re going to have an increase in the earned income tax credit.
RAMPELL:  Yes, but that doesn’t lead to surpluses. That doesn’t lead to – ...
KASICH: Well, you get the surpluses three ways:  ...Common sense regulations so you’re not crushing small business. ...
Two, lower taxes. ...
And the third thing is a fiscal plan. Now, I will tell you how we’ll run the fiscal plan. And I can lay out all – you’re going to send welfare and Medicaid and, you know, this job training and all that back to the states.
Umkay. First, any responsible Republican, after decades of repeated tax cuts (G. H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton being the notable exceptions by raising taxes), must of course reach for balanced budgets with yet another tax cut and a huge one at that! Next, deregulate markets because, oh, I don't know, INSTANT SUCCESS! And, third, send welfare and Medicaid back to the states in the form of block grants, which, far from balancing the budget (you're still spending money!), only allows states the opportunity to misuse money and ending up killing welfare and Medicaid. Which, of course, is the whole point.

But, as word salad goes, Kasich tosses it well. Commenter David at DeLong's blog puts it well:
If you're going to toss out of bunch sort of random word salads of non-answers, at least be drunk. I mean, make a day of it.
This guy has as much chance of being president as my helper monkey.
So right, David. Let's let Kasich toss that salad some more:
MARCUS:  Well, but you have a tax cut that – as far as I can see though it’s been unscoreable for the reasons that Catherine says – that most closely approximates Jeb Bush’s. Jeb Bush’s tax cut was scored on a non-dynamic basis by the Tax Policy Center as costing about $6.8 trillion. ...
KASICH: Well, look, I would tell you that look at the plan and see how they project it. I believe that we have not overused dynamic scoring...– I think that what we’ve done is a set of reasonable assumptions. Now, who’s working on it?  People like Kerry Knott, worked for [former congressman] Dick Armey. I mean, we got a lot of people looking at it. ...
MARCUS:  So, but your path to balance, which doesn’t include Social Security ... rests on sustained economic growth rate approaching four percent, which ... has not really been seen in ... recent American history. So –
KASICH:  You know why?  Because they over-regulate, over-tax and blow up the budget. ... Tax cuts matter because I believe they provide economic growth. I don’t think you should make numbers up. ...
Kasich is drifting into Kansas Brownback territory, as in
  1. Lower taxes!
  2. Boom!
  3. Super economic growth!
  4. And when it doesn't actually happen...
  5. Blame somebody else! (Or, we didn't cut taxes enough!)
Also, notice how he essentially does say he'll cut Social Security and Medicaid. Just another merciless conservative. Where am I wrong?

We can turn this woman over to the states. That'll fix everything!

Note.  Why am I even talking about Kasich? It's because he's not going away. There's 2020, etc. So, start now and keep an eye on the bastard. He's just like Cruz, only not so slimy.

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