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Since Republican John Kasich became the Governor of Ohio in January, he has made a lot of enemies. The unions hate him. The press hates him. The education establishment hates him. It goes without saying that Democrats hate him. According to the letters to the editor I read in the Akron Beacon Journal, lots of people hate him. Kasich has slashed government spending, which invariably generates animosity from the slashees. People don't like it when their government subsidization (aka, taxpayer funding) is diminished, or disappears completely. So lots of people are mad at John Kasich. I have heard many people say Kasich is the worst, just terrible.
But Kasich was elected to govern our state, not to win popularity contests. That means he is supposed to solve problems. The two biggest problems Ohio faced when Kasich took office were - 1) a high unemployment rate, and, 2) an $8 billion budget deficit. Before we tar and feather the guy, perhaps we should take a look at how he's done tackling our biggest problems.
In December 2010, the month before Kasich became Governor, Ohio's unemployment rate was 9.6%. In May of this year, after Kasich had been in office just over four months, Ohio's unemployment rate dropped to 8.6%. That's not only lower than the national average of 9.1%, but our unemployment has dropped a full percentage point since Kasich was elected. Last week, Ohio had the largest drop in unemployment applications in the nation.
And that $8 billion budget deficit ? It's gone. Ohio's budget is balanced. Kasich has accomplished in less than six months what other Ohio governors and legislatures spent years trying in vain to accomplish. And he did it without raising taxes.
I'm thinking that if President Obama had accomplished anything remotely close to what Kasich has accomplished, the media would be touting him as the greatest President in the history of our Republic. He'd be Time magazine's man of the year, and on the front cover, he'd be photographed with a halo around his head. I'd probably agree with that assessment...but they are telling us Kasich is a horror. Why ?
It's because of the spending "cuts":
Critics, however, argue his plan makes such drastic reductions in funding to school districts and local governments that teachers and police will be laid off and residents will end up taking a financial hit as local tax increases get passed.
Cities, townships and other local governments will see a drop of more than $1 billion during the next two years through a combination of cuts to state funding and changes to the tax money they get.
While state aid to schools increased by roughly $400 million, it will not be enough to compensate for losses under new tax policies and with the end of a nearly $900 million federal economic stimulus program for Ohio.
Among other changes, the measure prohibits hospitals and other facilities receiving state funds from performing elective abortions. It also provides tax credits for investors in Ohio businesses and expands eligibility for Choose Ohio First college scholarships for residents who attend Ohio colleges and universities
These critics must like the state spending money it doesn't have. These critics sound a lot like Obama in that regard. He also likes spending money he doesn't have. So did President Bush before Obama. Lot of politicians like spending money they don't have, and that's precisely why this nation faces such a disastrous fiscal situation today and in the future.
These critics must prefer living in a debt-driven fiscal fantasyland. These critics only solution is to raise taxes, even though Ohio already ranked as one of the worst business tax climates in the nation before Kasich showed up. That put us at a competitive disadvantage, causing job and populations losses. I don't get it. Living in fantasyland might be fun for awhile, but it isn't reality. We need to compete to keep our jobs and standard of living high. Kasich seems to realize that, even if his critics believe we're living in some kind of utopian commune that doesn't exist (and never did exist, for that matter).
Meanwhile, Kasich is balancing budgets and creating jobs in Ohio. It that's what we're calling horrible these days, perhaps the critics are the ones with the problem.