When a presidential candidate is down in the polls and looking like a long shot, he or she has to find a way to stand out in a crowd. Acting like the other candidates, and offering exactly what they’re offering, positions a struggling candidate as more of the same.
With this in mind, yesterday was a missed opportunity for Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R). The AP reported:
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich on Thursday pledged to balance the budget within eight years, cut taxes and pour more money into the military, while holding the line on all other government spending. […]Kasich advocated tax cuts that would increase the budget deficit over the early years of his presidency, according to projections his campaign shared with The Associated Press.
It’s difficult to take a plan like this seriously. Kasich intends to slash tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, and then follow that up with another massive tax break for the rich by eliminating the estate tax. The Ohio governor would then add a sharp reduction in the corporate tax rate.
If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because the GOP presidential candidates want to do the same thing.
Kasich, who also intends to increase defense spending, believes he can do all of this while eliminating the deficit in eight years. How in the world could these numbers add up? They don’t, though Kasich believes it’ll work out if he can also cut Medicare and public investments in areas like transportation and education.
Remember, in contemporary Republican politics, Kasich is occasionally – and inexplicably – considered a “moderate,” at least as compared to his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination.
But yesterday helped reinforce the obvious fact that in this cycle, there are no actual moderates. When it comes to cutting taxes on wealthy Americans who don’t need a tax break, Kasich wants to read from the exact same script as every other GOP candidate.
The governor had a chance to stand out and present a credible, arithmetic-friendly economic plan rooted in economics with a track record of success. Alas, Kasich blew it.