We’ve been following the path of Gov. Kasich’s budget message for the past couple of days before it heads to the legislature where the gifted pizza twirlers will add their spin to his master plan to save all that’s noble in the state. Bold, is what the media are calling it. A do-or-die game changer in how Ohioans can manage to live with dramatic tax cuts spread from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. As columnist Gail Collins once wondered about another candidate’s flaring promises, “It would have been simpler if he had just given everybody a car.”
The redistribution of wealth among schools will occupy some serious attention. Unlike the immediate euphoria, the Plain Dealer today reported that upon further analysis some of the poorest districts would not get more state cash. Never mind: The the big winners would be charter and private schools. The governor has never really cozied up in his comfort zone to public education and the teachers’ union.
But we’ve learned over the decades that the more elected officials talk about remedial change in the antiquated means of raising school money, the more it stays the same. Back in the late 1940s, Gov. Michael DiSalle rightly complained about the huge gaps between rich and poor school districts but the idea went nowhere as public policy. DiSalle was thumped from office by Jim Rhodes, who hoodwinked the Ohio Education Association into believing that the state and local districts would become 50-50 partners in paying for the kids. Fat chance with Rhodes, who was never a details guy.
The OEA even sported fliers showing Rhodes and some kids contentedly walking hand-in-hand. We don’t doubt that in fashioning his re-election budget, Kasich looked to the Rhodes game plan in defining his own political mission today.
Despite some early grousing by the Hard Right about his acceptance of the federally financed Medicaid expansion, he’s already earned plaudits from some major warriors like tax despiser Grover Norquist, whose dream world embraces pledges from politicians that they would never raise another penny in taxes. (Kasich signed the on-your-knees pledge).
And the governor, the Columbus Dispatch tells us, was joined at a couple of his “Tax Cut Town Halls’ by Richard Vedder, the conservative economics professor emeritus of Ohio University who is the darling of his political class.
Vedder’s latest Wall Street Journal column lamented that two of the factors in sustaining unemployment are food stamps and Social Security unemployment insurance. Gail Collins is right: Just give these folks cars and get ‘em out of here!