Third Party & Independents Archives

Bring Back Kasich's Root-Canal Fiscal Policy

Does anyone remember when Kasich - House Budget Committee Chairman at that time - threatened to eliminate the Commerce Department back in the 90’s? Live on TV? In the heat of the budget battles that the new crop of GOP House members had with Clinton’s White House, Kasich suggested the nation could get by fine without the services of the Commerce Department. Right next to him was Pete Domenici, at that point already one of the longest serving senators from New Mexico. And Domenici tried to rein in the - then - feisty young fellow Republican before some serious budget cuts actually did away with a stalwart of beltway bureaucracy.

Kasich in a 1994 interview described himself as a supply-sider deficit hawk in favor of "root-canal fiscal policy." How times change; or rather, how elected representatives change. Governor Kasich is now GOP candidate number 16 and the words "cut" and "spending" - hopefully sitting right next to each other and not draped in too many qualifiers - were nowhere to be seen in his announcement speech. Cut was there, but in relation to taxes and bureaucracy. But not next to spending. So, let's imagine that the younger Kasich is running for president. As a theoretical exercise. And he infuriates Democratic and GOP senators alike by foolishly stating that he would eliminate the Commerce Department. The logical first question to ask would be: what exactly does the Commerce Department do?

Why it promotes economic growth, from the Herbert Hoover building in Washington D.C. The ironies abound: Teddy Roosevelt begat the Department of Commerce and Labor in 1903, and Taft cleaved in twain Commerce from Labor ten years later. The building itself began construction in 1927 by Commerce Secretary Hoover, and the cornerstone was laid by President Hoover on July 10, 1929 - three months and thrice six days before black Monday. It finally opened in 1932 proudly becoming the world's largest office building as America was already suffering the Great Depression. And it took on it's name as the Hoover building in 1981 as Reagan assumed power. In 2007 a $1 billion (ok $960 million) 13-year renovation of the sprawling Greek Revival structure was announced, just as the housing bubble was popping. It comprises 8 phases and will hopefully end by 2020.

And that's just the frickin' building. The Department itself has an annual budget of $60.9 billion for fiscal year 2015 and has seen government agencies come and go within in its ample walls. In fact, it apparently has a reputation for being an "honest broker" between government agencies. Everything from Patents to Oceanic and Atmospheric Research to Trade. All in one enormous Leviathan. Ron Paul and Rick Perry proposed eliminating it and transferring it's most important functions to other agencies. Obama himself has a re-organization proposal for the DOC. How about if Kasich returns to his roots and advocates a little root-canal for the DOC? It would be a start.

Posted by AllardK at July 23, 2015 12:29 PM
Comment #396823

Won’t happen. Now that politicians have figured out the permanent continuing resolution scheme there is no hope of prioritizing any of our federal spending. What used to be the talk of Washington, the Aug.-Sep. budget negotiations, is now a no never mind.

Kasich will make a fine VP contribution to a ticket, and he might even talk about fiscal responsibility some, but none of it’s going to happen. As long as GDP can support it we will be fine; when it can’t we’ll use smoke and mirrors. Why get real?

Posted by: George in SC at July 27, 2015 12:44 PM
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