For me, and most Ohioans, Gov. John Kasich’s (R-Ohio) jump into the GOP 2016 presidential primary is anything but exciting for one main reason: the future of the middle class.
Over the past seven years, our country has been fortunate enough to have the leadership of President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaUnderstanding why populist fires are still 'Berning' Clinton at risk of being upstaged An important week for Puerto Rico In Philadelphia MORE; someone who truly understands the importance of a strong middle class. As a result of his leadership, our country is rebounding from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and has arrived where we are today, in the midst of the longest streak of private sector job growth on record: 64 consecutive months, and more than 12 million new jobs.
Which makes me wonder why anyone would get excited for Kasich to enter the 2016 field. In terms of standing up and fighting for the middle class, Kasich has done just the opposite.
Throughout his tenure as a member of Congress, as a Wall Street banker, and as Ohio’s governor, Kasich has proven time and time again that he will always put the desires of wealthy special interests before the needs of the middle class.
While in Congress, Kasich was one the architects of the original government shutdown in the mid-1990s, calling it “one of the greatest moments of my career.” He said the Clinton budget of 1993 that created 20 million new jobs would "put the economy in the gutter." He was dead wrong then and he still doesn't understand how to grow the economy now.
After proving himself to the millionaires and billionaires in Washington, Kasich went on to be a managing director for one of the investment banks that was integral to the 2008 crash and the economic crisis that eventually put nearly 9 million Americans out of work, including 400,000 Ohioans.
When asked if Kasich had any regrets about his time at Lehman Brothers during the financial crisis, he replied, “Are you kidding? Regrets? I thought it was a fantastic time…It was great.” Just days later, Kasich doubled down on his comments saying he “just loved” working for one of the architects of the 2008 crash. He couldn’t be more out of touch with the millions of Americans who struggled to make ends meet after the financial meltdown. These comments show how out of touch John Kasich really is, and the people of Ohio and our nation have suffered because of it.
As governor, John Kasich really let his anti-working class colors show. He first attacked public workers, taking on Ohio police, firefighters and teachers – a move that was so unpopular that the people of Ohio successfully repealed this vindictive law with over 60 percent of the vote. After that defeat he focused on gutting funding for local governments, which put stress on small towns and resulted in increased local taxes and fees, while he signed tax cuts that benefitted the top 5 percent of earners in Ohio. Now, Ohio roads are covered with pot holes, our bridges are structurally deficient, water and sewage systems pollute clean water, and this past winter many streets never got plowed because local communities couldn't get old and run down snow plows to work. Kasich has left Ohio eroding from the inside out. On top of this, Kasich slashed $1.8 billion from Ohio’s public schools, while funneling hundreds of millions of tax dollars to private schools. Just last week, he signed a bill that takes local control of the schools away from my constituents in Youngstown and could give an overwhelming amount of power to an appointed CEO.
From day one, John Kasich has proved himself to be on the side of wealthy special interests, and not for the hardworking middle class families. Why would we want someone like that in the White House?
Kasich is simply out of touch with today’s middle class and working Americans. He has hurt Americans before, has been hurting Ohioans for years, and will hurt the country again. Let's make sure we don't give him the opportunity.
Ryan represents Ohio’s 13 Congressional District and has served in the House since 2003. He sits on the Appropriations and the Budget committees.