Skip to main content

John Kasich's Plan to Balance the Budget

Ohio Governor and current Presidential candidate John Kasich (R) recently unveiled the Kasich Action Plan, a set of policies which his campaign has said will balance the budget within eight years.

The Plan proposes to reach a $0 deficit by changing the current tax code, regulatory landscape, and even the Constitution itself.

  • Enact a Balanced Budget Amendment: Governor Kasich has proposed to amend the Constitution in order to require Congress to submit a balanced budget. If the amendment fails, Kasich’s Action Plan says “he will work with the states to call a constitutional convention to craft an amendment that could be submitted to the states for ratification.”
  • Reform Entitlement Programs:
    • Medicaid: Governor Kasich’s Action Plan suggests that providing “per-member per-month allocations to the states” would hold Medicaid spending growth constant at 3 percent per year. Over the past five years, it has grown at an average of 5.2 percent (per the Kaiser Family Foundation).
    • Medicare: The Plan vaguely mentions reforming Medicare by way of “[i]ncreasing care coordination through Medicare Advantage” and “reforming payment practices to increase value and quality.” The campaign sets a target spending growth rate of 5.3 percent per year (compared to the current 8 percent).
    • Social Security: Governor Kasich promises no specific changes to Social Security. Instead he will “lead a bipartisan effort to assemble the best ideas from the various reform plans that have been proposed” by “draw[ing] upon his experience as a reformer to bring people together”.
  • Reduce Spending: Kasich proposes to “dismantle Washington” by “transferring federal programs that belong in the states and will expand flexibility for highways, education, job training, public assistance and Medicaid.” He does not mention any specific programs he would reorganize, or a timeframe over which he would work to do so.
    • "Boost" Defense Spending: The Action Plan would freeze non-defense discretionary spending at $593 billion per year from FY 2017 through 2025. During that same time, defense spending would increase from $592 billion to $694 billion which Kasich bills as a 17 percent increase. However, it is important to note that the Congressional Budget Office projects defense spending will, under current law, grow to $711 billion by FY 2025 (a 20.1 percent increase). The “defense increases” in Kasich’s plan basically allow some spending to grow in the midst of other spending freezes, and would see defense funding grow by slightly less than current policy.

For more on the 2016 candidates’ campaigns, head to NTUF’s Candidate Hub.