Kasich doesn’t promise that he will balance the federal budget but says it is a high priority and there will be strong fiscal discipline.
MARK HALPERIN: One of the big things you’re talking about as a candidate is your role in helping balance the budget when you were chair of the federal budget committee. As a presidential candidate will you put forward your proposal to submit a balanced budget to congress in your first term?
JOHN KASICH: Well I’m not sure how we will do that exactly. We’re right now putting an outline together but there’s no mystery in what I do. I mean I’ve only written 18 budgets. That’s 18 more than you’ve written. So if people want to know what my priorities are they just need to look at my record but we’ll put more and more meat on the bones as we get closer.
HALPERIN: But just as a binary thing. You’re running as a guy who knows how to balance a budget. If you got elected President for four years at least, in those four years would you pledge and would you put forward something now to say to people “Here’s one of my budgets. This is how you get it to balance.”
KASICH: Well look I don’t think it’s going to be done. I mean, to be direct about it. Anybody who says it can be done in four years or whatever they really don’t know what they’re talking about because this is a process. Probably in the early years you’ll see a little deficit increase because of the need to cut taxes and to rebuild the military but the most important thing is to have a legitimate plan that shows you how to get there over time and that’s what I would do as the president.
HALPERIN: Could you guarantee the American people if you were president for two terms, for eight years that by the end there would be?
KASICH: Again I don’t want to lay out specific years because I don’t want to have to eat my words. But it’s a high priority for me. Here’s what I know. If we can have a legitimate plan to get us onto a balanced budget coupled with economic growth the economy would begin to take off. That’s what I’ve done in Ohio. But I also know that any of the specifics that I allow out there will probably be used as a club by some to beat me over the head. And you can do this but you have to be smart in the way you do it and you want to be measured in the way that you do it and you don’t want to make big bold predictions because they’ll usually not be kept.
HALPERIN: But doesn’t that to some extent, couldn’t someone say that undermines one of your big things. You say you know how to balance budgets and you’re sitting here telling us today eight years you might not have a balanced budget.
KASICH: We might have it. You know, I don’t make promises that I can’t keep. And I did balance the federal budget as one of the chief architects. I also got the budget balanced in Ohio. So what I think you’re looking for is credibility. I think I have credibility when it comes to fiscal discipline, making hard decisions dealing with entitlement programs. So I’m going to send you… I won’t send you all 18... but I’ll send you 4 or 5 of my budgets and you can examine them. And I’ll be glad to come on and talk about how we do it. Look, you know why outsiders are doing well now? Because politicians make promises and then don’t keep them. I am going to commit this. We will be on a strong fiscal discipline, we will deal with entitlements, we will deal with the tax code and we will ultimately have a road map that will take us to a balanced budget and begin dealing with the deficit.