John Kasich on Welfare & Poverty
Republican Governor; previously Representative (OH-12); 2000 & 2016 candidate for President
KASICH: I don't know; what's true today is not true a couple hours from now. So you can't predict where this country's going, because it's chaotic. People know there's something wrong with our compass and they really want it fixed.
Q: How has America changed to cause that?
KASICH: I think many people have been increasingly unwilling to put themselves in the shoes of somebody else. I think what's fundamentally changed our country is that many people have not come to understand what faith is, which is loving your neighbor, elevating others, putting yourself in other people's shoes. And when we don't do that, we lose the essence of our country. In the Great Depression, everybody pulled together. And what we're seeing now is people pulling apart rather than coming together.
For example, once we balanced the budge in our state, we were able to expand Medicaid--angering a lot of people in our party--and in the fallout, I said something that got a lot of attention. I said, "when you get to Heaven, St. Peter is not going to ask you if you balanced the budget. He's going to ask you what you did for the poor. And you had better have a good answer."
When I'm gone, you've got to expand this thing. We can't have people just going in and people checking boxes. We have to bring back caseworkers, and we've got to get at the root cause of why people are stuck.
KASICH: First of all, it's not about being a Christian--the Jewish and Christian principles of this country say basically the same thing. Look, I'm a public official, but I'm also a leader in terms of how this country ought to move. My sense is that it is important that we do not ignore the poor, the widowed, the disabled. I just think that's the way America is. And I think there's a moral aspect to it. In my state, there's not only a moral aspect where some people's lives have been saved because of what we've done, but it also saves us money in the long run.
For those in need of a New Testament refresher: In Matthew 25, Jesus admonishes his followers to aid the less fortunate. Kasich has cited the passage repeatedly of late in defending his ObamaCare-fueled Medicaid expansion--an act of Republican apostasy that prompted widespread dismay among his party brethren.
He gets back on track: "With this whole spiritual element, let's get away from the judgment side of it. I think it's actually what the Pope's trying to do. The Pope's saying, 'Why don't we get into the feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and helping the imprisoned and helping the lonely? That's what we're commanded to do. To me, this is a gift that I've been able to feel this way."
The people at food pantries like Sugartree Ministries-- we were here with my campaign staff, and I said, "Did you see what was happening in that pantry? Did you see the pain, the anguish, on their faces?"
I told them that day, "Our mission is to help fix this community and to restore some hope. Our mission is to help get people back on their feet in places like Wilmington." Wilmington is in many ways a reflection of Ohio. We are doing better, but we must act decisively now to seize the greater opportunities that await all of us.
Few have gone further than Kasich in critiquing his party's views on poverty programs. Once a leader of the conservative firebrands in Congress under Newt Gingrich in the 1990s, Mr. Kasich has surprised and disarmed some former critics on the left with his championing of Ohio's disadvantaged, which he frames as a matter of Christian compassion.
He embodies conventional Republican fiscal priorities but he defies many conservatives in believing government should ensure a strong social safety net. In his three years as governor, he has expanded programs for the mentally ill and backed Cleveland's Democratic mayor in raising local taxes to improve schools.
[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:
The Personal Responsibility Act:
Discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increased AFDC for additional children while on welfare, cut spending for welfare programs, and enact a tough two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility.
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Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
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Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
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Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)
2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
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Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Gov.Bill Weld (R-MA&L-NY)
2020 Withdrawn Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
About John Kasich: