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John Kasich on economic priorities facing the next president

In this installment of our series “Issues That Matter,” former Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich discusses the presidential nominees’ economic policies, including expanding the American economy and handling trade agreements with other countries.


According to former Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one “high priority” for the next president is to approve the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)  – a deal both presidential candidates oppose.   

“We have a lot of little countries out there that are saying, ‘We want to work with the United States.’ And to tell them ‘no’ really is a big mistake, not only from an economic point of view but also from the standpoint of geopolitics and our ability to be strong in the Pacific,” Kasich said. 

If the U.S. stays out of this massive trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim countries, Kasich said, Russia and China – which are not included – would be able to expand their influence in the region and emerge as the only winners.

Despite not agreeing with President Obama on “a lot of things,” Kasich has pushed for Congress to ratify the deal, which Obama has prioritized for his remaining time in office. But it remains gridlocked.

“Look, I went down there to help the president with trade… and I get criticized because I go to the Oval Office to sit with the president,” Kasich said. “When I was in Congress, it was a privilege to sit with the president and work for the good the country.”

Kasich said the TPP not only has geopolitical ramifications, but is also about helping our country “continue to innovate.” 

“If you lock the doors in your country, consumers will pay more and more jobs will be lost,” Kasich said. 

Because of this changing economy, Kasich also stressed the importance of developing job retraining programs, especially for older industries. 

“Our system of job training in this country is totally broken. It needs to be fixed and Congress has got to do something about it,” he said. 

In Ohio, Kasich has boosted efforts to improve skills in schools – beginning as early as kindergarten – and all the way through to retirement. Ohio has seen economic growth under Kasich’s watch, with the state’s jobless rate down to 4.7 percent, from 9.2 percent when he took office six years ago. The state has also added 430,000 jobs.  

“Look, we don’t make the inside of the Apple phone anymore, but we built the Apple phone, we designed the Apple phone, we created the Apple phone. It’s better to work making computer chips than potato chips. And so those people who are stuck in the old industries need to be retrained.”

“Apple has a lot of their profits they’re making from selling those iPhones, they’re still overseas. So do we need tax reform so those profits will come back and create jobs in America?” asked “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose.

“Well what we know... is that we have the highest corporate taxes in the world among the leading industrial countries. And so what what happens is, people park their money overseas. Democrats and Republicans both agree on this. It’d be great to be able to get that money back to America so we can help with tax cuts,” Kasich said. 

“Then why don’t we have that change in the law?” Rose asked. 

“Well, because Congress can’t seem to get out of its own way. They can’t agree on anything,” Kasich said. 

That continues to be the case on the TPP trade deal, too. When asked about the chances that the deal would actually get approved before Obama leaves office, Kasich answered: “There is an opportunity in the lame duck [session], if the Republican leadership wants to push and the Democrats will provide some votes. The real question is, how hard will the president push for this? And I’m going to do everything we can to help the White House on this for the simple reason that this is in the best interest of the U.S.” 

As for the opposition from the two presidential candidates, Kasich said “it doesn’t matter” because candidates “say one thing when they’re running and they change their mind later.” As for which candidate will win his vote, Kasich – a lifelong Republican who has been one of Donald Trump’s most vocal critics – said he still has no idea. 

“I might write your name in Charlie,” Kasich said. “No, I think Norah.”