With the Ohio House of Representatives ready to ram through the reactionary budget of former Fox commentator and now-Governor John Kasich, the Columbus Dispatch ran a Washington Post article entitled “U.S. detour to debt on road to surplus.” The lead is both accurate and timely for Ohio. It reads: “The nation’s unnerving descent into debt began a decade ago with a choice, not a crisis.” That choice is about to be echoed in Ohio budget policies.

The Post and the Dispatch should be praised for stating the obvious. In January 2001, as President Clinton departed the Oval Office, the budget was balanced and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicted even larger annual surpluses through the new millennium. Within a decade, they predicted, we would pay off all of the U.S. debt.

Recently, as Kasich faced an $8 billion shortfall in Ohio’s budget, he reverted to Fox-style punditry, remarking, “The president of the United States has, I think, a $13 trillion debt. Why doesn’t he do his job? When he gets our budget balanced and starts to prepare a future for our children, maybe he can have an opinion on what’s going on in Ohio,” according to the Dispatch.

So instead of the projected $0 debt, how did we get to $13 trillion now owed? Bush began where the Bushes always begin – by doing favors for the wealthy. That’s why Samuel Prescott Bush was hand-selected by John D. Rockefeller’s brother, Frank, to run the Columbus-based Buckeye Steel Casting. While on the Armaments Board in World War I, Samuel Prescott Bush gave an unbid contract to his own company, as well as to Percy Rockefeller, John D’s cousin.

Samuel’s son Prescott Bush made money for Brown Brothers Harriman and his father-in-law, George Herbert Walker by laundering money for the fledging German Nazi Party in the late 20s and early 30s.

Prescott’s son, George Herbert Walker Bush, was Vice President under Ronald Reagan and saw the tripling of all U.S. debt from George Washington to Jimmy Carter during their eight-year administration. An unnecessary attack on Iraq after the Arab League had brokered a deal for Saddam Hussein’s exodus from Kuwait created new record debt during the George H.W. Bush regime.

But none would anticipate the flagrant destruction of the U.S. economy and the record debts that were run up by the former alcoholic prodigal son, George W. Bush.

The national debt is now larger as a percentage of the economy than any other time in U.S. history except for the amount recorded right after the end of World War II. Bush cut taxes on the rich, particularly the estate tax, despite opposition from America’s two richest men Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. He cost our economy an estimated $3 trillion, according to Congressional testimony, through his illegal war against Iraq. The cost of the war and the even greater cost of reconstruction was waged with borrowed funds, now more than $1 trillion from China.

Still, the rhetoric of Bush supporters like Grover Norquist to kill the remnants of the Great Society and New Deal appears to be winning the day. But the Post article correctly points out that “Defense and domestic spending account for only about 15% of the financial deterioration, according to an analysis of CBO data.”

By cutting taxes primarily on the wealthy, George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent Barack Obama who has not pushed to tax the rich, gave away $6.3 trillion in anticipated tax revenue to the most privileged people on Earth. While Kasich likes to blame all $13 trillion on Obama, the the Washington Post documents that he is only responsible for $1.7 trillion in new debt. Thus, if the budget was balanced under Clinton and Obama only grew the debt by $1.7 trillion, the remaining $11.3 trillion belongs to Reagan and the Bush presidents.

The top 1% of U.S. society is now estimated to own more wealth than the bottom 96% combined.

Now Kasich in conjunction with the Ohio House Republicans s trying to emulate the disaster of George W. Bush by eliminating Ohio’s estate tax and gutting K-12 and higher education. The estate tax in Ohio brought in $226 million in 2009 – 80% going to Ohio’s cash-strapped municipalities. No estate tax is paid by the surviving spouse under existing law.

It is important to remember that Bush and his Republican allies in Congress approved a $1.35 trillion tax cut soon after taking office. They followed right after the beginning of the ill-conceived and immoral attack on Iraq with another $350 billion tax cut benefiting the rich.

We should recall the red ink supply-side quote from former-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay who stated “Nothing is more important in the face of war than cutting taxes.”

Kasich and his Republican cohorts are bringing Bush-era fiscally irresponsible politics to Ohio. His attack on Obama was in response to Obama’s modest comment in defense of public union collective bargaining. The President said, “Let’s respect their right to collectively bargain.”

The public is busy supporting needless wars while our leaders are cutting the taxes on the rich and lowering everyone else’s living standards. College students at Ohio State University and elsewhere might want to refrain from chanting “USA! USA!” and jumping into Mirror Lake as they celebrate the assassination of Osama bin Laden. They need to look at who borrowed money to finance first, the Mujahideen, and later Al Qaeda and bin Laden to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

Go ahead and look it up online. You’ve got time. After all, you students will be paying off those loans until you’re 90.

Correction: May 15, 2011: The original version failed to give credit to the Washington Post in paragraph 10 for its analysis.