Jacob Sullum

As of last week, however, the Republicans pledge to "make the decisions that are necessary to protect our entitlement programs for today's seniors and future generations." Such as? Sorry, that's all you're getting before the elections.

"Let's not get to the potential solutions," Boehner said in a Fox News interview on Sunday. "When you start down that path, you just invite all kinds of problems." Aren't solutions that invite problems what Congress is all about?

Boehner's insistence that an "adult conversation" about entitlements need not include any discussion of what to do about them suggests a certain lack of seriousness. Likewise the Pledge to America's complaints about Barack Obama's "massive Medicare cuts" and its treatment of anything pertaining to "seniors" (one-third of the budget) as a sacred category.

The Republicans think expenditures related to "security" deserve the same exalted status, presumably because a government that is bumbling, wasteful and ineffective in every other endeavor could not possibly display those characteristics when protecting Americans from terrorists. Yet defense is, among other things, a fiscal issue, consuming a fifth of the budget. The Republicans' grandiose goal of "bringing certainty to an uncertain world" is inconsistent with their goal of "a smaller, less costly and more accountable government."

Even if you trust the Republicans when they say "we have a plan" to cut $100 billion from the budget, that amounts to just 8 percent of the current $1.3 trillion deficit. And why trust them? As the Pledge to America warns, "It's not enough" to "swap out one set of leaders for another."

Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com.
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