Pledgin' Their Time, But Not to Cutting the Federal Budget


The Republican Pledge to America is out, appearing at a hardware store near you.

As predicted, there is, alas, very little to get excited about. Oaths to make sure that all laws Congress passes are constitutional are laughable (in a Jerry Lewis The Day The Clown Cried kind of way), especially given the way that Supreme Court Justices such as Antonin Scalia interpret the commerce clause. Any "bold" plan for the future that bothers to talk about keeping Gitmo open (or closed, for that matter) is a joke (again, in a Day The Clown Cried sort of way). Promising to read legislation before passing is a good idea coming from the many of the very same folks who bum-rushed The Patriot Act and TARP through on the grounds that if we didn't act immediately, we'd all turn into pillars of salt.

More to the point (which Matt Welch made earlier today), these sorts of documents are about as binding as a plate full of prunes, especially when they are chock full of Mack Truck-sized loopholes such as:

Cut Government Spending to Pre-Stimulus, Pre-Bailout Levels:  With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone and putting us on a path to begin paying down the debt,  balancing the budget, and ending the spending spree in Washington that threatens our children's future. [emphasis added.]

Regular readers here know that pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels of spending were absolutely horrible. And why do seniors get a pass? For god's sake, repeal the Medicare prescription drug plan already! Over the next decade, the costs are estimated to be about $730 billion, all for a program that wasn't necessary in the first place (back in 2000, when the plan was getting discussed, seniors spent just 3.2 percent of their money on drugs, less than they spent on entertainment). By all means, help those (few) seniors who need a hand, but this sort of Bush-pushed entitlement is precisely one of the reasons why the pre-stimulus, pre-bailout budget was more bloated than Larry Summers' third chin.

The document's most deafening silence is on entitlement spending. Indeed, it's main attack on ObamaCare is precisely that this awful new program steals money from Medicare. Which last time anybody looked, was the time bomb that's ticking under the federal budget like a Guy Fawkes' powder keg.

Memo to House Republicans, who had, what about four years?, to come up with an agenda: If you do win big in the midterms—and by all rights, you will—don't mistake those gains against a really awful opposition for anything like support for your non-program.

Read it and weep. And listen and learn: