Republican Fiscal Promises: 96 Percent Empty


Do you know why the House Republicans' "Pledge to America" does not include any proposed solutions to the impending fiscal crisis caused by exploding entitlements? Because they needed the space for pictures, which consume 12 of the document's 48 pages and help explain why the PDF file takes so long to download and scroll through. (A photo-free version is available here.) The illustrations include about 40 photos of Republican representatives rubbing elbows with commoners, a full-page photo of the Statue of Liberty, a full-page photo of Mount Rushmore, a half-page photo of the Capitol dome, a half-page photo of a lasso-whirling cowboy on horseback in silhouette against a sunset, and one-third-page shots of the Capitol, the White House, and the Supreme Court. When you consider the title pages, table of contents, and other virtually blank pages, only half of the Pledge to America is devoted to text, which is set with big margins and lots of space between the lines. Since the text is repetitive and consists largely of rhetorical flourishes, the actual substance probably could have been boiled down to a single two-sided sheet. Think of it as a metaphor for the federal budget—or for Republican promises of fiscal restraint.

I'll have more on the latter in my column tomorrow. Previous Reason coverage of the pledge here.