There are three major areas in which spending cuts have to happen - on a massive scale - if the US long-term fiscal crisis is to be tackled. We all know what they are: Medicare, Social Security and defense. No other programs come close to these in terms of spending. So one might expect a presidential candidate like Sarah Palin who says she favors restraining spending to outline how she would slash these programs, especially as she refuses to contemplate any tax increases at all. She has said nothing, of course, but she has said that defense is off-limits:

“Secretary Gates recently spoke about the future of the U.S. Navy. He said we have to ask whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 [billion] to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines and $11 billion carriers. He went on to ask, ‘Do we really need . . . more strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?’ ” Palin said. “Well, my answer is pretty simple: Yes, we can and yes, we do, because we must.”

This is not an argument - but then Palin has no ability to make an argument. But we have been warned. Her administration will reflexively back the Pentagon in every spending measure. Fruit-fly research? Good luck with that.

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