Avik Roy writes on NRO: Conservatives frequently wonder whether Republican politicians are reliable partners in their quest to reduce the size of government. And with good reason. But there is a parallel question that conservatives never ask: Are conservatives reliable partners in the Republican quest to reduce the size of government?
According to the Congressional Budget Office, nearly every dollar of growth in the size of government as a share of the economy — excluding interest on the debt — is a result of our health-care entitlements: Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and related programs. Given that fact, you’d think that a movement dedicated to shrinking government would devote the majority of its intellectual energy to reforming the health-care leviathan. Most of us have, instead, been content to endorse the latest proposal from Paul Ryan.
Most Republican politicians these days come into office with a genuine desire to reduce the size of government. But they run into a number of problems, the most important being that many voters recoil at concrete efforts to reduce spending. And we face that problem, in turn, because conservatives haven’t sufficiently succeeded at building a grass-roots movement that is passionate about the biggest drivers of government growth.