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Saturday, July 21, 2018

April 13 (Bloomberg) — Grover Norquist, the tax-cutting champion, famously said he wanted to shrink the federal government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bath tub.”

With gargantuan deficits, that seems like a pipe dream, but it may be time to start running the water.

The new plan offered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and approved recently by Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans puts the Republicans on record supporting a federal government that within a decade will consist of little more than national defense, entitlements and interest on the national debt.

Those are largely transfer payments to defense contractors, seniors and bankers. The rest of what the government actually does would be eviscerated, from building roads to environmental protection to medical research.

Ryan has abandoned the Republican fantasy on display during the primaries that cutting liberal spending programs will be enough to restore fiscal sanity. He’d go where the big money is — entitlement reform — and also eliminate a series of tax deductions used by the affluent, though in an April 10 editorial board session with Bloomberg View he was still mum on which ones.