In mid-March, conservatives will gather at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference, a three-day confab dedicated to advancing conservative principles and goals. CPAC is hosting over a hundred events, on a multitude of worthy topics. But does the American Conservative Union, CPAC’s sponsor, believe that health spending is a serious problem? Apparently not: The group isn’t hosting a single event related to health-care policy. Nothing on Obamacare, nothing on Medicare reform, nothing on resisting the expansion of Medicaid in the states, nothing on the increasing unaffordability of health insurance for the middle class. Nothing. …

Health care is not the only area of conservative under-investment. The U.S. Federal Reserve, headed by Ben Bernanke, has built up a $3 trillion balance sheet in the course of subsidizing Washington’s deficit spending. The central bank intends to continue to purchase $85 billion a month in U.S.-government debt and mortgage-backed securities for the foreseeable future.

But this cannot go on forever, at least not without destroying the savings of ordinary Americans and making ordinary goods less affordable. …

These blind spots in today’s conservatism stem from the movement’s historical roots. Bill Buckley and his NR compatriots built modern American conservatism in the 1950s and early ’60s, before the Great Society was enacted. And many of those who now lead the conservative movement came of age during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, when, as Ramesh Ponnuru and Jim Pethokoukis have noted, the public-policy challenges were very different from the ones we are facing today.