from Dan Mitchel at International Liberty, The Rahn Curve, the Laffer Curve, and Walter Williams
For the uninitiated, the Rahn Curve is the common-sense notion that some government is helpful for prosperous markets but too much government is harmful to economic performance.
Even libertarians, for instance, will acknowledge that spending on core “public goods” such as police protection and courts (assuming, of course, low levels of corruption) can enable the smooth functioning of markets.
Some even argue that government spending on human capital and physical capital can facilitate economic activity. For what it’s worth, I think that the government’s track record in those areas leaves a lot to be desired, so I’d prefer to give the private sector a greater role in areas such as education and highways.
The big problem, though, is that most government spending is for programs that are often categorized as “transfers” and “consumption.” And these are outlays that clearly are associated with weaker economic performance.
This is why small-government economies such as Hong Kong and Singapore tend to grow faster than the medium-government economies such as the United States and Australia. And it also explains why growth is even slower is big-government economies such as France and Italy.