After a slight contraction in 2009, Singapore’s economy is roaring back with GDP growth of close to 15 percent in 2010 (nytimes). How did people there manage to achieve this success? By U.S. standards, the government of Singapore is almost non-existent, consuming just 12.5 percent of GDP (source). If you scroll down to the bottom of this chart, you’ll see that the U.S. federal deficit is, at 10.5 percent of GDP, nearly equal to all government spending in Singapore. (Local, state, and federal spending combined in the U.S. is now at a non-WWII record of 44 percent (source).)
One would think that any debate about the likely effectiveness of increased government expansion here in the U.S. would include a discussion of how Singapore is succeeding, but I have not seen that in the news. Why would Americans not look to more successful economies worldwide for inspiration?
[As a side note, the CIA factbook for Singapore shows that the per-capita GDP of this once-poor country is higher than that of the U.S.: $50,300 compared to $46,400. The data have been tweaked for "purchasing power parity", so it isn't exactly clear who would find a Honda Accord more affordable, but it is nonetheless impressive that a country with no land and no natural resources could have surpassed the U.S., which has been gifted with (or stolen from the Indians) almost an entire continent to exploit.]