… is from pages 26-27 of Robert Higgs’s 1991 paper “Eighteen Problematic Propositions in the Analysis of the Growth of Government,” as this paper is reprinted in Higgs’s 2007 book, Neither Liberty Nor Safety (references deleted):
Government employees or dollars often work at cross purposes in their effect on the economy. Many analysts have noted the prodigious “cross hauling” or “churning” associated with modern government activities. On the one hand, government wheat researchers develop higher-yielding varieties of the crop, thereby increasing the supply and decreasing the price. On the other hand, government acreage restrictions decrease the supply and increase the price. Such examples can be multiplied indefinitely. I do not mean to suggest that the churning is accidental or politically irrational in its inception, because interested parties set each part of the process in motion with their eyes open and their hands grasping. The implication for muddled measurement remains, however, regardless of the motives involved.