Governments set the rules for people’s lives, protect them from outside interference, and provide for their well-being and happiness. These responsibilities vary through time and place, but all governments share some common features. Majority rule with minority rights: decisions are made based on what the majority wants, while allowing for the opinions of the minority. Accountability: elected and appointed officials are held accountable for their actions. Checks and balances: limits on the power of government officials, with competition among political parties to keep them in check. Economic freedom: Governments should allow for private ownership of property and business. A Constitution: A constitution is a document that defines the principles and beliefs of the government.
Government is responsible for making laws and ensuring that they are enforced. It also provides services that people need, like healthcare and education. But over the years, governments have begun to hand off some of their responsibilities to other organizations. This is often called privatization.
It’s important for citizens to understand how their government works so that they can hold it accountable. In the United States, there are three branches of government; the legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch. Congress, the Senate, and the House of Representatives make up the legislative branch. The President and his Cabinet are part of the executive branch. And the Supreme Court and other federal courts are part of the judicial branch.
Each branch is designed to keep the other branches in check and prevent them from overstepping their bounds. For example, the Framers of the U.S. Constitution put in place checks and balances that require the approval of both chambers of Congress before a bill can become law. If Congress passes a bill that the President disagrees with, the president can veto it. Congress can then try to pass the same bill again, but it will only be passed if two-thirds of both chambers vote for it.
When government entities spend more than they bring in through taxes, fees, and other sources of revenue, they must borrow money. This is done by selling bonds to the public. When the bond matures, the government body will pay back the money it borrowed plus interest.
The most controversial role of government is providing for the welfare and happiness of its citizens. This is done by offering programs like unemployment benefits and national medical insurance. This role is controversial because many people believe it takes away their sense of personal responsibility and independence. In addition, these programs can be very expensive. But the reality is that a government cannot survive without this money, so it is likely that these programs will continue to exist in some form in the future.