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The Basics of Government

The Basics of Government

Government is the group that makes laws, controls people and property, sets rules, redistributes wealth to help people in need and protects citizens from harm. There are many different kinds of governments, from small groups of people that follow traditions to large countries with the power to make war. Some people think government is unnecessary, while others believe it can be very helpful to society.

Some people think government should be limited to protecting the rights of people and property, while others think it should provide social programs for everyone in the country, including medical care, education and job creation. Whatever the purpose of government, it must be paid for with taxes. People who work, invest, own land or import goods pay taxes that help fund the government. In the United States, Congress determines how much money government should spend each year. Representatives who are elected by the people try to secure funding for things that will benefit those they represent. For example, on the state level this could include maintenance of local roads and bridges, funding for local colleges or universities, and management of wildlife.

On the federal level, funds are allocated for things such as national defense, Medicare and Medicaid payments to retired or disabled citizens, and management of national parks. Congress also decides which bills will become law and approves the president’s nominations for Supreme Court justices and judges of other courts. The President can reject (or veto) bills passed by Congress, but these rejected bills can still become law if two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote to override the President’s veto.

The separation of powers and checks and balances that exist in the US system of government are designed to slow down policymaking, making sure laws are created fairly. For example, before a bill becomes a law, it must be debated in both houses of Congress. It may be changed by a committee that is composed of members from both parties. Then the bill goes back to the whole House or Senate for a vote. If more than half of the members who vote approve of it, it becomes a law.

If a citizen disagrees with a law, he or she can work to persuade people to change or reject the law. This is called the democratic process.

Governments are needed to protect the rights of people and property and to put into place the rules that will keep everyone safe. However, if a government can only make laws and does not have the ability to punish people for breaking the laws, it is unlikely to be effective. In addition, the resources of a nation are best used by government to ensure the safety of citizens and provide for their needs. For example, it is difficult for private companies to protect the nation from terrorism or other threats. Government is also better suited than private companies to fund projects for the nation’s security, health and welfare.