The Responsibilities of Government
Government is a way for a people to organize themselves and share power. It is also a system that makes decisions and enforces them. A government is often formed from a political party that wins an election, and it may be described as either a republic or a democracy. Government is also a tool for achieving economic prosperity, maintaining stable borders, and providing citizens with security and services.
Governments set policies and allocate resources, but they are not the only entities that do these things. Different societies choose different forms of government. Some of these are monarchies, oligarchies, democracies (direct or indirect), autocracies, and communist governments. Government can be found at the national, state, and local levels of a society. Government is also used by organizations, businesses, and communities to manage their affairs.
Many people believe that the primary responsibility of a government is to protect its citizens. This includes protection against crime and terrorist attacks. Governments at all levels provide social programs, such as public education and health care. These programs vary in scope and cost, but they all attempt to accomplish the same goal: economic prosperity for the nation and the safety and well-being of its citizens.
Another responsibility of governments is to preserve common goods, such as clean air and water. These are things that everyone uses, but they are in limited supply. Governments regulate the use of these goods to ensure that everyone has access to them. They also protect natural resources, such as wildlife and the ocean. Governments do this so that some people do not overuse the resource and leave others with nothing.
The framers of the United States Constitution believed that a good form of government must include separation of powers and checks and balances. They created a structure of government where the legislative branch (Congress, Senate, and House) make laws; the executive branch carries out the law; and the Supreme Court and other federal courts evaluate the legality of the laws.
James Madison wrote that it was impossible to make politicians angels who would never try to grab more power than they should, so he designed the system of checks and balances to limit their ambition. For example, if Congress passes a bill that the President does not like, he can use his veto power to prevent the law from becoming a reality. Congress can override the President’s veto with two-thirds of both houses voting in favor of it.
In addition to checking the ambitions of its members, this separation of powers and checks and balances helps to ensure that the Government is acting in accordance with the Constitution. This process slows policymaking, but the framers thought it was a price worth paying. This system also gives citizens the opportunity to influence laws that move through Congress. For instance, if a citizen disagrees with a law that Congress passes, he or she can work to convince the President to veto it.