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Roles of the Government

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Roles of the Government

Role of the Federal Government

Dee Casey

October 30, 2006

The Role of the Federal Government

The government plays a critical role in the functioning of the economy. However, many people do not really understand what exactly the government does and how this impacts the economy. This paper will define the role of the government and will provide an analysis of the federal government’s responsibilities to its people according to an article titled, “Role of the Federal Government” by the Rational Society. Specifically the paper will address four critical responsibilities including: social policy, the environment and energy, fiscal policy and foreign policy.

A government is a body that has the authority to make and the power to enforce laws within a civil, corporate, religious, academic, or other organization or group. In its broadest sense, "to govern" means to administer or supervise, whether over a state, a set group of people, or a collection of assets (Colander, 2004).

The most critical roles of the government are:

▪ social policy (including individual rights, health care, care for the poor, crime)

▪ environment and energy

▪ fiscal policy (spending and revenue)

▪ foreign policy (including security from foreign threats and the global human condition)

Social Policy

All individuals have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, freedom of religion and speech. Social policy relates to guidelines for these rights and the living conditions that are conducive to the welfare of humans. Social policy aims to improve human welfare and to meet needs for education, health, housing and social security. Modern-day social policies may deal with the following social issues; abortion, and the regulation of its practice, the legal status of euthanasia, the rules surrounding issues of marriage, divorce, and adoption, poverty, welfare, crime and homelessness. Social policy may be influenced by religion and the religious beliefs of politicians.

In Canada and most European countries, the healthcare system meets the important goals of good health outcomes and universal health coverage. In the article the Role of the Federal Government, it states that while health care is not a “right,” it is the responsibility of a wealthy, modern, industrialized society such as ours to provide a basic level of care to all its citizens. In short, the government must find a way to provide health care or insurance for all Americans, and find a way for our society to pay for it.

Environment and Energy

The role of government is to carefully balance our need for resources (coal, wood, power) against the damage done to the environment (Rational Society, 2006). The government must integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the environmental impacts of its actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions.

According to Rational Society, the federal government must ease the inevitable transition

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