Government is the institution that makes and enforces laws within a community or society. It provides services to the community such as roads, education, and health care. It also regulates businesses to ensure they are following appropriate procedures and providing good customer service. In addition, it taxes individuals and businesses to raise money to pay for these services. Governments at the local, state and national level allocate these funds for things such as maintenance of roads, universities, and wildlife management. They may also provide social programs such as welfare and pensions, or help people find jobs. Governments can be democratic, republics or monarchies.
Different governments have different ideologies that determine how they operate. Democracy is based on the idea that everyone has a right to participate in politics and have their opinions heard. This type of government promotes the rule of law, and checks and balances are designed to keep power from slipping into the hands of a few. It also allows for economic freedom, and the use of competing political parties to give voters a variety of options.
Representative democracies, where citizens elect representatives to speak on their behalf, are another type of government. These elected officials are usually part of a group of people with similar ideas, known as a party. This helps to maintain a balanced government that can make decisions about what is best for the country.
Autocracies, where one person or small group has complete power, are often referred to as totalitarian regimes. They do not have the benefits of a representative system or a checks and balances structure. However, they can still be very powerful and sometimes create their own rules. Other types of governments include communism, which is an attempt to establish equality, and feudalism, where a noble family controls the land and wealth.
Those who run governments must be able to make a variety of decisions and must also understand that not everyone will agree with their choices. Governments are often charged with dealing with problems that have a large impact on a large number of people, and the most effective leaders are those who can take the time to hear from all sides and make sound decisions.
The most common role of government is to protect its citizens from threats and disasters, to help people get jobs, and to support education. People of all ages and political views rate the performance of the federal government well when it comes to dealing with natural disasters and fighting terrorism, but the majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that the government does a poor job helping people out of poverty and managing the immigration system.
Many people believe that the size of government should be limited. They prefer that it be focused on essential services and not subsidize lifestyles that do not need to be supported by the public. This desire is most often expressed by young adults. However, even among older adults, a significant minority of those surveyed say that they would like to see a smaller government.