What does the U.S. government do?

The government is the institution that enforces our public policies. Public policies are all the things that the government decides to do, such as impose an income tax, service its armed forces, protect the environment, and hold businesses to certain standards. In the democratic United States, the people elect representatives to the government to carry out the popular will. The people who exercise the powers of the government include legislators, who make the law; executives and administrators, who administer and enforce those laws; and judges, who interpret the law. Each year, Congress enacts about 500 laws and the state legislators enact about 25,000 laws. Local governments enact countless ordinances, or city laws.


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