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An image of a rocket taking off.
NASA launches the space shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in 2007. Should the private sector fund space exploration programs rather than the government? (credit: NASA)

The problem of trying to direct and fund the education of a modern U.S. workforce is familiar to many students of American government. Historically, education has largely been the job of the states. While they have provided a very robust K–12 public education system, the national government has never moved to create an equivalent system of national higher education academies or universities as many other countries have done. As the need to keep the nation competitive with others became more pressing, however, the U.S. government did step in to direct its education dollars toward creating greater equity and ease of access to the existing public and private systems.

The overwhelming portion of the government’s education money is spent on student loans, grants, and work-study programs. Resources are set aside to cover job-retraining programs for individuals who lack private-sector skills or who need to be retrained to meet changes in the economy’s demands for the labor force. National policy toward elementary and secondary education programs has typically focused on increasing resources available to school districts for nontraditional programs (such as preschool and special needs), or helping poorer schools stay competitive with wealthier institutions.

Business stimulus and regulation

A final key aspect of domestic policy is the growth and regulation of business. The size and strength of the economy is very important to politicians whose jobs depend on citizens’ believing in their own future prosperity. At the same time, people in the United States want to live in a world where they feel safe from unfair or environmentally damaging business practices. These desires have forced the government to perform a delicate balancing act between programs that help grow the economy by providing benefits to the business sector and those that protect consumers, often by curtailing or regulating the business sector.

Two of the largest recipients of government aid to business are agriculture and energy. Both are multi-billion dollar industries concentrated in rural and/or electorally influential states. Because voters are affected by the health of these sectors every time they pay their grocery or utility bill, the U.S. government has chosen to provide significant agriculture and energy subsidies to cover the risks inherent in the unpredictability of the weather and oil exploration. Government subsidies also protect these industries’ profitability. These two purposes have even overlapped in the government’s controversial decision to subsidize the production of ethanol, a fuel source similar to gasoline but generated from corn.

When it comes to regulation, the federal government has created several agencies responsible for providing for everything from worker safety (OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), to food safety (FDA), to consumer protection, where the recently created Bureau of Consumer Protection ensures that businesses do not mislead consumers with deceptive or manipulative practices. Another prominent federal agency, the EPA, is charged with ensuring that businesses do not excessively pollute the nation’s air or waterways. A complex array of additional regulatory agencies governs specific industries such as banking and finance, which are detailed later in this chapter.


The three major domestic policy areas are social welfare; science, technology, and education; and business stimulus and regulation. Social welfare programs like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare form a safety net for vulnerable populations. Science, technology, and education policies have the goal of securing the United States’ competitive advantages. Business stimulus and regulation policies have to balance business’ needs for an economic edge with consumers’ need for protection from unfair or unsafe practices. The United States spends billions of dollars on these programs.

Questions & Answers

what's the difference between a Senate house and the parliament
Irene Reply
wat is decentralization
Irene Reply
Good question? its another way of emphasizing locality as a first principle value. assumed is self suffiency, sustainability, redundancy in critical systems but most of all it represents an individual citizens liberty; our rights, a dependence from and freedom from centralized power.
it's also assumed that this freedom is critical to our ability and advantages to be resilient. our full capacity to adapt w out any headwinds or yoke from an over reaching central world power as found in empires and dynasties or for example global neoliberalism virus.
Well said Lance! It's easy to forget how decentralized our government is. Local people have skin in the game.
Is it possible for a serious third party to emerge in the United States, positioned ideologically between the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right? Why or why not?
Richard Reply
Yes it's possible, but with the two-party system not likely. Here is why: when you have a strong right wing and a strong left wing the results you actually get are closer to the center. In fact, the point of having two parties is to keep the argument going and produce these centrist results.
meaning of civil service
Omohowho Reply
create the most between the competing value of indivualism and limited government
Dora Reply
civil liberties basic freedoms while civil rights are basic right to free from discrimination based on characteristics of race, disability, color national origin, gender, and other..
Sexy Reply
yes I think so
what is the categories of federalism
Official Reply
what is racism
Favour Reply
international political economy
Diana Reply
I'm not sure what this app is again, I'm over worked, tired, alone and I have a slight cold. my neighbor jumped me and sucker punched me yesterday, and today I'm trying to keep the tooth that took the hit. My exwife is in jail, her trailer impounded, and the dogs are @ The City Pound. 😢😥😴
you sure it's a cold 😷 not covid 19
well I think the Real Truth About COVID-19 Is... Alchohol, the info and numbers all line up. AA has infiltrated the US Government. And Since I'm Getting into Recovery for Drugs and I'm No longer an Alcoholic, it's a conspiracy to keep me from using Alchohol to aid in my Drug Recovery. But ....
let's just keep this between us. ;) No Ask No Tell, OK?
I know nothing but here's a little secret from a recovering alcoholic/addict once an alcoholic always an alcoholic you can treat the symptoms but never be cured I wish you the best of luck tho my friend if you ever need someone to help you through a rough spot let me know
Ya shuts this is coming to me from an government app you'll help me right dawn on to my face and then laugh at me and say you bring it all on your self I'll be sure to call on you when I need help like to 200.00 a month and can't work the help you already give me shure thing
what's are the features,merits and demerits of power
Emmanuela Reply
the most loyal supporters of democrats are
Paulina Reply
the intent to push polls is to
Ivan Reply
I cannot seem to find a clear answer to why the house is stronger than the senate, and every guess I make the check answer says is wrong.
girunit Reply
What is foreign policy
What is government
What is a supreme court
Who is a solicitor
Three majors the National Liberation council adopted to transfer powers to the civilian government
What is bureaucracy

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Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
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