source : thoughtco.com
The Importance of Government Explained
John Lennon’s “Imagine” is a beautiful song, but when he tallies up the things he can imagine us living without—possessions, religion and so on—he never asks us to imagine a world without government.
The closest he comes is when he asks us to imagine that there are no countries, but that’s not exactly the same thing.
This is probably because Lennon was a student of human nature. He knew that government might be one thing we can’t do without. Governments are important structures. Let’s imagine a world with no government.
A World Without Laws
I’m typing this on my MacBook right now. Let’s imagine that a very large man—we’ll call him Biff—has decided that he doesn’t especially like my writing. He walks in, throws the MacBook to the floor, stomps it into little pieces, and leaves. But before leaving, Biff tells me that if I write anything else he doesn’t like, he’ll do to me what he did to my MacBook.
Biff just established something very much like his own government. It has become against Biff’s law for me to write things that Biff doesn’t like. The penalty is severe and enforcement is fairly certain. Who’s going to stop him? Certainly not me. I’m smaller and less violent than he is.
But Biff isn’t really the biggest problem in this no-government world. The real problem is a greedy, heavily armed guy—we’ll call him Frank—who has learned that if he steals money then hires enough muscle with his ill-gotten gains, he can demand goods and services from every business in town.
He can take anything he wants and make almost anybody do whatever he demands. There’s no authority higher than Frank that can make him stop what he’s doing, so this jerk has literally created his own government—what political theorists refer to as a despotism, a government ruled by a despot, which is essentially another word for tyrant.
A World of Despotic Governments
Some governments aren’t much different from the despotism I just described.
Kim Jong-un technically inherited his army instead of hiring it in North Korea, but the principle is the same. What Kim Jong-un wants, Kim Jong-un gets. It’s the same system Frank used, but on a larger scale.
If we don’t want Frank or Kim Jong-un in charge, we must all get together and agree to do something to prevent them from taking over.
And that agreement itself is a government. We need governments to protect us from other, worse power structures that would otherwise form in our midst and deprive us of our rights.
The Founders of America believed in natural rights held by all persons as espoused by English philosopher John Locke. These were the rights to life liberty and property. They are often referred to today as basic or fundamental rights.
As Thomas Jefferson said the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That
to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Is Government Necessary? – The Ongoing Debate – Video – Government is necessary. This is something that has been recognized for nearly as long as there have been human societies. With settled society, which first began roughly 12,000 years ago, came…Why Is Government Necessary? Most people argue that some form of government is necessary, although their reasoning may differ. Those from a Christian background tend to argue that the problem of original sin and human depravity make government necessary.Government will continue to provide public goods, at a level necessary to ensure a globally competitive economy and a well-functioning society. But wherever possible, government should invest in citizen capabilities to enable them to provide for themselves in rapidly and continually changing circumstances.
What Is Government and Why Is It Necessary? – HubPages – So you see why it is important to have a local government in a state. It allows for popular participation in politics Statistics shows that one of the major causes of political apathy in many countries is because of the the failure of the government to create rooms for the masses to participate.Question #1 Why are governments necessary Answer: Governments are necessary because they maintain law and order. Laws are necessary for society to function. Life in a society without laws would be unsafe Learning Target: I will be able to explain why we need a government, and be able to compare/ contrast" One could argue that government is most definitely necessary, but not an evil. Government is what establishes our rules and without it the world would consist of barbaric animals. On the other hand, with too much government control, the world would see the decline and, eventually, disappearance of our rights and freedoms.
3 responsibilities every government has towards its – Is Government Necessary? One act of entrusting the common good of humanity (as applied to the many) to some within that many creates both a country and a government. But anarchists must believe that such an act is not necessary. For anarchism to be a viable theory, it must be possible for an anarchist to exist in a society.A government is necessary because it is an organized system of leadership that is needed in any society. Once people live together in a larger community that comprises of more than just the extended families, a government is important to handle the evolving nature of their existence.Local government is responsible for: the function of and delivery of a complete range of services and infrastructure required by their individual communities. … devising, approving and enforcing local laws relating to building, planning and the health and wellbeing of each individual.
How do governments make money? | CNBC Explains – These are challenging times.
Governments are trying to keep their economies alive
by injecting billions of dollars across the board. However, they are trying to do so
while receiving less money, a very difficult task, especially for nations where public debt
was already high before the pandemic. So, how do governments make money? For most governments,
the main source of revenue is taxes. Here in the U.K., the biggest chunk
comes from taxes on people’s earnings, known as Income Tax and
National Insurance Contributions. If you are employed in the U.K.,
these come out of your paycheck even before it lands in your bank account,
while in the United States, salaried workers often have to pay a retrospective
tax bill based on their previous year’s earnings. There are also plenty of indirect taxes
levied when goods and services are sold. When you buy a coffee, a chocolate bar
or a car, well that’s taxed too. These consumption taxes,
such as the U.K.’s VAT or India’s Goods and Services Tax
are another important source of revenue. In fact, taxes on income and consumption
amount to about two thirds of tax revenues in the U.K. They are also used as a way for governments
to influence people’s behaviour. For example, the U.K. introduced a “sugar tax”
aimed at tackling childhood obesity in 2018. This means that consumers are
discouraged from buying sugary soft drinks as these become pricier in comparison
with healthier alternatives. Besides being levied on other unhealthy products,
such as alcohol and tobacco, duties can also be used to discourage environmentally damaging activities,
such as driving petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles. The next chunk of government income
comes from taxes on property, whether on your own
or on commercial spaces. There are a number of other smaller duties too,
when selling or inheriting real estate, which end up boosting the government’s coffers. It’s a similar picture in the U.S.
About half of federal revenue comes from individual income taxes,
while about a third of the total comes from payroll taxes that fund social insurance programs.
Companies are also taxed on their profits. However, corporate tax in the U.S. has fallen
as a proportion of government receipts since the 1950s, reflecting how the United States has tried
to encourage business activity with lower rates. While taxation patterns are mostly
similar in developed countries, low-income nations are more reliant on trade
and consumption taxes due to the nature of their economies. For example, agricultural workers
rarely have fixed or regular incomes, making it hard to
calculate income taxes. The tax collection system in low-income economies
also tends to be less efficient, which in turn makes
generating revenue harder. Even for an oil-rich country like Saudi Arabia,
which has no income taxes, its increased spending in 2020 forced it
to triple its consumption tax to 15%. Traditionally, governments have tried to
match their expenditure with the money they receive from all of these sources of income,
also known as running a balanced budget. However, they can run a deficit and borrow money
from financial markets to make up the shortfall. But this is a delicate balancing act because interest
payments can mount up, effectively increasing spending. If lenders worry about the total level of
debt getting out of control and threatening the ability of a government to repay them,
they charge a lot more for these loans. In the eurozone, for instance, Italy’s bonds offer a
higher yield than Germany’s, even though they share a currency, because lenders have more confidence
in Germany’s ability to repay its debt. While central banks can just print more money in theory,
either to repay these loans directly, or to swap for foreign currency
if they borrowed in dollars, adding more money to the economy risks stoking inflation
and has devastated economies in the past. Although some economists have
recently started to question whether this is the inevitable
consequence of higher spending, especially for big economies such as the U.S.,
it’s going to take a lot of convincing before lawmakers feel confident
running huge deficits for a long time. However, U.S. President Joe Biden has said
he supports setting aside concerns about the country’s deficit so more money
can be spent now to prop up the economy. This brings us to why we are now
more likely to pay even more in taxes. Governments have had to step up their
spending in the wake of the pandemic. The health emergency halted a lot of economic activity,
and governments across the world have been paying companies
to keep workers on their payrolls, increasing unemployment benefits
and supporting health services. They have also delayed tax bills for businesses
so they have a bit longer to find the cash. These measures, though necessary, are emptying
the coffers of many treasury departments around the world. Given how important citizens’ contributions
are for their income, governments are expected to increase taxes
in the coming years to restore their finances. The U.K.’s independent watchdog for public finances
said that tax rises or spending cuts of between billion and billion
will be needed just to stop public debt levels from rising relative to GDP.
In his latest plans for the economy, the U.K.’s finance minister has already announced
an increase in corporate tax. It’s going to take this country,
and the whole world, a long time to recover from this
extraordinary economic situation. This is why we hear more leaders discussing new taxes,
such as on profits made by digital giants and on pollution. While we don’t know when taxes will rise, and by how much,
it is likely these levies will be passed on to consumers, which means there’s a good chance
we’ll paying more to the government before very long. Hi everyone,
thank you so much for watching. How do you feel about potentially paying more taxes?
And what should governments be taxing? Let us know in the comments section,
and I’ll see you soon. .
Affirmative Action: Crash Course Government and Politics #32 – Hi, I'm Craig and this is Crash Course Government
and Politics, and today, I'm gonna finish up our episodes on civil rights by talking about
There's a few things I'm not gonna do in this episode, though. First.
I'm not gonna try to defend all aspects of affirmative action, I admit it's a problematic
concept. Second, I'm not gonna say that affirmative action isn't necessary or that it's racism,
I'm pretty sure that that debate will go on in the comments. What I am gonna do is define
affirmative action, describe how the courts have dealt with it, and try to explain why
it has existed and continues to exist. [Theme Music] So let's start with the easy part and define
affirmative action. Affirmative action is a government or private program designed to
redress historic injustices against specific groups by making special efforts to provide
members of these groups with access to educational and employment opportunities. I like this
definition because it also explains why affirmative action exists – to redress historic injustices
which means discrimination. The key aspect of affirmative action is that it provides special
access to opportunities, usually in education and employment, to members of groups that have
been discriminated against. Now, where affirmative action gets controversial is when you look
at the two ideas of access and opportunity. When you poll Americans they generally favor
equality of opportunity although they usually don't like it when the government tries to
promote equality of outcomes, usually by redistributing wealth, but I'm getting ahead of myself. This
means that Americans generally think that other Americans should have an equal shot at
success even though they don't imagine that all Americans will be equally successful. Not all of us
can be Donald Trump, although not all of us want to be. Since we tend to believe in the USA that education
and jobs are the keys to success, equality of opportunity is tied up in access to these
two things, and that's why they are the focus of affirmative action efforts. Here's where
it gets tricky. In order to increase access to education and job opportunities for members
of groups that are historically discriminated against, affirmative action programs try to
ensure that they get extra special access to jobs and schools, which, to many people,
is not equality of opportunity. Legal types often will use the metaphor of a thumb on
the scale to describe the added benefits that affirmative action programs supposedly provide,
but we could also see it as a head start in a foot race, which is the metaphor I prefer for reasons I'll explain
in a bit. But first let's go to the Thought Bubble. So while affirmative action started with LBJ
ordering government agencies to pursue policies that increase the employment of minorities
in their own ranks and in soliciting contracts, the first time it made a splash at the supreme
court was over the issue of university education. Specifically, in the landmark case of Regents
of the University of California versus Bakke in 1973, the court ruled on the issue of racial
set-asides, or quotas, in admissions at the University of California Davis, Medical school.
Of the 100 slots available to incoming med students, 16 were set aside for racial minorities.
Bakke claimed that this meant that some people who were less qualified than he was, at least
he felt so, got into Davis med school and Bakke didn't. So he sued, claiming that the
quotas discriminated against him because he was white. The supreme court ruled in Bakke's
favor, saying that racial quotas were not allowed since they didn't provide equal opportunity,
but they also ruled that affirmative action programs were allowed if they served a compelling
government interest, and were narrowly tailored to meet that interest. In other words, if
they'd passed the test of strict scrutiny. One of the more interesting things about this
decision is the kind of stuff the court said constitutes a compelling government interest.
They rejected the idea that righting historical wrongs was something that the government should
undertake, probably because it opens up all kinds of historical cans of worms, especially
the question of who decides when and if a historical wrong has been redressed. What
they did say was that compelling government interest was ensuring diversity in university
admissions. This is true in general, and as long as we can imagine there being universities,
the state has an interest in seeing that their classes represent diverse viewpoints. Diversity
benefits both the members of the minority and majority groups, at least in the minds
of the court. Thanks, Thought Bubble. This is just a pretty serious video I don't know when I
was gonna get that eagle punch in so I just did it there. The early 1970's were the high tide of affirmative
action in the U.S, and ever since then the courts have looked less favorably at affirmative
action claims. Because they apply strict scrutiny, most affirmative action claims are struck
down. This was clarified in the case of Adarand Constructors Inc. versus Peña in 1995 which
dealt with racial preferences in the hiring of subcontractors on government projects.
Although this case meant that the government was not supposed to give preferential treatment
to minority-owned businesses, or those that employed a large number of minorities, a government
report from 2005 found that at least as far as the federal agencies were concerned, the
practice was still widespread. In most of the cases it hears, the court has
struck down affirmative action provisions because they fail one or another of the strict
scrutiny tests, but the basic idea that universities can create programs to build and maintain
a diverse student body has been upheld. Two relatively recent cases involving the University
of Michigan show how complicated it can be. In the 2003 case of Gratz versus Bollinger,
the court ruled that Michigan's undergraduate admissions policy, which awarded extra points
to people in racial minority groups, was unconstitutional because it was not narrowly tailored to meeting
the goal of student body diversity. In the same year, in the case of Grutter versus Bollinger,
Bollinger just keeps showing up to the supreme court because he was the President of the
University of Michigan at the time, lucky. The court ruled that the admissions policy
of Michigan's law school was narrowly tailored to meet the goal of promoting diversity although
it said that in 25 years such a program might not be necessary. So at the time we're making
this episode, the idea that universities can take race into account in their admissions
so that they can create a diverse learning environment for their students is still constitutional,
but the supreme court looks very carefully at the actual policy that the university has
in place, and if it looks anything like a quota, they'll strike it down. Turns out there
was another place to punch the eagle. Two times! Affirmative action remains controversial and
it looks like eventually it's going to disappear but maybe not right away. In 1996, Californians
passed a ballot initiative – Proposition 209 – that effectively outlawed affirmative action
in public employment, public contracting, and public education, especially university
admissions. After this initiative, also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative,
passed over vocal and organized opposition, the graduation rate among African Americans
in some California universities went up. On the other hand, the enrolment rate of African
Americans at many UC schools declined, and it only returned to 1996 levels in 2010. Other
states like Michigan had passed laws similar to California's Proposition 209 making it
harder and harder for affirmative action programs to flourish. But as is often the case in politics,
people's response to affirmative action differs depending on how you ask the question. When
phrased as an anti-discrimination measure, ballot measure like Prop 209 are quite popular,
but when people are asked if they want to get rid affirmative action their responses
are not always so positive. Support for affirmative action remains, and I suspect that this is
because many people still recognize that some form of support for minority groups is needed
in the U.S. And this brings me back to the reason why
we have affirmative action in the first place. While the courts have ruled that attempting
to correct the historical injustices of slavery and Jim Crow laws are not a compelling enough
interest to justify affirmative action, for many, they are. Minority groups, and in particular
African Americans, have suffered from horrible treatment and legal disability from the time
they began arriving as slaves in 1619. Even after the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964,
full equal opportunity was still not a reality. Opinions vary on whether affirmative action
is still necessary today, and your point of view depends a lot on your personal history
and your politics, which as we'll see in the next few episodes, are deeply intertwined.
Thanks for watching, see you next week. Crash Course Government and Politics is produced
in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support for Crash Course U.S. Government comes from
Voqal. Voqal supports non-profits that use technology and media to advance social equity.
Learn more about their mission and initiatives at voqal.org. Crash Course was made with the
help of all these nice people. Thanks for watching. .
Bureaucracy Basics: Crash Course Government and Politics #15 – Hi, I'm Craig, and this is Crash Course Government
& Politics, and today, we're gonna talk about bureaucracies, just as soon as I finish filling
out these forms.
Do I really have to initial here, here, and here on all three copies,
Stan? Regulations say so? All right. I'm just kidding. I don't really have to fill out forms
in triplicate in order to make an episode of Crash Course, but this kind of stuff is one of the
main reasons that people don't like bureaucracies. Americans tend to associate them with
incomprehensible rules and time-wasting procedures and probably most annoying – actual
bureaucrats. But bureaucracies are a lot like our extended families, in that we largely don't understand,
or at least don't appreciate, the important role that bureaucracies play in our lives, mainly because of all
the forms, and because my cousin who always ate all the cookies from the jar at Grandma's
house. [Theme Music] So what exactly IS a bureaucracy? I don't
like to do this, because I'm arrogant and lazy, but sometimes it's helpful to go to
a dictionary when you need to find out what a word means. So here's a serviceable, political
science-y definition: "A bureaucracy is a complex structure of offices, tasks, rules,
and principles of organization that are employed by all large scale institutions to coordinate
the work of their personnel." Two points to emphasize here: First, bureaucracies
are made up of experts who usually know more about the topic at hand than you do and who
are able to divide up complex tasks so that they can get done. Second, all large scale
institutions use bureaucracies, so the distinction between big business and big government is,
in at least this respect, bogus, or what I like to call a false dichotomy. Is that too
pretentious to say "false dichotomy," Stan? I don't care, I'm saying it. False dichotomy! So if people hate bureaucracies so much and
compare them unfavorably with Google and Amazon, why do we have them? Well, the main reason
is that bureaucracies are efficient. They make it easier for governments to accomplish
tasks quickly and to basically operate at all. In the US, federal bureaucrats fulfill
a number of specific important functions. One, bureaucrats implement the laws that Congress
writes. Have you ever read a law? They're pretty complicated. It's a good idea to have
experts who can interpret them and put them into action. Two, bureaucrats also make and
enforce their own rules. But this isn't as action hero-ish as it sounds. And three, they
settle disputes through a process called administrative adjudication, which makes them kind of like
courts. Now, since I know that all of you have been
paying extremely close attention to these episodes, you know that at least two of those
functions are problematic in ways that go beyond making rules that seem Byzantine or
stupid or both – Byzantupid. The big concern here is the separation of
powers, which you remember is the idea that power is divided between three branches of
government. Technically the federal bureaucracy is part of the executive branch, but it's
so big that it dwarfs the other two branches and can easily overpower them, much like I
overpower this eagle. "That's right eagle. I make my own rules,
like a bureaucracy." But an even more troubling, to some people,
aspect of bureaucracies is what they actually do. So let's go to the Thought Bubble. Bureaucracies
don't just enforce the rules; they make new ones called regulations. In doing this, they're
acting like a legislature, especially since the rules have the force of law and people
can be punished for breaking them. For example, if you say "Sh%t Sticks" on TV, the FCC can
fine you, just like the local law enforcement would if you broke a state law against speeding.
And don't say "Sh%t Sticks" to the cop. But according to the Constitution, Congress is
supposed to make the laws, so if you're a constitutional formalist, this is going to
give you fits. On the other hand, the rule making process
allows for a degree of popular participation that goes way beyond what happens in Congress.
In 2014, Congress called for the mandatory notice and comment period on new FCC rules
on the issue of net neutrality. Any person can read the proposed rules which are not
easy to understand and offer a public comment, including suggestions for new rules using
the internet. The bureaucracy is required to read the comments and they could be incorporated into
the final rules that are published in the federal register. So in a way, federal rule-making is more democratic
than congressional law-making, but it's still not in the constitution. Administrative adjudication
raises similar separation of powers issues, but they're less problematic because the constitution
gives congress the right to establish courts other than the Supreme Court and it doesn't
say that these can't be administrative tribunals that are part of bureaucratic agencies. Many low level bureaucratic positions are
filled through competitive exam-based civil service procedures which are supposed to ensure
a level of expertise and take politics out of the staffing process. But many upper level
bureaucratic leaders especially cabinet secretaries and also ambassadors are very political. For
one thing, they're appointed by politicians who may be repaying favors or trying to pack
the agencies with like-minded favorites. For another, bureaucrats engage in bargaining
and protect their own interests, the very thing that politicians do all the time. Thanks
Thought Bubble. So the first reason we keep bureaucracies
is because bureaucracies are useful. They do get things done even though it might not
be as quickly as we'd like. And some of these things are things we want done, like inspecting
our meat so we don't get E. coli or Salmonella or Mad Cow Disease. One response to this that
we'll talk about later is to get rid of public bureaucracies and contract their tasks out
to private companies. There's something to be said to this. After all, in a lot of ways
UPS does a better job of getting packages to us than the postal service does. And I
also have a lot more fun at the private bowling alley than the public one. There's no
such thing as a public bowling alley. If there is, I'm going. Might be free. But the main argument for privatization seems
to be cost. And that one might not always be true. It seems unlikely that a private
corporation would spring up to inspect meat. And although we can rely on pricing to signal
that our chicken wings are salmonella free, I don't think it's a good idea. So in addition
to being useful and filling roles that the private sector might not fill, one of the
reasons we have so many bureaucracies is because Congress keeps making them and delegating
power to them. If we didn't have bureaucracy, Congressmen
and their staff would be taking on all the oversight and enforcement of their own laws.
In addition to creating its own separation of powers problem, this might be kind of chaotic,
considering that potentially the entire House of Representatives could be replaced every
two years. One advantage of bureaucracies is a certain
amount of stability in the built-up expertise that comes with it. Probably the main reason
why we don't change bureaucracies though is that doing so is really difficult. Once Congress
makes a bureaucracy it's usually permanent for a number of practical and political reasons.
We'll get into those reasons next time. So I'm going to wrap this up with a little
bit of a reminder about Federalism, based on a largely unwarranted assertion. I bet
that if you ask most Americans to give an example of a bureaucracy they will say the
DMV. Most people will tell you a DMV horror story of the time they had to wait in line
for four hours just to renew their license and when they got to the counter a clerk told
them that they didn't have the right forms and they needed to post a money order, and
not a credit card or a check or even cash and that anyway they had to go on break and
I had to come back in fifteen minutes and all I wanted was my license– AAAAAAH the
DMV! And I sympathize with this predicament but
I feel the need to remind anyone who has had this experience at the DMV, that it's a state
bureaucracy, not the federal bureaucracy. Most of the bureaucrats you meet in your daily
life: teachers, policeman, tax assessors are officials of your state government, not the
federal government, like Bureaucrat Jimmy. Which is pretty much what the Framers intended. So it's a good idea to be thoughtful about
which government we're going to transfer our anger towards and to rage against the correct
machine. That's what federalism's all about. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next week. Crash Course: Government & Politics is produced
in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support for Crash Course: U.S. Government comes from
Voqal. Voqal supports nonprofits that use technology and media to advance social equity.
Learn more about their mission and initiatives at voqual.org. Crash Course was made with the help
of these soulless bureaucrats. Thanks for watching. .