The government plays an important role in the economy, as is the case in all countries. From the founding of the Republic, the United States federal government has strongly supported the development of transportation. It financed the first major canal system and later subsidized the railroads and the airlines. It has developed river valleys and built dams and power stations. It has extended electricity and scientific advice to farmers and assures them a minimum price for their basic crops. It checks the purity of food and drugs, insures bank deposits and guarantees loans.
America’s individual 50 states have been most active in building roads and in the field of education. Each year the states spend some $33,31 million on schools and provide a free public education for 29.1 million primary-school pupils and 11.4 million youth in secondary schools. (In addition, 8.3. a million youths attend private primary and secondary schools.) Approximately 60 percent of the students who graduate from secondary schools attend colleges and universities, 77,2 percent of which are supported by public funds. The United States leads the world in the percentage of the population that receives a higher education. Total enrollment in schools o higher learning is 13.4 million. (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2003)
Despite the fact the United States government supports many segments of the nation’s economy, economists estimate that the public sector accounts for only one-fifth of American economic activity, with the remainder in private hands.