The United States of America is a sovereign nation with thirty-nine states, three territories, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska, and Oregon. Its capital is Washington D.C., where its Constitution is written. It has a complex and extensive system of federal programs and laws designed to secure the citizen’s constitutional right to life, freedom, property, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Although the government runs the economy, it relies on a strong foundation of private property ownership and free-market capitalism to support its growth.

The U.S. taxes its citizens on a federal income tax, which is paid by the individual through his or her federal income tax return. In addition, the federal government taxes its residents on state and local sales taxes, which are subtracted from their federal income tax return. The federal government also pays for its citizens’ Social Security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, Federal Disability Insurance (FDI) and some farm programs, including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Children, Infants, Disabled Children (WIC), the Food Stamp Program (also known as Food Stamps), the School Lunch and Child Nutrition Programs, and other educational assistance programs. In addition, some non-profits such as the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency also receive grants. In addition, the federal government also provides funding for many local and regional governments, including transportation, water, sanitation, electricity, health care, parks, historic places and museums, state and local police and fire departments.

The United States of America is home to many ethnic groups and nationalities, including people from several countries who were brought to America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Because of this, the country is sometimes referred to as a melting pot. People from the Caribbean islands, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, South America, Native American tribes and individuals from other countries also immigrated to the United States in recent years. All have contributed to the economic prosperity of the country. Because the country is so diverse in race, ethnicity, culture, political views, religion, and background, the country has many different social and cultural institutions and organizations that help enrich its citizens’ lives and promote community relations, such as fraternal and civic societies, religious, cultural, educational, environmental, governmental, and other charitable.

By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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