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Service Industries, Government

Federal revenues, president Lyndon, Social Security payments, government expenditures, president Franklin

Federal, state, and local governments provide a sizeable portion of services delivered in the nation. In 1996, government workers made up 4 percent of all workers and together produced 12 percent of GDP. Government services include items as such Social Security benefits, national defense, education, public welfare programs, law enforcement, and the maintenance of transportation systems, libraries, hospitals, and public parks.

The government sector in the U.S. economy has increased dramatically in size during the 20th century. Federal revenues grew from less than 5 percent of total GDP in the early 1930s to more than 20 percent by the late 1990s. Much of this growth took place during two time periods. In the 1930s, following the economic downturn of the Great Depression, U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted sweeping social programs designed to provide basic financial security to individuals and families. Many of these programs, such as unemployment insurance and Social Security payments to retirees, have remained in place since then. During the 1960s, U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson instituted a series of programs designed to fight poverty, promote education, and provide basic medical coverage for less-affluent Americans. In addition, during the last half of the 20th century, government expenditures increased for medical care and national defense as a result of technological advances. The cost of transportation construction also rose as the growing population demanded more and better highway systems.

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