World Country United States of America

About the world country United States of America, its location, size, population, and who is in power.



Location: Central tier of North America, plus Alaska (northwestern North America and associated Pacific Islands) and Hawaii (mid-Pacific Polynesian islands). Size: 3,615,105 sq. mi. (9,363,123 sq. km.). Population: 225,195,000.

Who Really Rules: The U.S. government consists of the federal government, divided into three semi-independent branches (executive, legislative, and judicial), 50 state governments with a similar structure, and numerous local agencies, counties, and cities. Each unit has different functions, but the federal executive branch, headed by president Ronald Reagan, is the center of power, with effective control over the massive federal budget and over the U.S. armed forces.

Although the U.S. has a two-party electoral system with active campaigns, political and economic power is concentrated in a ruling elite of white, predominantly Protestant men. Based in financial centers such as New York City, this elite directly controls most U.S.-based multinational corporations, major media, influential "charitable" foundations, major private universities, and most public utilities. Although much of the elite's wealth is inherited, "membership" is open to capable or newly rich outsiders.

The elite exerts only indirect control over the political system, through campaign contributions, lobbying, and policy-formation study associations, in which it prepares political leaders for higher office. Both the Republican party and the Democratic party draw upon elite members for appointed positions, but rarely is one elected.

The U.S. government regulates and subsidizes the country's capitalist economy and carries out a foreign policy that supports the interests of U.S.-based corporations. The U.S. ruling class has historically been forced to share part of its power in exchange for social stability and economic productivity. Consequently, other groups, such as organized labor, ethnic minorities, small business and professional organizations, and single-issue lobbies, also influence policy.

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