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As our country continues to reel from the effects of the Great Recession, it is more important than ever to foster a more pragmatic appreciation for the role that government can and should play in shaping an economy that benefits us all. Unfortunately, Americans have a hard time understanding how the economy works, and they have a very limited sense of what government's role is or could be. But, there are openings in the public mind, especially in the wake of the recent and ongoing economic crisis. While experts may focus on statistics like the Gross Domestic Product or how the market is faring, average people tend to judge how the economy is doing by the wellbeing of those around them. Do people have jobs? Can they send their kids to college? Can they save for retirement? This is the moment to connect the dots between these basic economic expectations and the public policy and fiscal decisions that shape the answers. Research conducted for Demos has revealed a core idea that begins to connect those dots in helpful ways: our public systems and structures are the foundation of our economy and they are essential for a strong and vibrant middle class. These public systems and structures - like our schools, highways, the FDIC, and our reliable court systems - have always been critical to our economic success.Year: 2010•State: All States•Type: Policy Brief or Report•Source: Demos•Policy: Economic Equality, Regionalism, Democracy, Revenue, Finance