While the phrase “consumer economics” normally rouses thoughts of households and household budgets, one must not forget that many consumer goods and services are provided by government. This includes such items as roads and bridges; police, fire, and defense protection; and medical care, housing, and food. Each year the federal, state, and local levels of government spend thousands of billions of dollars on such items for the benefit of consumer-citizens. Meanwhile, consumer-citizens are charged

with the responsibility of oversight, making sure that public programs meet important needs at reasonable cost.