The idea of public policy is by its very nature a politically contentious one. Among the differences between American liberals and conservatives are the policy preferences prevalent in each group. Modern liberals tend to feel very comfortable with the idea of the government shepherding progressive social and economic reforms, believing that these will lead to outcomes more equitable and fair for all members of society. Conservatives, on the other hand, often find government involvement onerous and overreaching. They feel society would function more efficiently if oversight of most “public” matters were returned to the private sphere. Before digging too deeply into a discussion of the nature of public policy in the United States, let us look first at why so many aspects of society come under the umbrella of public policy to begin with.