Hidden State and the Punitive Public



In this chapter the author returns to Mettler’s (The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2011) submerged state policies. Mettler’s work documents the reality that citizens often fail to recognize instances where government programs support their lives. This chapter examines the policy attitudes of individuals who benefit from three of the largest submerged state programs (home mortgage interest, retirement savings, and health insurance tax deductions) and shows how holding hypocritical attitudes toward more visible welfare policies depends on personality. In particular, the chapter demonstrates how conscientiousness leads these individuals to express a desire to reduce or eliminate more visible government programs like welfare in general and food stamps in particular, while benefiting themselves from submerged welfare policies. Interestingly, agreeableness appears to have the opposite effect.


Health Insurance Welfare State Government Program Food Stamp Welfare Policy 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political ScienceIndiana University–Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA

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