nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Indie for the Holidays egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Get Ready for the Winter Gifts Under $50 Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer bf15 bf15 bf15 $30 Off Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Black Friday Deals Outdoors Gift Guide on DOTD Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more
The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Un... and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $4.65 (31%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
The Submerged State: How ... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: PLEASE READ FULL DESCRIPTION -ACCEPTABLE- This is a WELL WORN COPY!!! Please understand that this book has been heavily read. The internal pages may contain writing/slight water damage/highlighting/underlining or any combination of these. We guarantee that all pages are intact and legible. We guarantee the binding to be intact.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy (Chicago Studies in American Politics) Paperback – October 1, 2011

8 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$6.42 $6.42

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy (Chicago Studies in American Politics)
  • +
  • How Democratic is the American Constitution? Second Edition
Total price: $24.18
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more

Editorial Reviews


The Submerged State is a vitally important analysis for anyone who has bemoaned the inertia and inequities of modern US politics.”
(Times Higher Education)

“[I]nformative [and] engaging. . . . This is an important, well-reasoned, welcome volume. Highly recommended.”

(D. R. Imig Choice)

“Mettler demonstrates convincingly that the submerged state perpetuates economic inequality as well as confusion, ignorance, and apathy. The average citizen would benefit greatly if, as far as possible, Mettler’s prescriptions for the reduction of the submerged state were to be effected.”
(Ursula Hackett Oxonian Review)

“Important and provocative.”
(Jeffery A. Jenkins, University of Virginia Congress & the Presidency)

“Why do Americans find government so baffling and irritating—even though many of us depend on public programs for a secure retirement, an affordable mortgage, or a college loan? In this timely and important book, political scientist Suzanne Mettler explains how the United States has come to rely on hidden, indirect policies that privilege special interests but puzzle regular citizens. American democracy can do better, and she shows how. Politicians and the public alike have much to learn from her brilliant and engaging analysis.”
(Theda Skocpol, Harvard University)

“Americans want government policies to be transparent, straightforward, and fair, but many social programs are confusing and opaque and shower benefits disproportionately on the well-to-do. In this timely, penetrating, and highly readable book, Suzanne Mettler illuminates the hidden government benefits and subsidies that comprise our ‘submerged state’ and demonstrates how its murky operation impairs democratic practice and weakens civic engagement.”

(Eric M. Patashnik, University of Virginia)

About the Author

Suzanne Mettler is the Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions at Cornell University. Her most recent book is Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation.


Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Chicago Studies in American Politics
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226521656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226521657
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. JACKSON on November 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Review for "The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine Democracy,
Suzanne Mettler

I came across this wonderfully written book by Suzanne Mettler while browsing the internet for a list of all the major government social policies. Only days earlier, I had been down to the local board of elections to vote for the next President of the United States and other government officials. While standing in line, along with candidate information, I was handed a pamphlet about Frederick Douglas Republicans. I was not aware then, as I am now, that that little pamphlet would lead me to the work of Mettler. In the minds of many American citizens, Republicans represent the party of less government spending and involvement in the private lives of its citizens. While Democrats are generally thought of as the party favoring government involvement mainly through social welfare entitlement programs...more spending. However, Suzanne Mettler's book elucidates the fact that the U.S. government is also, primarily, the invisible supporter of social programs that are incentivized and delivered through private individuals and organizations. Uncle Sam majorally provides funding for thousands of activities that are actually social programs. To many citizens, these programs float beneath their perception regarding the involvement of government, because they are only made visible through banks, businesses, contractors and other entities that directly interface with the public. Because of this, Mettler states that it is beyond time for evidence-based policy making that restores the connection between government and its citizens. This connection she says, will give citizens the capacity to be more deeply involved in the political process and to have their voices actually heard.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By George Bush HALL OF FAME on May 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
President Obama came into office with a social welfare policy agenda aimed at reconstituting a conglomeration ('submerged state') of existing federal policies that incentivize and subsidize activities engaged in by private actors and individuals. Efforts to restructure the political economy via taxation, higher education policy, and health care, he entered an area presenting immense obstacles to reform. For much of the public, delivery within those areas has failed to meet the high expectations surrounding him when he took office.

As of 2008, social (non-business) tax expenditures accounted for 7.4% of GDP, the largest emanating from the non-taxable nature of health insurance benefits provided by employers, followed by the home mortgage interest deduction, and then tax-free employer-provided retirement benefits. (Tax expenditures for business, such as those for the oil and gas industry, make up another 1%.) These should be added to the 17.1% of GDP spent on government welfare programs (1995). In addition, the Higher Education Act of 1965 gave incentives to banks to lend to students at low interest rates; this was followed by 'Sallie Mae' to provide a secondary market for such. Then we have the Earned Income Tax Credit

Obama's first problem came from intense polarization, combined with unequal representation in the Senate from conservative, relatively low-population states, and the ability to impede the majority through filibuster via only 41 votes - an obvious target for lobbyists (about $17 billion spent 1998-2009 by the top five sectors). Few organizations, however, represent the general public on social welfare issues, especially those within the submerged state.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Burnam-fink on August 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It doesn't take a pundit to know that American politics are screwed up beyond measure. Congress is stuck in gridlock, the economy is stalled, elections are decided by culture war attack ads, and politics itself is derided as a pursuit for lying hustlers. Everybody has a a scapegoat, but Mettler actually has some evidence backing her theory.

The key issue is not the government we see, but the government we don't, the vast tangle of tax breaks, public-private partnerships, and incentives that Mettler deems 'the submerged state'. The size of the submerged state is astounding, 8% of the GDP, or half the the size of the visible state (Medicare, social security, Medicaid, the military, servicing the debt, and the relatively minuscule discretionary funding that covers everything else the government does, from transportation to education to NASA and foreign aid).

Mettler deploys economic and social statistics to show that for all it's expense, the submerged state is a failure on nearly every level. Whatever your politics, there is something to dislike about the submerged state. It represents a transfer of wealth from the poor to the wealthy, when most Americans abstractly support reducing inequality. It is a distortionary government influence on the workings of the free market, without even the relativity clarity of direct purchases or regulations. It often fails to accomplished stated policy goals of improving access to education, healthcare, or housing. It leads to civic disengagement, as those who benefit fail to see how the government has helped them, or how they can meaningfully impact politics through voting. And above all, it is corrupt, as it replaces broad public participation with the lobbying of narrowly constituted wealthy interests groups.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy (Chicago Studies in American Politics)
This item: The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy (Chicago Studies in American Politics)
Price: $10.35
Ships from and sold by