The Government-Citizen Disconnect

By Suzanne Mettler,

Book cover of The Government-Citizen Disconnect

Book description

Americans’ relationship to the federal government is paradoxical. Polls show that public opinion regarding the government has plummeted to all-time lows, with only one in five saying they trust the government or believe that it operates in their interest. Yet, at the same time, more Americans than ever benefit from…

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1 author picked The Government-Citizen Disconnect as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I love The Government-Citizen Disconnect because it examines the relationship between social policy and politics. 

Mettler demonstrates that over 90% of Americans receive financial benefits from the government, but most of these are submerged in the tax code (like the home mortgage interest deduction). People who only receive submerged benefits believe that the government does little to improve their personal lives. In contrast, the more antipathy they feel toward people who receive visible government benefits (like food stamps), the more they also express cynical, negative attitudes toward government in general.

Since White Americans are more likely to receive submerged benefits…

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