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What is the "Deep State"?

Updated: Mar 25

No mainstream political term brings out more controversy and debate than "deep state." Many believe the nation’s issues can be traced back to the deep state, an army of bureaucrats acting in opposition to the best interests of America. Others see it as a far-right dog-whistle. The general idea of a deep state, however, can be traced at least back to the 1970s with Reagan. 

In the Reagan era, the deep state was known as "Big Government," characterized by an administrative state that overregulated and overtaxed the population on behalf of progressive causes, like combating global warming and the welfare state. For some, opposition to such Big Government has evolved into hatred for a purportedly secretive, malicious bureaucracy bent on furthering progressivism through unpublicized government overreach.  

Of course, more moderate opposition to Big Government exists. Many agree that we have a bloated state. These small government activists wonder why we have so many agencies and task forces, often aimed at addressing a series of overlapping issues that could be tackled by far fewer programs. 

Since 1965, federal government spending has skyrocketed. The amount of federal employees has tanked since 1950, but the number of federal programs has increased. Though a daunting task for any statesman, perhaps consolidating the federal bureaucracy is imperative. 


“Civilian Federal Employment at Historically Low Level.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 12 Jan. 2017, Accessed 9 June 2023.

Crews, Clyde W. “How Many Federal Agencies Exist? We Can't Drain The Swamp Until We Know.” Forbes, Accessed 9 June 2023.

“Government spending in the US increases every year - but why?” Higher Rock Education, 28 July 2017, Accessed 9 June 2023.


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