Public trusts post office, not Justice Dept. according to survey

Even as the federal government moves to implement the massive health care “reform” President Obama signed into law earlier this year, and as the Census Bureau nears completion of the 2010 census, citizens’ trust in government’s ability to safeguard the privacy of the information it collects on them, remains at a distressingly low level.  The lack of trust Americans have in the federal government is graphically illustrated in two surveys this year conducted by the non-partisan Ponemon Institute, headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan.

The Institute’s signature survey is the annual “Privacy Trust Study of the United States Government.”  This year’s study, released June 30th, surveyed more than 9,000 adults across the country, and asked their views on the trustworthiness of some 75 federal agencies.  The results should – but probably won’t – concern the administration and the heads of many well-known government offices.

As in prior years, the Postal Service continues its reign as the most trusted agency of the federal government; earning an 87% favorable rating in terms of people’s view of how well it safeguards the privacy of information and materials entrusted to it.  Reflecting the fact that the study gauges not the degree to which those surveyed like various government agencies, but rather how much they trust them to safeguard their information, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sits in the top tier of most-trusted agencies – coming in at 71%.  

For other federal agencies, including many for which the public’s trust is central to their core mission, the 2010 trust-in-government survey brings distressing news.  While the Department of Justice does not scrape the bottom of the trust barrel, it enjoys a painfully low level of trust by the very public it is supposed to be protecting.  The Department dropped nine points from its already low 2009 ranking, and now enjoys the trust of barely more than one-fifth of the American people (21%, to be precise).  Occupying the dubious honor of the least-trusted federal agency, and tumbling from 26% last year to 16% in 2010, is Customs and Border Protection.  Given the high level of attention focused this election year on immigration policies and problems, one would not expect this agency to move up the trust ladder in next year’s survey.

The agency suffering the most precipitous drop in trust is the Census Bureau; careening from 78% in 2009 to 39% this year, as it conducts its decennial census.

The National Security Agency (NSA) is trusted by a mere 20% of the public according to Ponemon.  While low, this figure is perhaps a surprisingly high percentage, given that the NSA has been much in the news recently for its increasing tendency to snoop on American citizens inside their own country.  The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA all are clustered in the same segment as NSA and the Justice Department – being trusted by less than one-fourth of the American people. 

The results of an earlier Ponemon study — “Americans’ Opinions about Healthcare Privacy,” issued at the end of January — illustrates why a majority of the American people continue to oppose Obama’s signature legislative victory – the 2,406-page health care “reform” bill.  Even as the new law calls for a vast expansion of the role to be played by the federal government in defining, delivering and paying for medical care, Americans by a nearly three-to-one majority do not trust Uncle Sam, and specifically the Department of Health and Human Services, to protect the privacy of their medical records.    

Cynics might conclude that for agencies that should be among the most trusted of entities but are not, these poor performers perhaps should be placed under the authority of the United States Postal Service.  Or, at least that President Obama should spend less time expanding the size and power of the government, and more time improving the quality and trustworthiness of it.  Americans may trust God, but not government.

48 comments Add your comment

Ragnar Danneskjöld

July 19th, 2010
7:19 am

Interesting essay. As military is not mentioned, I assume it was excluded from the survey – perhaps because it has so little interaction with Americans? FTC’s #2 rank hits me as odd, not because I mistrust the FTC, but because its role in American life would seemingly parallel the FBI – FTC is where consumers report identity theft.

nelsonhoward

July 19th, 2010
8:18 am

A Pew Research Center found that the federal government does not trust the citizen population either. Amy Ratner said they consider the U.S. people to lack foresight, are lazy and overall, incompetent. The fact that American Idol is still #1 doesn’t make the government burst with confidence in the American people either.

Out of 100 senators polled 84 said they do not trust the American populance to do the right thing, and 79 said the U.S. populance are not qualified to do their jobs.

91% sid the populance is every bit as greedy as the Senators are.

Senate Majority leader said Harry Reid [D-Nv] told reporters,” That being said, you can see why Washington might lose faith in a populance that still suspects that its President is a secret Muslim who was not born in the U.S.”

Sooooo, the question is where does that leave us, the populance does not trust the government and the elected officials does not trust the people?

Sam ( The Cool 1 )

July 19th, 2010
9:27 am

The Cisco Kid and Pancho can be trusted. They won’t let you down.

TrustlessInAmerica

July 19th, 2010
9:42 am

Bob says “Americans may trust God, but not government.” And the problem with not trusting government is what?
Bob’s conservative crowd is always crowing about not trusting government, and wear this as a badge of honor. And now it’s a problem?

John D

July 19th, 2010
10:25 am

You’re probably right about that, Trustless.

I don’t think there’s any other way to account for the Census Bureau’s “trustedness” rating halving itself in less than a year. It should be reasonably clear that it’s largely rhetoric rather than reason driving public sentiment on these issues.

…That said, it’s actually a good thing that at least a segment of the population appears to care about privacy rights.

David S

July 19th, 2010
10:30 am

Let’s keep it simple. There is no government agency that I trust to do ANYTHING. The private sector, in a competitive and free market could do EVERYTHING the government does cheaper and better.

What I can trust the government to do is use violence or the threat of it to take away my money and my liberty and to use my money to kill innocents abroad and line the pockets of their friends at home.

Will

July 19th, 2010
10:55 am

“The private sector, in a competitive and free market could do EVERYTHING the government does cheaper and better”

If your statement is true then why are we having this economy meltdown. Were not Harvard Graduates in charge of these private enterprises? I tell you it is not whether it is government or private business but character and integrity of the employee to perform at the level employed. Degrees do not guarantee performance. College education is more suspect than it ever has been. Employers and government should look for employees with a history of performance and not whether they graduated from college. I mean look at Barrack, he barely graduated from Harvard, is he doing so well?

Jeb

July 19th, 2010
11:00 am

And where did Bush go to college?

Richard

July 19th, 2010
11:08 am

Who does a survey about how much we trust the Census Brueau when they aren’t doing a census? Why wouldn’t we trust them in 2009? They didn’t do anything that year!

Sick&Tired

July 19th, 2010
11:18 am

The two people in UTAH are the perfect example of why we can’t trust government. It’s because it’s made up of the people and by the people.

It’s not government we don’t trust, it’s individuals.

Sick&Tired

July 19th, 2010
11:23 am

And if you trust the private sector so much, why does Bank of America make $2 billion plus in revenue; but choses to add an $8.95 charge for Printed Bank Statements?

Private or Public – it’s driven by GREED.

Nads

July 19th, 2010
11:55 am

What private entity will undertake the cost of road building and maintenance?

Newman

July 19th, 2010
11:59 am

Of course you should trust the postal service. You need mail! Even if I don’t deliver when it rains. Muhahahhahahaaha!

StJ

July 19th, 2010
12:22 pm

One has to look no further than the left-wing nut cases whom Obama has appointed to head most of these federal agencies…it’s no wonder there’s no trust. I wouldn’t give these people the time of day.

barking frog

July 19th, 2010
12:43 pm

The U.S. Constitution was written to restrict government by men who did not trust any
government including the one they were establishing. President Eisenhower warned us
not to trust the military industrial complex. I guess we are just doing what we are told.

Skip

July 19th, 2010
1:17 pm

When in the history of the world have people trusted the government?

No More Progressives!

July 19th, 2010
1:33 pm

David S

July 19th, 2010
10:30 am
Let’s keep it simple. There is no government agency that I trust to do ANYTHING. The private sector, in a competitive and free market could do EVERYTHING the government does cheaper and better.

Except the Military, as you point out. But it’s not the Military I don’t trust; it’s the limp wristed Civilian commanders that use our Military as an international police force and a meals-on-wheels for foreign bums and UN cronies.

No More Progressives!

July 19th, 2010
1:39 pm

Newman

July 19th, 2010
11:59 am
Of course you should trust the postal service. You need mail! Even if I don’t deliver when it rains.

I don’t need snail mail; paper junk mail needs me. I pay my bills on-line, communicate on-line, browse on-line, read the news on-line, etc. I haven’t purchased a postage stamp in well over two years. So tell me again why I need the US Postal Service?

metoo

July 19th, 2010
2:18 pm

Americans don’t trust the government they elected. Simple fix; Stop electing the same losers.

Gerald West

July 19th, 2010
2:28 pm

Right, Bob! But government is not the only untrustworthy aspect of American life; taken in perspective, it works better than most other American institutions.

Would you like a secure job with good pay and benefits? Get a government-backed job or join the armed forces! Stop fretting over lay-offs, plant closings, and economic downturns.

Would you like a secure, independent old age with a steady income and reliable medical coverage? No problem; you’ll have Social Security and Medicare. You won’t depend on charity, or become a burden on the conscience of your children.

Would you like a secure investment for your savings? Try US Treasury issues and government-insured CDs. Don’t risk your money in manipulated stock and commodity markets. Avoid the devious investment schemes of private brokerage firms, investment banks, and insurance companies; they sent $22 trillion up in smoke in 2008-9.

Would you like reliable, affordable medical coverage that is not conditional on pre-existing conditions or subject to cancellation for trumped-up reasons? Government-backed coverage is the only way to go! Eight million federal employees, retirees, and their families, love their government-sponsored medical coverage. Among the satisfied beneficiaries are the hypocrites in Congress who oppose affordable, reliable health care for their constituents.

Ten million active and retired military personnel, and their families, are ecstatic over TRICARE, their remarkably efficient government-run medical program.

Forty-five million seniors are covered by government-coordinated Medicare. We seniors have no cause to complain, though some of us do from habit. Sure, we’d like lower premiums and a guarantee of eternal life on earth, but few of us could qualify for, or afford, any other form of medical coverage.

Who would trust unregulated private enterprise, which is responsible for the financial meltdown of 2008-9, the oil spill in the Gulf, and a foreign trade deficit as big as the federal budget deficit?

Who would trust religious leaders after all the scandals involving behavior contrary to the teachings of their professed religions?

Who would trust any American politician since all are concerned with winning the next election more than with the direction of the country?

Who would trust the American voters, who year after year slavishly re-elect the politicians who have created the untrustworthy government and failed to move the country toward a secure and prosperous future?

Our country is falling behind and falling apart because so many Americans cling to ignorant, outmoded beliefs and prejudices, and neglect their own welfare and the future of their children.

Untrustworthy American government, failed American enterprises, and a faltering American economy are true reflections of the American people. To have better government, successful enterprises, and good employment opportunities we need better people!

Will

July 19th, 2010
2:42 pm

I agree that greed is a major player in this economic downfall. Please someone explain to me why would an employer pay someone millions of dollars in wages and bonuses? Why do we allow lawyers take as much as 40% in a legitimate lawsuit? Why do we pay atheletes millions of dollars before they ever play a game. Why do we not have a maximum wage? It is not American to be so rich that you can influence heads of state with a phone call when the average person can not get through. This is that 5% disagreement I have with republicans. However, the democrats are just as greedy if not more. What was the income/value of Obama and Michelle before the election compared today in a depressed economy? I also agree with some of Gerald West, the populace has disapointed America, themselves, and me.

Rockerbabe

July 19th, 2010
3:23 pm

First of all, the government of the USA is NOT going to be in the business of getting your medical records, unless there is a Medicare or Medicaide review for a specific matter that needs to be addressed. If anything, your chosen PRIVATE medical insurance company will be requesting records to see if the care you are requesting or needed payment for is a legitimate request.

The medical insurance reforms being implemented are NOT GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTHCARE. The government may set up the standards for the various programs, but this is a function that government has been doing for decades. For example,
the private insurance companies used to “run” women out of the hospital in less than 24 hours after delivery of their babies to “save”money; it didn’t seem to matter what condition the mothers or their newborns were in. It did not matter what their doctors prescribed either; out they went. If they didn’t leave, the new mothers would be stuck with the cost of the additional day(s) in the hospital plus the usual cost for the delivery, etc. About 15-20% of these women and/or the babies had to be re-admitted for care that was related in inadequate time for observtion. It was PRIVATE MEDICAL INSURES WHO MADE THESE DECISIONS, NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

In response to this bad practice, many state legislatures wrote laws to address this PRIVATE MEDICAL INSURANCE ABUSE OF WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN and now mothers and their newborns cannot be run out of the hospital in less than 48 hours; in some states 72 hours.

It is the PRIVATE MEDICAL INSURERS who deny claims, it is the private medical insurers who make up the list of which doctors and hospital or clinics are “in network” and which are “out of network”. The government doesn’t make these decisions. It is not the government that denies medical insurance coverage to individuals who have become sick, or have pre-existing conditions; it is the PRIVATE MEDICAL INSURERS. Let’s get some truth to this discussion. The government didn’t do any of these things; it may have let the private medical insurers get away with literally murder in the past, but hopefully, that will be a thing of the past.

Mr. Barr, you are speaking over your head and out of your area of expertise when it comes to the realities of private medical insurance coverage in this country. The government is not responsible for the mess we are in; the private medical insurers are. Your misdirection on this issue is disengenious and not be be trusted.

Anonymous

July 19th, 2010
3:39 pm

Rockerbabe:

And you seem surprised at this?

Anonymous

July 19th, 2010
3:41 pm

Enter your comments here

GeorgiaBoy

July 19th, 2010
3:41 pm

DOJ 21%?
Really?

DawgDad

July 19th, 2010
3:43 pm

Pretty easy to understand, and predictable. The more “in-play” an institution of government is from a political perspective the less trusted it is.

Everyone on both sides of the aisle wants their letters delivered and their tax returns held confidential. Not everyone wants secure borders, politicians clearly influence who gets and does not get “justice”, the NSA is viewed widely (rightly or wrongly) as the Administration’s personal listening device, and the Census is widely perceived to have been coopted for political advantage (evidenced by the all-too-convenient “computer system glitches”).

That the Dems are playing to the bottom feeders on this list must be a sign of their imminent demise. There’s always going to be a small core of hard-leftists, but the liberals are busy slitting their own throats in terms of general elections.

Last Word

July 19th, 2010
3:43 pm

Atta Girl, Rockerbabe!

DawgDad

July 19th, 2010
3:45 pm

Rockerbabe: My private insurance was NOT a mess until Obamacare started tinkering with the rules. Now, all bets are off and my employer (a major corporation) doesn’t even know how this will play out.

Last Word

July 19th, 2010
3:46 pm

Dang Will, is there anyone you are not disappointed in?

No More Progressives!

July 19th, 2010
3:53 pm

Gerald West

July 19th, 2010
2:28 pm

Would you like a secure investment for your savings? Try US Treasury issues and government-insured CDs. Don’t risk your money in manipulated stock and commodity markets. Avoid the devious investment schemes of private brokerage firms, investment banks, and insurance companies….

Devious?

Are you familiar with what a prospectus is?

Have you ever heard the phrase caveat emptor?

PS: Suggersting that Social Security is “secure” is laughable at best.

Dave

July 19th, 2010
3:54 pm

Will – the 2008/2009 (and ongoing) economic problems were caused by government interfering in the market, not by the market. It was government pushing banks to loan money to people who shouldn’t have received those loans that caused this problem, through the Community Reinvestment Act and through the implicit guarantee of Fannie and Freddie finances.

Banks turned those bad loans into derivatives (spelling?) to make them palatable as investments. But the bad loans wouldn’t have existed in the first place if not for government involvement in the housing market. Home loans were, for decades, one of the safest, most stable and reliable investments for banks until the government started sticking its arrogant political fingers into the pot to try to change reality (the reality that some people were not in a financial position to reliably pay a mortgage and thus should not receive one).

Wall St. financial firms may have been complicit in government’s corrupt do-gooder interference in the housing market, but it didn’t make the rules and didn’t have the power to force banks to make bad loans. Government did.

No More Progressives!

July 19th, 2010
4:06 pm

Rockerbabe

July 19th, 2010
3:23 pm

Just curious; what medical school did you go to?

Also, since it seems to be such a contentious issue with you, how many children have you had (assuming, of course, that your are a female)?

Rockerbabe

July 19th, 2010
6:09 pm

Anonymous: No it doesn’t surprise me; but of late, Mr. Barr seems to have mellowed in his strident GOP stance on a number of issues. I guess being out of the political rat race has turned him into a more human being! He actually has written some articles where I felt a bit of compassion was expressed!

No More Progressives! A just what does my state of reproduction have to do with stating the realities of the private medical insurance field? One does not have to go to medical school to know about the insurance field and its practices. Most doctors hire specialist to deal with medical insurers and it does cost a lot of money to navigate this maze. I have made “peace” with my private medical insurer, but Mr. Barr seems to think all of the upcoming “changes” are new changes; they are not. These practices have been with a lot of us for a long time and to see these abuses blamed on the President and the Dems in Congress is a big fat lie.

Your moniker is curious; and just what do you think you are going to do with us Progressives? Deny us the right to vote and other civil rights? Take away our privately owned property? Tax us more than the rich (oh, that’s already happening!). I guess I just have to go an buy a gun to keep the likes of you away.

No More Progressives!

July 19th, 2010
6:25 pm

Rockerbabe

July 19th, 2010
6:09 pm
Your moniker is curious; and just what do you think you are going to do with us Progressives? Deny us the right to vote and other civil rights?

No, denying rights and freedoms is the job of progressives, by definition. My job is to expose you for the frauds you are.

Contrary to your belief, progressives are not the smartest people in the room, they do not have a pre-destined “right” to micromanage the rest of us, and you, too, must live by the same laws and rules that we mere mortals must live by. In other words, you are not as elite as you think you are.

Unless you’re Barney Fwank, King Barry the Magnanimous, or Queen Nancy the Perfect.

No More Progressives!

July 19th, 2010
6:27 pm

…………and you do not need to purchase a weapon for the likes of me (as if you could use one). I wouldn’t get any closer to you than I am right at this moment.

GrandSlam

July 19th, 2010
6:28 pm

Gerald West at 2:28pm. Excellent. You hit a grand slam.

belialsbane

July 19th, 2010
7:35 pm

No More Progressives

Newmans response is a Seinfeld joke you right-wing nutcase.

No More Progressives!

July 19th, 2010
7:48 pm

belialsbane

July 19th, 2010
7:35 pm
No More Progressives

Newmans response is a Seinfeld joke you right-wing nutcase.

Thank you, what ever you are. We all now know that your daily allotment of synapses has been used.

Have a good evening.

belialsbane

July 19th, 2010
8:07 pm

No More Progressives

Whish!! Right over your head.

Hank Williams Jr.

July 19th, 2010
9:12 pm

Yall voted in Oblama, enjoy your pick..

He will take over the damn post office like he’s taking over EVERYTHING else.

WAKE THE HELL UP !!!

Tech man

July 19th, 2010
10:20 pm

Rockerbabe,
Government medical insurance denys millions of dollars of claims per year.

Tech man

July 19th, 2010
10:23 pm

Rockerbabe,
Those Doctors that hire insurance specialists spend a great deal of time trying to process medicare, medicaid and other government insurance programs.

Tech man

July 19th, 2010
10:35 pm

Rockerbabe,

Your quote, ” The government is not responsible for the mess we are in…”
Wrong. Ask your doctor/hospital friends what % of R&C Medicare pays. Ask them how they have to bill private insurance clients more to make up for the loss they take on medicare and free care.

Tech man

July 19th, 2010
10:39 pm

Back on point. Yes, I use all delivery carriers and the post office is still a great value.

I think Ebay would die without the post office..:)

Rockerbabe

July 20th, 2010
12:20 pm

No More Progressives! Touchy, touchy, touchy. Commenting on my comments that I didn’t express. I never said anything about anyone’s intellect, fraud and certainly didn’t call you any names. But then again, I have found that name calling comes about when there is nothing left to be said.

Tech man: You are right! It is called fraud and avoidance of waste and abuse. You would or maybe wouldn’t be surprised at the shear amount of double billing that goes on, billing that occurs for services and supplies that were never render or ordered and for medications never ordered, used or sent. Have you not seen all of the investigative TV pieces on the questionable billing practices of some pharmacist and doctors?

Private insurance companies do the very same surveillance that Medicare and Medicaid engage in as a way to avoid and detect fraud committed by patients, doctors, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies, etc. And still, there is lots of claims that both private and governmental entities pay out to those clever enough to figure out how to bypass or rig the system. You should be outraged at those who would cheat and steal from medical insurance provides, not at those who do the surveillence on behalf of the insurers and their clients (namely me and you).

Medical insurance specialist deal with all sorts of insurance, both private and governmental. Most citizens and non-citizens in this country have private insurance, so the bulk of the insurance issues are with private carriers, who by the way are for-profit entities and have a great need to control cost, especially if they are publically held companies. Doctors and hospital do not charge more. What they charge is a publically listed set of charges that all physicians and care providers have to list; just like a grocery store has to tell customers the price of goods before they buy them. Most heathcare providers negiotate discounts with private medical insurers. So when that client comes for care, they get billed a specific amount according the to contract. The discounts provided have everything to do with who is you medical insurer; the bigger the company in terms of employees, often the better the negiotated discount will be. That is why we have “in network” and “out of network” rates. In network gets a bigger discount from providers than those who use out of network benefits. The government calls the discounts, “assignment” meaning that the healthcare provider agrees to discount the government is demanding. No agreement to accept assignment, no participation in the program.

Before getting upset with insurance carriers, either public or private, maybe you should investigate the actual workings of the entity before decrying their practices.

rich woodbury

July 20th, 2010
2:03 pm

I have a story to tell on the article published on july14,2010 Atlanta notches a renewable-energy coup. On Hydrophi Tec,I’m one of the brains in Maine.

National Whistleblower Allen Carlton

July 20th, 2010
2:31 pm

The United States Postal Service is one of the largest criminal organizations in the World. Controlling just about everything. Including election mail in ballots and surveys. Intelligence and evidence can be found in undisclosed United States Supreme Court case 99-565 & supplement (American (Klan Destine) Holocaust).

"Information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment" - BHO, May 1, 2010

July 20th, 2010
5:56 pm

Bob — Your picture makes you look like Glenn Beck.

Sorry dude…….