Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

June 17, 2013

When trust in Uncle Sam takes a beating, workers are bruised

WASHINGTON — Uncle Sam's reputation has taken a beating lately, and it's his staff that will feel the pain.

The recent spate of controversies - revelations about the massive collection of electronic data by the National Security Agency, the Internal Revenue Service's political targeting and conference scandals, and the seizure of Associated Press telephone records - undermines confidence in government.

That can't be good for those who make the government work.

The sad thing is these scandals represent only a small part of what government does. But they are high-profile items that can adversely shape public opinion. With budget cuts and furloughs, the job of federal employees is tough enough without the added burden these issues bring.

A Pew Research poll found trust in government near historic lows in January, well before these scandals broke. Almost three-fourths of those surveyed said that they can "trust the government only some of the time or never. Majorities across all partisan and demographic groups express little or no trust in government."

Gallup released a poll in late May, before the NSA revelations, indicating 54 percent of those surveyed said the federal government has too much power.

Meanwhile, confidence in the IRS has taken a big hit.

There's no way the view of government is going to improve with these developments getting all the ink and airtime.

Here's one bit of cold comfort: In a poll released Thursday, only 10 percent of those surveyed told Gallup they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in Congress. The federal workforce can't rate much lower than that.

We asked a variety of federal employees and others how these controversies affect the public's perception of the workforce and the workers' morale. Here is some of what they said:

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks