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Survey Finds Americans Are Highly Dissatisfied With The Federal Government

While the American public’s dissatisfaction with U.S. politics is well-known, a new survey shows that they are also as unhappy as ever with the efficiency of government itself.

A Jan. 26 survey released by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) revealed that overall citizen satisfaction with the services provided by the U.S. government has reached a depressingly low 63.9 out of 100 score.

This is the lowest rating the federal government has received ever since the ACSI began surveying citizen satisfaction in 1999, according to The Washington Post.

The rating for federal government services has been precipitously dropping since 2012, when it had been on the upswing with a 68.4 score. The new low rating comes from 2015, a 0.8% decline from 2014.

Looking at the federal department’s individual scores, the Department of the Interior (which largely tends to national parks) fares best with a 75 while the Department of the Treasury is at the bottom with a terrible 55.

The Treasury’s unpopularity is no mystery — the department runs the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“If you think about the most contacted government agency, it’ll be the IRS,” said ACSI director of research Forrest Morgeson, according to CBS News. “If you think about what the IRS does, which is take money from citizens, you’ll have low satisfaction.”

Other departments that fared poorly were Veterans Affairs — which had its reputation suffer a terrible blow after the Veterans Health Administration scandal in Arizona, 2014 — scoring 60 and the Department of Justice — after a year filled with protests over the law’s treatment of African Americans — scoring 59.

These low numbers not only reflect anger among U.S. citizens but also hamper the federal government from fulfilling its obligations.

“It’s much more difficult to govern if the entire population dislikes you,” Morgeson concluded.

The IRS’ unpopularity is predicted to only continue as the service has had to cut down on thousands of employees due to shrinking government funding, The Washington Post reports.

The good news is that satisfaction seemed to be improving in the third quarter of 2015, the ACSI concluding that if the pattern continues then 2016 will be the first year that citizen satisfaction with the federal government improves.

Sources:, CBS News, The Washington Post / Photo Credit: Ray Tsang / Flickr

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