“I wonder how many people here saw or heard about a couple of recent opinion polls - one conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post, and the other by CNN/Opinion Research?” asked OSHA deputy Jordan Barab at a speech last month in New Jersey.

”The ABC poll found that two-thirds of Americans are ‘dissatisfied’ or even ‘angry’ about the way the federal government is working - or, more precisely, appears NOT to be working. On average, people feel that 53 cents out of every tax dollar they send to Washington is ‘wasted.’

”The CNN poll found that only 26 percent of the public trusts the federal government ‘most of the time’ or ‘always.’

”Let's think about this: When most people say they are losing faith in ‘government,’ they're probably speaking about the most visible branch of government - the legislative branch... Congress - and the political gridlock that is preventing much of anything from getting done.

”Taxpayers are naturally and justifiably frustrated when they don't feel they're getting any government action for their tax dollars, especially in health care reform.

”However, in the executive branch of government, agencies under this administration are actually giving taxpayers a very good bang for their buck.

  • ”Agencies are beefing up efforts to provide a cleaner environment, new jobs, and safer and more modern transportation.
  • ”The President's Open Government initiative has directed agencies to make their functions more transparent and responsive to taxpayers.
  • ”Under new leadership, the Department of Labor has been successful over the last year in advancing protections for workers' rights to fair wages, whistleblowers, and workplace safety.


  • ”We've reinvigorated our standards and rulemaking efforts with an aggressive regulatory agenda - and who but the federal government can set national health and safety standards that will prevent states from issuing weaker regulations that put workers at risk with a race to the bottom?
  • ”We've stepped up enforcement with higher fines and a laser focus on employers who are ignoring the law and not protecting workers - and who but the federal government can issue an $87 million penalty and send a message across the country that we're sick and tired of workers dying and employers not providing safe workplaces?
  • ”We've targeted major workplace safety concerns, such as the high rates Hispanic construction worker injuries and deaths - and who but the federal government can send a message to employers nationwide that putting Hispanic workers in dangerous jobs without proper training and equipment will not be tolerated?!

“In every one of these activities, we're striving for common sense solutions that make government efficient and effective, and in every one of these activities, government is working to protect workers and to defend their right to come home to see their families after a day's work.

Even with limited budgets in a tough economy, government agencies are finding ways to deliver more on the promises that taxpayers are expecting their government to keep. This is a message that only you can send.”