One of more familiar joke lines of dark comedy is: “We’re from the government and we’re here to help you.” Sure you are.

It should therefore come as no surprise that a University of Michigan study of 230,000 citizens found they were more satisfied in their dealings with private companies’ websites than in trying to get information or action from the websites of government agencies. The web is helping, however. When looking for information or assistance from the government, the vast majority of respondents in the study said they got better results by going to an agency’s web site than calling directly. (Of course. Have you ever tried to call anyone at a government agency?)

The highest satisfaction was with the government’s site for information about Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. Go to SocialSecurity.gov and click on “Medicare.”

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