If Uncle Sam were in school, he’d flunk government.

His report card, in the form of a Pew Research Center survey, found “Americans’ overall views of the federal government are very negative.”

With just one-fifth of those surveyed saying they trust government at least most of the time and think government programs are well run, Sam is failing. Two words in the survey’s title are disturbing: “Beyond Distrust.”

Fortunately, there is some good news about Sam’s performance.

A majority have favorable views of 13 of 17 federal agencies listed, with the U.S. Postal Service at the top. Eighty-four percent view it favorably. The National Park Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NASA all have favorability ratings of 70 percent or more.

At the other end resides the much-maligned Department of Veterans Affairs, long the focus of a patient wait list scandal. The VA is viewed unfavorably by 52 percent and favorably by 39 percent. The Internal Revenue Service, which provides terrible service because it is underfunded, is next to last with a 52/42 unfavorable/favorable rating.

Keeping the country safe from terrorism draws near unanimous agreement among Republicans and Democrats for the government playing a major role. But a little more than a third of Republicans say that about ensuring access to health care and fighting poverty.

Strong majorities of Democrats want the government heavily involved in those areas. Only about half the respondents from either party favor a big government role in space exploration.

Labor leaders attributed some of the low IRS and VA ratings to stingy financing.