Business Update with Mark Lacter |

What Americans don't know about the economy

Quite a bit, according to a Pew Research study. Almost 80 percent know that the federal budget is bigger than it was in the 1990s, and two-thirds realize that the U.S. brings in more foreign goods than it sells overseas. But after that things get iffy. Only 16 percent are aware that more than half of the loans made to banks under TARP have been paid back (an identical percentage says that none has been paid back). Of course if they don't know that, they can't possibly judge whether the bailout program has been effective (something you'd never figure out by the political rantings against TARP). What's really distressing (though not surprising) is the lack of economic knowledge among 18-29-year-olds. On the TARP question, 7 percent answered correctly.