That's according to a news IQ poll released today by Pew. The researchers conducted something similar to (though more scientific than) a Jaywalking segment on Leno, asking citizens basic questions about economic-crisis-related news. And the public did alright: 83 percent knew that the government's financial bailouts are intended to get banks to lend more (as opposed to less) money; 71 percent knew that China holds the most U.S. debt of any foreign country; and 51 percent knew that Ford is the U.S. automaker not receiving government bailout money or loans.
Granted, those are pretty basic questions. Perhaps we shouldn't pat the American public on the back too eagerly for this.
Another interesting tidbit: for all the fuss over Timothy Geithner, his bank plans, and whether he's the man for the job, over fewer than six in 10 Americans know he's our Treasury secretary. See a chart of questions and the public's performance after the jump.