Many Americans have little or no understanding of how the U.S. economy works. This is not surprising, since our government schools (not "public" schools) rarely teach anything of the sort, and the material they do offer is geared toward big-government, Keynesian/authoritarian schools of thought. Little or no effort is devoted to teaching the principles of economic freedom that made the USA the world's most successful economy -- not just in its own era, but in the world's history.
I have been asked to offer some suggestions as to how a person with little background in either political thought or economics can educate themselves. It's actually not difficult, and I can offer two sources in particular that will enlighten the seeker in both areas.
The first is Thomas Sowell. An economist of long standing, he has written more books on the free market than anyone else this blogger is aware of. A good starting place would be his articles at www.jewishworldreview.com. After that, one could go to his classic book "Basic Economics", or his current one, "Dismantling America".
The second is Walter Williams. Another economist, he speaks and writes frequently on free-market issues. His columns can be found at www.creators.com/opinion/walter-williams.html. For books, try "Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism".
These men are literally founts of wisdom. Warning: exposure to their writings will change your view of the world.