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It's Official: The Fed Gets No Respect

How poorly do Americans think of the Federal Reserve? According to Gallup, the U.S. central bank ranked last among nine government agencies in a poll that rated their efficacy. Only 30 percent of respondents rated the Fed's recent performance as "excellent" or "good," down from 53 percent in 2003. In terms of popular esteem, the report card puts the Fed behind -- wait for it-- the IRS.

Less love than the tax man? Smack! Gallup notes that it's unclear if these negative perceptions of the Fed stem from its actual performance and its possible role in the U.S. financial crisis, or whether such sentiments reflect more general anxiety about the U.S. economy. Not that the two are mutually exclusive. Either way, Fed chief Ben Bernanke can forget about being Prom King this year.

Image courtesy of Gallup Inc.