What the meltdown means to me, an 11-year-old


Mortgage backed derivatives. Credit default swaps. LIBOR. Leverage. The credit crisis now unfolding in sickening shades of desperation is complex, and difficult for even adults to understand (politicians in particular, apparently). But what do kids think? I asked my 11-year-old daughter Anna what she thought of the current situation.

Do you understand what's going on in the financial markets today?
No, but it sounds really scary. Ms. Harper, my teacher, says the banks crashed or something. And the prices of houses got too high and now nobody's buying anything.

Does it worry you?
Mom says we're going to be hurt down the road, so I'm kind of scared.

I'm scared what the effect is. I'm scared Mom might lose her job. And I'm scared because America is getting really bad. It's in debt and we're in a war. It's like the world is getting really bad.

What's the worst that could happen to you?
We wouldn't really have enough money for stuff. Food, stuff, clothes, and we'd have to get all our money from Daddy, and then he'd lose his job. And then we'd live on the streets or something. And I'm not just saying that to sound immature.

What do you think they should do about it?
Not spend so much money on this war in Iraq. Spend more money on hospitals and stuff. Maybe lower the prices of houses. And food. Mom's all like, "$4.50 for a bag of chips!?"

Do you think all of this will affect you when you're a grown up?
If it passes, I'll just say to my kids, when I was young, there was like another Great Depression, but then we got over it. But it colleges are too expensive then I'll have to go to a cheaper college or do something else. I'd learn a trade.