Inflayshun: What It Is And What To Do About It

''Inflayshun,'' wrote nine-year-old Andrea, ''is when all the stuff you want costs way more than you got.''

Has any economist said it better?

Asked what inflation, recession, and depression mean, the youngsters had interesting answers.

Carrie thought: ''Inflation is when prices are so high people take a recess from shopping and that's recession, and then the store owners feel depresst and that's depression.''

Jeremy expressed the current economic problems in personal terms.

''My dad says are nation is in hard times and everyone has to suffer some and how I am suffering is I can't get a vidyo game.''

Not only are many children aware of economic problems, they have interesting suggestions for saving money and balancing family budgets.

Mark's approach is, well, relative:

''If I wore my worst clothes to my grandma's she'd say to my mom, Oh, my word Janet, this boy needs pants! Let's go to the Mall and I'll buy him some.''

John apparently believes the adage, ''It's an ill wind that blows no good.'' He sees opportunity for travel in his plan for economic recovery.

''To save money, my parents could sell our house and live in an apartment. They would save groceries if I spent the summer at the shore with my grandparents. In winter I could visit my aunt in Vermont. She lives by a ski airea. For spring I'd visit my uncle in Colorado and we would fish for trout.''

Susan takes a David Stockman approach - cutting costs, eliminating what she regards as nonessential.

''My mother could quit going to the beauty shop. She could wash her own hair. She could bake bread instead of buy it. My dad could give up golf and work more. My sister could go to less movies. And we could not have so many vegetables.''

Jenny thinks her brother should sacrifice in the interests of fiscal responsibility.

''Jason could give away his dog which has terrible breath, fleas, and smells awful when it rains. We could save a forchun on dog food. And our house would smell better also.''

Matt would involve the commercial sector. He advises turning to the business community.

''I'd eat dessert at the savings and loan banks because most of them have cookies and the one on First street has hot chocolate and cookies.''

Ted and Melissa think that society offers temporary respite from high food prices. But their approaches are not the same.

''You should accept all invitations,'' Melissa suggests, ''like to weddings and chrisnings and barn mitzvahs and anniversorrys. And I would take Baggies and bring food home for snacks later.''

Ted is a doer. He wouldn't wait to be invited. He advocates a subtle approach to generate invitations.

''A good way you could save on food is if you drop by your friends house before dinner. Then you mention to his mother how good it smells. She'll say what is cooking. Then you say it is your favorite. Next thing you know you're invited.''

Rich thought of finding work - briefly.

''I could get a paper route if I was old enough but I'm not. I'd need a bike which I don't have. Also, I got baseball practice on Monday and Thursday so I couldn't deliver on those days. Or on the Saturdays when we go camping. So probly some crabby people would complane.''

Eric, like Thoreau, advocates the simple life. Well, fairly simple.

''I'd plant a garden and live in the woods sort of primitiv. I'd shoot peasants whenever I could and put them in the freezer for days when there wasn't many peasants to shoot.''

He expressed one practical concern, however: ''I have never aten any peasants but I hope I like them.''

I hope someone warns the peasants.

Derek isn't much interested in the economy, but he did offer a suggestion:

''I don't know what recesshun is but if its about recess we sure could use more of it.''

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.