Recession Kids Get A Voice In Town Hall

On The Early Show Thursday, experts answered questions from children about the recession's impact on their lives.
The recession has left many people with questions about these difficult times, and children aren't the exception.

And on The Early Show Thursday, 20 children got a chance to get answers from experts in a town hall meeting, as part of our network-wide series, "CBS Reports: Children of the Recession."

Seventeen-year-old Max Kramer asked Early Show financial contributor Ray Martin what signs indicate the economy is turning around.

"You need to see confidence improving," Martin said. "People need to feel confident that we're nearing a bottom, and things will go up. So 'confidence index' is what you hear on the news. You'll know when your parents talk about it. You'll know when you talk about this in school -- (about) banking and financial sector, housing and unemployment. And unfortunately, it's going to take awhile."

Another audience member asked sociologist Kimberly Agresta if the children of the recession will be more resourceful as adults.

"Young adults of today have not had to deal with a lot of the issues that you're currently faced with in this economy. There was a lot of instant gratification for them. ...I think had you had to delay a lot of that, so you'll make wiser choices on how you spend your time and your money."

Martin answered a question about the possibility of sliding into a depression.

He said the leadership, both in government and business, feels we're not headed for one. "But this is the toughest recession that generations have seen since the Great Depression," he added.

Luis Urena, 16, asked what his uninsured family and friends can do if they get sick.

Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said, increasingly, people are going to emergency rooms, but this shouldn't be the place to address medical issues that could be taken care of at a doctor's office.

She suggested trying to reimburse the doctor or the clinic in another way, such as bartering for services. "The last thing you want to do is let your medical care -- your health care -- lapse to the point where you are sicker," she said, "and therefore your needs, both financial and medical, are going to be worse."

Thirteen-year-old Leah Corcillo's father lost her job as a stockbroker, and she asked Agresta how to stay upbeat in troubled times.

"In good economic times, it's very easy to be positive, when things are going well, and our pockets are full," she said. "And during times like this, it can leave us frightened and vulnerable, and some of the things that we can do again are to reach out to other people. Our family would be the ultimate source to turn to, and our community, as well."

Martin noted that being open in the family about finances is important.

The entire audience agreed -- all raising their hands when Rodriguez asked who wanted to know what was going on with their family's financial situation.

"Parents, you know, they can handle it," Rodriguez said. "And we don't have to give it all up. You don't have to put the stress on them. But fill them in."