My vision of the future is of a "We" decade devoted to helping people help themselves. We won't warehouse human failure, we'll use creative approaches to unleash the human spirit. Many of these new ideas will come, as they always have, from America's business leaders.
History tells us it is more cost-effective and infinitely more humane to prevent problems early, than to try to remedy them later. Does this mean that in an era of tight budgets, we must boost preventive solutions at the expense of remedial programs? The answer must be "yes."
After all, how much better to provide prenatal care to assure50 or 60 healthy new babies, than to pay for neonatal care for only one unhealthy baby? So, in California, we've expanded and strengthened the ultimate preventive approach-prenatal care. How much better to, provide counseling in early pregnancy to get drug-using mothers off drugs, so they won't give birth to drug-addicted babies?
To that effort we've dedicated $25 million to expand treatment for substance-abusing mothers. We've also added $15 million to fund an education campaign to prevent teen pregnancy, and another $10 million is targeted to prevent unmarried teens and substance-abusing mothers.
But this is only the beginning of our program to prevent problems before they escalate in financial and human cost. Obviously, it is better to prevent learning disorders than to engage in compensatory education. So we're bringing mental health counseling to the schools, to catch the problems of children early enough-so that we don't waste a precious decade of a child's learning experience.
And rather than leave our kids to the streets, we want to encourage volunteer mentors; so every school-aged child will be supported by a caring adult. I've been inspired by the work of a group called The 100 Black Men of Los Angeles. They've made a difference in their community. They've reached out to help young black students and guide them to adulthood. And their success is phenomenal. They've doubled the number of young black men from Los Angeles County admitted to the University of California.
Some libertarians see this and say: "Private sector groups like. The 100 Black Men can do the job. Let's stop the growth of government." Liberals say: "Only government has the resources to solve problems." But the real answer is to energize our existing institutions, public and private, to mobilize people with ideas,and to promote the values of hard work and self-discipline that make the American Dream a vibrant reality. These are the values that make for successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. And these are values business leaders can help spread.
Ultimately, our goal must be to help people gain sovereignty over their own lives, to give compassion practical force, and to never forget to cherish the day and plan for the future.