- Ted Cruz thanks Obama for denying visas to terrorists
- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
- In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream
California tries stopping gun violence with yoga
Mental health is connected to gun violence. The solution is simple: Spend $1 billion per year on Zumba classes, hip-hop car washes and lunchtime yoga so people will feel too groovy to do anything crazy.
At least that's the method California has used since 2005 — and it thinks the U.S. should write the same prescription for the rest of us.
Even though the program is undergoing an audit amid accusations of waste, California Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg is pressing Vice President Biden to use it as a model for a nationwide initiative.
“We are saving lives,” Mr. Steinberg said in his Dec. 20 letter to Mr. Biden. “What’s working here can work throughout every state in the country.”
Proposition 63, which began funneling money to "fundamental health service programs" in 2005, has brought in $7.4 billion through a tax on California's favorite revenue source: its wealthiest residents.
Not all of the money went to help mentally ill people — nor was it meant to. In fact, the state's overall spending on mental health services decreased 21 percent from 2009 to 2012.
One-fifth of revenues raised by Proposition 63 were earmarked for such “mental illness prevention.” The idea is, if people have access to taxpayer-funded drama classes and time for gardening, they will not become mentally ill in the first place. If Adam Lanza only had more opportunities to plant flowers and paint pictures, the theory goes, the Newtown tragedy could have been avoided altogether.
“Investing in prevention and early intervention for people in the early stages of mental illness is a strategy that clearly saves lives,” Mr. Steinberg said in his letter to Mr. Biden.
But state Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert, said that during times of financial distress like California is facing now, the state should not be risking money on experimental treatments.
“You're almost kind of saying, 'Hey, dream up some stuff to do,' and it may not be terribly well thought out or useful, " Mr. Nestande told The Washington Times Wednesday in an interview. "What I had heard from the professionals in this area is that they would rather see the money used to programs that they know are working and are short on money already in those areas. They would not want to see it siphoned off into areas that are unproven."
Mr. Nestande said he would not suggest that the federal government implement California's mental health model — or spend money on any new mental health treatment at all. Although mental health certainly is important, he said, that's really the job of individual states.
“My view would be to have a federal government that's more of a repository for best practices,” he said.
Katherine Timpf is a Phillips Foundation Robert Novak fellow and a digital editor for Times247. Follow Katherine on Twitter @kctimpf.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- EDITORIAL: Republicans finally fight back in phony 'war on women'
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.