California: Task Force Feelgood

Task Force Feelgood

A self-image is a terrible thing to waste. So California is spending $735,000 over the next three years to promote residents' self-esteem and help them to avoid becoming criminals, drug abusers, teen mothers or welfare dependents. The 25-member task force on Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility is a pet project of Assemblyman John Vasconcellos. To counter criticism of the blue-sky nature of the project, the San Jose Democrat argues that prevention is cheaper than cure. "We spend billions on the symptoms of social ills after the fact," he says, "rather than searching out and addressing the underlying roots."

Vasconcellos' task...