Psst. You. Yes, you, the state with all the bluebonnets and longhorns. Mr. Lone Star.
I've got a deal for you, Texas. Rumor has it, you're a little short of cash, is that right? Twenty-something billion, you say? Well, I might have just the thing…
See, it says here you've got yourself some kind of girl trouble. Well, girl and boy trouble. It's your kids.
I mean, look at them. Twice as likely as other states' kids not to be able to visit a doctor's office? Most likely in the country to miss out on mental health care? Your kids are dropping out of high school, getting pregnant, gaining too much weight, getting in trouble with the law, and being abused—all at rates other states wouldn't stand for. Frankly, I'm a little afraid, those other states might soon pass you by.
The good news is it's your lucky day. I know you don't think you have enough money to walk out of here today with a population of thriving children. (You think that's for the Vermonts and Minnesotas of the world, am I right?)
But I'm here to tell you, our finance people took a look at your situation, and they figured out you could be saving money. Right now, your kid troubles represent a lot of lost potential, and that is costing you big time. Child poverty hurts your bottom line to the tune of $67 billion. That's per year, my friend! A single graduating class of drop-outs costs you another $9.6 billion a year. All those teen births are expensive, too—amounting to another $1 billion out of your pocket annually.
What would you say if I told you, you could start saving $25.5 billion per year, just by getting that child poverty rate, dropout rate, and teen birth rate back down to the average of other states? Those savings will show up in the higher productivity in your workforce, in the lower costs in your criminal justice and health systems, and in your improved competitiveness. Plus, you'll get those great results for kids I know you want.
I've got the full report right here, on how you can do it--not just the policy recommendations, but what your every-day people can do to roll up their sleeves and be a part of making things a little better for children. If you worked at a few other things, too--like getting more of your kids out of juvenile lock-up facilities, preventing a good number of cases of child abuse or child obesity, and seeing to that more moms have prenatal care--I'm telling you right now: you will see ridiculous savings, Texas.
But the clock is ticking. Every minute you put off this deal, you risk paying more in the end. Nobody wants that, am I right?