What Doesn't Work

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You hear a lot of promises in political seasons about spending money to fix things. But it doesn’t always work that way. The more money we spend on education, the poorer our kids tend to score on tests.

Politicians spent billions of dollars trying to help poor, single mothers, but we now have more poor, single mothers. And if you live in or near a typical public housing project, you probably don't need to be told how that's working out. But just in case you want details, a new book called "America's Trillion-Dollar Housing Mistake" is full of examples of how badly public housing works. The author is a Harvard professor who argues that public housing projects have not only dragged down the people who live there, but also the towns and cities in which they're located.

Private groups like Habitat for Humanity (search) are commended for promoting housing by helping poor people to actually build what then becomes their own property. But government-housing policy has spent one trillion dollars, making the situation worse. Instead of promising to do more things with more money to make life better, it would be nice if politicians just got rid of what doesn't work.