Atlanta thought it had a great idea. Instead of its citizens being accosted by bums and panhandlers in the street, the idea was to set up parking meter-like machines for people's donations instead of handing the money straight to the bums. Then, the money collected from Atlanta's well-meaning citizens would be used to enlarge government programs for the homeless.

After six months the donation meters have only netted $500, a sum that won't go too far especially in the over priced world of government programs. In fact, the machines themselves cost far more than that. So, the meters are pretty much a bust. In that case one might think that the Atlanta city council would quietly shelve the idea as one born of that good ol' college try, but a failed one nonetheless.

But then, one would be imputing logic and good sense to a government, wouldn't one? It turns out that the solution to the question about the program isn't to end it like sensible people would, no, in all its infinite wisdom the Atlanta city government decided that throwing even more money at this failed program is the best plan.

Despite the program's dismal beginnings, Atlanta leaders are encouraged. They are installing more of the "giving meters" and using signs to make more people aware of the machines. In other cities, like Denver, thousands of dollars have been raised to help the needy.

Failure in government speak means not enough money. And, only a government could think that the only solution to a problem is to take away the person-to-person element and substitute a government program.

So, the program is a boondoggle that cost a king's ransom to set up, has not yielded the donations needed to make the program a success, did not lead to helping any homeless people, and yet... and yet the city fathers are "encouraged" that more city money will fix everything.

This is an object lesson in the failure of government.