One of the programs that must have sounded really good to Detroit officials was helping low-income people to find jobs by providing business attire for job interviews.

What could go wrong?

Well, a lot—the program was part of an $11 million stimulus grant designed to help 400 low-income people. To qualify for the clothes, a client had to have a job interview arranged. Sounds good. But only two people were helped.

The Detroit News reported on an audit of the program:

The audit, conducted by the city's auditor general for the period from July 2009 to September 2011, found the department failed to control the operations and finances of a boutique that was to provide the clothes.

The department did not safeguard grant funds or create an inventory for the clothing, the audit found.

Among the most telling findings, which will be discussed today during a City Council committee meeting, is that a third-party contractor advanced $148,000 to a downtown Detroit clothing store and opened an account, but did not include the city on the account.

"It's just another example that money is not as much of an issue than managing the money, whether it's grant or general fund dollars that we have," said Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown. "We have to find a better way to manage the resources and give Detroiters the value for the tax dollars they deserve."

This is an example of government showing once again that it is not the proper vehicle to perform what is in effect a charity. Carrie’s terrific Forbes magazine piece on the Head Start program, set up in the 1960s as part of the “war on poverty,” is a good example of this: a congressionally-mandated study found that, Head Start, which costs $7 billion a year, has no lasting effects on the children it was designed to serve.

I have an idea on how to prevent this kind of waste: get government out of the eleemosynary business, let citizens keep more of their money, and encourage an ethos of private charity among the citizenry. People who are involved in charities are more careful about the $$$ than governments.

Hat tip: Fox News