This is in fact the usual result of governmental spending on "social" issues: monumental costs, little to no real results.
To the "progressive," the good achieved by governmental spending is the governmental spending itself. The power to extract wealth from some people and give it to other people is good, in and of itself. It is the wielding of this power which gives the already monumental self-image of the "progressive" that little extra something which allows her (or him) to utterly ignore the actual results of their actions.
They like to call themselves "the reality-based community." A commenter on Ace of Spades HQ recently offered a more accurate description of "progressives": "the community-based reality." The reality of a "progressive" is not an objective one. They don't actually give a damn about helping people. They just want to feel like they're helping people. Results don't matter to them, only the feeling.
In the end, other people don't really matter to "progressives," only their engorged, inflamed, holier-than-thou egos.
You may get the impression that I, in my weaker moments, have less than a full respect for people who parade around demanding that other people do this, that, and the other thing "for the children" or "for the middle class" or whatever emotional lever they think will work that particular moment to grab just a little more power for themselves, for the tawdry and venal purpose of making their own empty lives feel like they're worth something.
You may be correct in that impression.