It turns out that poverty, like disaster relief, is one of those problems that demands pragmatism and technical competence rather than ideology. In the 1990s, technocrats in the Clinton administration ramped up initiatives like Hope VI and Section 8 housing vouchers–two highly effective programs for integrating the poor into mixed-income neighborhoods. Technocrats outside the administration have led the way since then. In Washington, for example, two former management consultants recently founded a publicly funded boarding school called SEED, which imparts life skills and career expectations every bit as much as it tends to the economic privation of its poor, urban students. SEED graduates attend college at remarkably high rates. Both programs reflect the spirit of nonideological problem-solving that has been out of fashion amid the hyper-partisanship of the Bush era. Now that Katrina has revived our interest in poverty, it’d be a shame if she didn’t revive that spirit, too.