I've argued most of this before, (you can read some here, here and here), but Mr. Konczal lays out the exhaustive historical case that the U.S. never did manage to take care of its poor through private charity.
Contrary to what Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, Rand Paul, et al tell us, there never was a golden era in American history when private people and charities provided a safety net, or even anything close to one.
So the burden really is on far-right conservatives who want to tear down the safety net that was built to fix all these historical problems, to explain how they are going to invent something totally novel to American history, and guarantee that it will work when such patchworks or networks of charity have always failed in the past.
There's just no valid study, history or facts to back up their false claim.
By Mike Konczlar
March 24, 2014 | The Atlantic