"Graham replied: 'A hundred years ago, the safety net, the social safety net, in the country, was provided by the church. If you didn't have a job, you'd go to your local church and ask the pastor if he knew somebody that could hire him. If you were hungry, you went to the local church and told them, 'I can't feed my family.' And the church would help you. That's not being done. The government took that. And took it away from the church.'"He is partially right. There was no social safety net 100 years ago beyond private charities and churches. But this belief that the past was some kind of idyllic past, is just ridiculous. Yes, churches were the last resort, but no, they didn't actually carry all the poor. Elderly without families ended up in almshouses where they were often abused and abandoned.
From the right there seems to be this perception that things were great until the 30s, and then FDR, as an evil socialist, came in and told the churches to stop helping people in order to make them dependent on the government. The fact was that poverty was a huge problem before, but the depression made it worse. And the churches and charities that were not taking care of the poor (not saying they weren't trying) found themselves completely overwhelmed by the depression.
I have said this before, but I love this essay's challenge. Tell the church to step up and provide the safety net, and we will disband Medicaid today. They won't, because they can't. And they have no idea what Medicaid actually does--and that it probably helps someone close to them and they don't even know it.
The right is driven by two approaches on this problem right now. The Ayn Rand branch that really doesn't care about the poor and is proud of that fact; and those who care, but are deluded about the role that government plays. Which is it? Ignorant or callous?