Before the New Deal, liquidating parishes, Obama’s plan

Municipal Welfare

Charles Michael Andres Clark’s article “Truth Deficit” (September 9) was a breath of fresh air, and persuasive in most points. As a historian who studies the history of social welfare, however, I must call attention to one more myth that Clark perpetuates instead of discrediting. The late eighteenth century actually did have robust social-welfare programs. The biggest expenses for towns and counties in that period were poverty relief, including groceries, firewood, housing, physicians’ visits, medicine, even full-time nurses if necessary. While not universal, this kind of care was guaranteed to most Americans. Strange as it sounds, America’s first tea partiers were far more committed to helping the vulnerable than we are.

Gabriel Loiacono

Oshkosh, Wis.

Sin Of Omission

Paul Moses’s otherwise helpful review of Jason Berry’s Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church (“...

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