The “Welfare Queen” Legend



My Republican acquaintances complain about the government taking their hard earned money to give to lazy layabouts. And they like to trot out the myth of the “welfare queen” who gets rich by having numerous babies.

You probably won’t see this nonsense debunked in the mainstream media. News outlets have discovered that they won’t build audiences by reporting the sober truth but by firing up fake “controversies.”

As I’m sure you’ve figured out,  the facts do not support the notion that your tax money keeps millions of lazy Americans undeservedly enjoying a life of luxury.

Ronald Reagan created the “welfare queen” legend back in 1976, when he cited the case of a Chicago woman who “used 80 names, 30 addresses and 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare.”

He added that her tax-free cash income alone “has been running at $150,000 a year.”

Reagan didn’t make up the story. There was a real “welfare queen.” Her name was Linda Taylor (photo above), and she was featured in the Chicago TribuneAnd yes, she did own such luxurious items as jewelry, furs and a Cadillac.

But Taylor was a career criminal, and welfare fraud was just one of her many illegal activities. She was even suspected of murder. And she was convicted and jailed for her welfare fraud.

Criminals abound in our society, and they prey on all kinds of government programs, from Medicare to food stamps. But it’s not just the government that gets victimized. Every aspect of society is fair game for crooks.

For example, I suspect there’s as much – or more – fraud in the charity industry, where grifters sometimes rake in millions for “administrative expenses.”

Believe me, law enforcement agencies are aware of welfare fraud, and relentlessly crack down on it.

Besides, welfare programs don’t just provide compassionate relief to the disabled and impoverished. They also enable individuals who are down on their luck to recover their earning ability and – as my sister-in-law Faye puts it – “become tax payers instead of tax takers.”

So I was encouraged to find a brief and simple explanation of America’s welfare programs among this morning’s emails. It was sent out by a group called “About News.” Their web site is owned by IAC (for InterActiveCorp.).

They don’t seem to be a political propaganda organization. Wikipedia says they are associated with the Home Shopping Network.

The email I received lists the various welfare programs available in America, and they are far from generous. To get welfare, a family of four must have an income below  $24,300 a year, for example. I would like to see my Republican acquaintances live on that.

Anyway, in case you’re interested, I am providing a link to the article. It might help you respond to your Republican acquaintances when they berate welfare recipients.

Click for the “About” article.

Click for the real Welfare Queen.

Click for more on