Reagan’s ‘Welfare Queen’ reemerges

January 26, 2012




Mary Timmons

Through the years, the nations “Welfare Queen” has become a legend of her own. During every presidential election, rumors of her existence emerge, causing some to question whether or not this type of person actually exists.


Along with 12 Social Security cards, she mooches on benefits from her dead husbands, while also collecting food stamps and driving a Cadillac. She brings in approximately $150,000 a year in welfare benefits. This was the tale created by President Ronal Reagan on the campaign trail in 1976, according to the CNN website.


I don’t deny that there is clearly a problem with the abuse of government assistance programs. Therefore, the systems should be redesigned in order to help less fortunate people get out of poverty. Instead, it seems we’ve created a weak system that others become too dependent on, and in turn, it is being abused.


Some believe Reagan’s “Welfare Queen” is being resurrected due to recent comments made by Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney. During a campaign in Iowa, Santorum said, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”


Not only is this extremely racist, it gives the negative connotation towards those who use government assistance programs in good faith. Political candidates should take into consideration that there are those who are in actual need of government help. It’s not just about giving away somebody else’s money, In most cases it is the only means of putting food on the table for their children.


While I don’t think we should do away with the welfare system, I do feel that we should find better ways to manage it. The point of government assistance is to help people become established. Believe it or not, there are others who actually use government assistance programs the way they are intended.


By using the programs that the government provides, families are given the chance to rise from poverty and break the cycle. The system is meant for adults as well as children. People attacking the programs because of abusers, will cause the children to suffer, not this infamous “Welfare Queen.”

Mary Timmons is a senior journalism major from Logansport who serves as Editor-in-Chief for The Tech Talk. Email comments to mnt005@latech.edu.


One Response to Reagan’s ‘Welfare Queen’ reemerges

  1. Les Reply

    January 27, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Hi Mary, interesting article but whoever did your research took Santorum’s quote out of context. The correct quote is: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”
    You cut it off at the semi. It was made in connection with Obama’s push to get as many people as possible on welfare by issuing fines to states that don’t sign enough up. In context of the discussion it was not a racist comment, but if you pulled your idea from Thinkprogress then it looked to be so.

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