The Myth of the Chicago Welfare Queen Reagan developed similar coded appeals to the racial resentments of northern whites as well. His criticisms of federal welfare policy often included an anecdote about a Cadillac-driving "Chicago welfare queen," a black "woman in Chicago. She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and is collecting veteran's benefits on 4 non-existing deceased husbands. And she's collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, is getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income alone is over $150,000." 38 (In fact, there was no "Chicago welfare queen." Like many of Reagan's anecdotes, this one might charitably be called apocryphal .) The story's accuracy (or lack thereof) notwithstanding, Reagan's "welfare queen" anecdote indulged the prejudice of many northern whites, who came to see welfare as a government-funded scam that allowed lazy, undeserving black people to prosper at the expense of hardworking white taxpayers.
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