Food Stamp “Fraud”
Reagan invoked the “welfare queen” alongside another, equally racist trope of the “strapping young buck” — a Black man using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks while thrifty Americans made do with hamburgers. Reagan’s message was clear: undeserving Black people were cheating the food stamp program, wasting benefits paid for by working white taxpayers. Reagan’s claims about fraud stirred up a media frenzy, with stories that persistently misrepresented the food stamp program, overstated the generosity of the benefits people received, and failed to mention that such cases were just a small fraction of the 22 million families enrolled in the program.
“Definitely not USDA Approved,” Time Magazine. Aug. 23, 1982.
Galleries & Exhibits
- 11865-1925: Hunger in the Industrial City
- 21929-1940: America in Crisis and Recovery
- 31945-1965: WWII and the Paradoxes of the Postwar Era
- 41955-1980: The Fight for the Right to Food
- 51975-1996: The Unmaking of the Great Society
- 61997-Present: How It Is — And How It Should Be