Reagan’s Welfare Queen Whom Liberals Say Didn’t Exist, Existed and Killed

welfare queen

This is from Slate so there are more caveats than from a dozen lawyers being forced to sign a contract with the devil, but it knocks down the lie that the Welfare Queen was some sort of imaginary racist character that Reagan made up to make freeloaders look bad.

“In Chicago, they found a woman who holds the record,” the former California governor declared at a campaign rally in January 1976. “She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare. Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year.” As soon as he quoted that dollar amount, the crowd gasped.

Many accounts report that Reagan coined the term “welfare queen,” and that this woman in Chicago was a fictional character. In 2007, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman wrote that “the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen [was] a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews says the whole thing is racist malarkey—a coded reference to black indolence and criminality designed to appeal to working-class whites.

Her name was Linda Taylor, and it was the Chicago Tribune, not the GOP politician, who dubbed her the “welfare queen.” It was the Tribune, too, that lavished attention on Taylor’s jewelry, furs, and Cadillac—all of which were real.

Wait… wait… Paul Krugman is wrong about something? How is that even possible. The world no longer makes sense.

“Linda Taylor received Illinois welfare checks and food stamps, even tho[ugh] she was driving three 1974 autos—a Cadillac, a Lincoln, and a Chevrolet station wagon—claimed to own four South Side buildings, and was about to leave for a vacation in Hawaii,” wrote Pulitzer Prize winner George Bliss.

There was evidence that the 47-year-old Taylor had used three social security cards, 27 names, 31 addresses, and 25 phone numbers to fuel her mischief, not to mention 30 different wigs.

As the Tribune and other outlets stayed on the story, those figures continued to rise. Reporters noted that Linda Taylor had used as many as 80 names, and that she’d received at least $150,000—in illicit welfare cash, the numbers that Ronald Reagan would cite on the campaign trail in 1976.

“She is black, but is able to pass herself off as Spanish, Filipino, white, and black,” the executive director of Illinois’ Legislative Advisory Committee on Public Aid told the Associated Press in November 1974. “And it appears she can be any age she wishes, from the early 20s to the early 50s.”

So Reagan’s racist welfare queen lie… was the Chicago Tribune’s reporting of a true crime story.

The executive director of the Legislative Advisory Committee on Public Aid told the Tribune, “She is without a doubt, the biggest welfare cheat of all time”.

The Tribune reported that Taylor was filching every form of public assistance imaginable: social security, food stamps, Medicaid, and Aid to Families With Dependent Children.

According to Reagan, it had now been revealed that this woman (he still didn’t identify her by name) had operated in 14 states using 127 names, claimed to be the mother of 14 children, was using 50 addresses “in Chicago alone,” and had posed as an open heart surgeon. She also had “three new cars, a full-length mink coat, and her take is estimated at a million dollars.”

As he’d said, Taylor had posed in Michigan as a heart surgeon named Dr. Connie Walker and, in the Tribune’s telling, “drove a new Cadillac bearing the physicians’ staff and serpent on both doors and the word ‘Afri-med’ on the rear.”

A few months later, she was released from custody briefly while her case was on appeal. According to Cook County prosecutor James Piper, she subsequently “applied for welfare, claiming she needed the money for medical purposes.” Piper told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat that she was suspected of falsifying information on the application.

Ronald Reagan… right about Communism… right about the Welfare Queen.

For much of the 1970s, Taylor had consistent legal representation from celebrated black Chicago attorney R. Eugene Pincham. “It would be a pretty sorry situation if the state tried to prosecute and send to jail everybody from the South Side that took welfare money they didn’t have coming,” he told the Tribune in 1976. “There’d just be nowhere to put them.”

Which is an admission that Reagan was right about the scope of the problem. This wasn’t just one Welfare Queen. There was an army of them.

But Linda Taylor’s story got worse from there…

In the 1970s alone, Taylor was investigated for homicide, kidnapping, and baby trafficking. The detective who tried desperately to put her away believes she’s responsible for one of Chicago’s most legendary crimes, one that remains unsolved to this day. Welfare fraud was likely the least of the welfare queen’s offenses.

“Chicago’s welfare queen,” they wrote, “has been linked by Chicago police to a scheme to defraud the public aid department during the mid-1960s by buying newborn infants to substantiate welfare claims.”

Her son Johnnie believes his mother saw children as commodities, something to be acquired and sold. He remembers a little black girl—he doesn’t know her name—who stayed with them for a few months in the early 1960s, “and then she just disappeared one day.”

Johnnie says, a white baby named Tiger showed up out of nowhere, and then left the household just as mysteriously. I ask him if he knew where these kids came from or who they belonged to. “You knew they wasn’t hers,” he says.

A newborn child was kidnapped by a woman dressed in a white nurse’s uniform. Dora Fronczak told police that the mystery woman whisked away her son Paul Joseph, telling the new mother that her baby boy needed to be examined by a doctor. Witnesses said the ersatz nurse carried the infant through a rear exit and disappeared.

The Fronczak case transfixed Chicago and the nation. The Tribune, the Sun-Times, and the national wire services printed eyewitness accounts, sketches of the suspect, diagrams of the kidnapper’s probable path, and the family’s pleas for their child’s safe return.

Did Linda Taylor pull off one of the most notorious kidnappings of the 1960s? In early 1975, law enforcement officials got a tip from one of Taylor’s ex-husbands that she “appeared one day in the mid-1960s with a newborn baby, altho[ugh] she had not been pregnant.” Her explanation, the Tribune said, was that “she hadn’t realized she was pregnant until she gave birth that morning.”

Johnnie says his mother often claimed that she worked in a hospital, and that she’d wear a nurse’s hat. Rose Termini, without any prompting, begins the narrative of her son’s kidnapping by saying that Taylor “once told me she was a nurse and she got around a lot with kids.” According to Termini, Taylor would often dress in a white uniform—she says she saw the getup with her own eyes.

Johnnie says he doesn’t know anything about the Fronczak case specifically. He’s always suspected, though, that his mother sold the baby she called Tiger—that would explain her evasiveness, and how an infant could come and go with no explanation. Tiger’s whereabouts remain a mystery. The same goes for the baby abducted from Michael Reese Hospital in 1964. Fifty years later, Paul Joseph Fronczak has yet to be found.

And then she began killing people..

Mrs. Parks, who was also named Patricia, earned her living as a schoolteacher. Her daughter describes her as polished, a woman with a master’s degree who hung out with college-educated types.

She believes her mother must have hired Taylor to keep house and watch the kids, nothing more. She says that Linda Taylor was the worst nanny they ever had.

Taylor took up residence with the Parks family in 1974. At that point, Patricia Parks was a healthy woman with three young children. Less than a year later, she was dead. At the time, Taylor was out on bail, awaiting her welfare fraud trial.

The Tribune explained that she was now under investigation yet again after authorities “learned that Mrs. Parks reportedly had willed her home to Miss Taylor and had made her the beneficiary of ‘several’ insurance policies and the guardian of her three children.”

“She killed my mother,” Parks-Lee says. She’s so sure about what Linda Taylor did that she says it three more times: “She killed my mother. She killed my mother. I just, I mean—she killed my mother.”

And she didn’t stop even when she got out of prison.

  • dankusDLK

    That’s what you took from the article? The article clearly pointed out how Reagan turned Taylor into a boogie-(wo)man to race bait and advance his agenda. A big point made in the article is that Reagans politics actually hurt many people around Taylor. Finally, concerning welfare, the Linda Taylor account is a good reason to discount Reagans entire thesis, because it shows that a rare and dedicated criminal with limited exposure, not systemic failure, is the issue. Trying reading the article ponce.

    • Notalibfool

      “Reagan’s politics actually hurt many people around Taylor.”

      You mean the freeloading crowd? They deserved it. I personally am sick and tired of working for next to nothing so some people can sit on their butts all day. If you like the welfare crowd, then YOU can go buy TVs for them with YOUR money.

      Linda Taylor is (was?) a worthless pile of filth.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Actually the article points out that Taylor’s case brought attention to the issue of welfare fraud and uncovered quite a few cases

      • JDinSTL

        Daniel, I expect the progressives to deny the truth about any and every situation. It doesn’t fit their vision. And, their vision is their religion. The irony is that they criticize people of faith for having so little “evidence” for their beliefs. At least the faithful don’t have 100 years of failed public policy to believe in.

        • CapeLady

          Utopian statists have to ignore history, facts, and human nature to perpetuate their ideology. Plato came up with it, but he knew it wouldn’t work. Nobody was dumb enough to try it until the 20th Century and it has resulted in untold misery and the murder of millions of people each time it has been tried. Humans are not designed for conformity – and their utopia requires conformity for the good of the state. Eventually, they use that as an excuse to eliminate everyone who will not conform. They talk about equality but equality is not possible. You end up with a wealthy elite (who the elites plan to be among, of course) and everyone else is equal in their misery!!! That is why they cannot debate based on facts and resort to name calling, mockery and insults. What they believe in is indefensible and baed on emotion.

      • kilfincelt

        I agree! And, in the 1970’s, I saw it for myself when welfare recipients would arrive in Cadillacs, purchase a hearing aid and sign the papers so that I could bill the state. .

        • notalibfool

          Back in the 1980s my uncle worked as a supervisor at the DSHS in Vancouver, WA. He witnessed “needy” people being given food stamps at his office, only to trade them for drugs across the street.

          • Joe Christmas

            I used to have to drive down the main thoroughfare of “northtown” (North Las Vegas, where the blacks all had to live when Vegas was still segregated) on my way to and from work every day. There was a Pep Boys auto parts store next to a Popeye’s Chicken that I passed daily. Behind these was a pretty large, old shabby building. I had no idea what it was, but the parking lot was always filled with shiny, pimped out new cars, at least at the first of the month. I had to stop at Pep Boys one day and purchase a new antennae–my old one had been snapped off while I was at work, I always suspected a “democrat” had done it. As I walked out, I was close enough to see the sign on the front of the building, finally. It was the local welfare office.

    • Habbgun

      Here’s the problem and it is what Slate doesn’t want to admit. The psychopathy resembles the Left. Look at Obamacare. Look how scammers took an identity (champion of the uninsured, fierce opponent of greedy pharmaceuticals and lying doctors), found needy people to fool and used that identity to get rich (contractors to non-working website, etc.). They leave disaster in their wake and the same scammers take a new identity (income inequality fighter) and move on. The Left isn’t worried about fraud because in reality all that the system can do is look at and process documents. It can’t really show what poverty is and whether government helps but everyone can see that the programs don’t work. Those people are like the families members who see the scam but their relatives are too far gone to be helped. The neighborhoods just stay in a static barbaric state until the scammers are cleared out. The Taylors and the Leftists. The welfare queen point was that a psychopath could and did get rich under the system. I hate to break it you but that is a feature and not a bug. Short trip from ACORN to Taylor or whoever she was.

      • A Z

        Reagan complains about welfare Queens. It turns out there are actually welfare queens.

        Meanwhile Clinton complains about Black Churches burning in Arkansas during his childhood and lo & behold Clinton made it all up.

    • DLinz

      Just put down that glue bottle dankus. It’s rotting what’s left of your pathetic lib brain.

      • A Z

        Dankus is a twenty something. 4 years ago he was in college or High school.

        He reminds me of the carton super hero ‘The Tick’. He is very interested in making $$.

        He might get wiser as he gets older.

        I think he comes here to Fight the good fight against us unwashed.

        What happens when he finds out we were right just like that study conducted at the behest of liberals found that Tea Partiers are on average more intelligent than average?

    • Crassus

      Yeah, Reagan’s politics really hurt those around Taylor. How? He made the speech about her in 1976. He wasn’t elected POTUS until 1980. Yeah, Reagan was a great boogie man. He was screwing people over before he even got inaugurated.

    • A Z

      Race bait?

      So whenever a Republican or some one else points to failed Progressive policies, the Left has some label with which to smear their opponents.

    • A Z

      ” Trying reading the article ponce.” – DankusDLK

      ponce [pons] noun British Slang.
      1. a pimp.
      2. a campily effeminate male.

      Dankus’ petulant response was quite catty.

    • A Z

      Per the Atlantic Typical Fraud rates for business are 5%.

      I have seen estimates for Medicare-Medicaid fraud at 7.5%, 10% & 20%
      People making the estimates were the Inspector General, FBI, Attorney General Eric Holder.

      SNAP fraud rates were 10%. Now they are suppose to be 3% to 4%. I know for a fact that the government lies about the U3 statistics and the inflation rate. So why should I trust this new lower 2011 statistic?

      • CapeLady

        People are selling EBT cards on Craig’s List and some states have had to pass laws that they can’t be used in strip joints and casinos. They recently discovered Jamaicans who were using EBT cards to fill huge shipping containers to send food home to the islands. Clearly, there is a lot of abuse. I think we should go back to giving out actual food staples – I would bet you there are many who qualify for EBT cards who wouldn’t even bother!

        • A Z

          I forgot about that one.

    • Ranger_Ric

      Apparently YOU didn’t read the article…

      “For much of the 1970s, Taylor had consistent legal representation from
      celebrated black Chicago attorney R. Eugene Pincham. “It would be a
      pretty sorry situation if the state tried to prosecute and send to jail
      everybody from the South Side that took welfare money they didn’t have
      coming,” he told the Tribune in 1976. “There’d just be nowhere to put

      This isn’t and wasn’t an isolated incident, it is typical, widespread black behavior.

      There is a reason there are more blacks on welfare than whites even though they are only 18% of the population. These parasites are on welfare at a rate of over five to one versus whites.

      They are sub-human animals, parasites.

    • BenZacharia

      Rare? Her attorney asserts that the whole of south Sh*tcago would be in jail for fraud if they cared to investigate.

    • Joe Christmas

      Even if you were correct about Reagan’s “race baiting”–which you are not–“What difference does it make now?” Obama’s race baiting and reckless policies have hurt people a lot more than the Reagan administration calling ketchup a vegetable. The vegetable we have now in the white house, and those who follow him, are the most race baiting liars I have yet seen in my life time. Why do you have such venom for a President long gone and dead? Why not reserve some of your bile for someone who truly deserves it, Barry Soetero? Or are you one of those “bitter clingers” that Barry likes to feed divisive anecdotes about to his minions?

  • herb benty

    Evil allowed to run it’s course.

  • A Z

    Why is this story important?

    • A Z

      It is important because historiography is as important or more important than actual history

      • A Z

        Want proof?

        Larry King is on the radio with short public service announcements (PSAs) or something.

        Larry tells a story from Chris Mathew’s book about how Tip O’Neill and Reagan got along.

        So Mr “Thrill up his leg” (3rd one?) Mathews wants us to believe that Republicans (or at least Reagan) and Democrats got along in the 1980s and it was all fun & games.

        • A Z

          This is from source watch.

          So the venerable Larry King is doing a PSA. How sweet :)

          And you cannot criticize an elderly icon like Larry King. It look like elder abuse according to some.

          Note how source watch has links at the above linked page
          and the 1st one is labeled “Propaganda techniques”

          So who paid for Larry King’s PSA?

          Yes the PSA is about Tip O’Neil & Regan and how they got along? You know the ploy. The Left can go about tearing down Reagan all over again in other venue. In the meantime they have made a Democrat Leader & by extension the Democrat Party look like great guys.

          • A Z

            So while Slate is tearing Reagan down, …
            Larry King is running cover for the left with his PSA by showing the Left has no animus against Reagan because Reagan & Tip O’Neil were friends.

    • WhiteHunter

      Because any baldfaced lie that goes unchallenged and unexposed comes to be accepted as truth. We see that all the time, more and more, because most Republicans think it’s “ungentlemanly” to call a lying scoundrel by his correct and accurate name.

  • sqeptiq

    Problem for conservatives is Reagan didn’t work to tackle welfare fraud; he just moved to cut welfare spending.

  • UCSPanther

    What an evil woman. A killer, kidnapper and thief all wrapped in one.

  • Seek

    Black women are as sociopathic as the men. This is one horrible excuse for a human being.

  • Mark 2112

    is anyone truly surprised she is black?

  • Roger Cotton

    Only an imbecile like Krugman would WANT to hide the truth instead of seeking to expose it.

  • Whatever…

    Funny how you used some dark, grainy pic of this woman in lieu of those that show that she looked white. Also funny how the author (and the commenters) neglect to discuss how this woman was actually white according to her birth certificate, census records, other public records, her own family lore, and her phenotype (though the latter means little). She was racial ambiguous at best. Stop fooling yourself. It’s pathetic.

    • WhiteHunter

      So to you, that’s the most important thing to worry about — NOT that she was a swindler, a kidnapper, and a murderess? Your priorities are upside down and your focus is way off-target, friend. Which is sadly common these days among the Krugmaniacs and Obammunists.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      I used the newspaper clippings of the time. The article states that she likely had a black father. Like Obama.

    • ZZ

      Funny how the author referred to her as a welfare queen rather than a Black welfare queen. And how would you know what her birth certificate and census information is? Linda Taylor is a very common name, and I don’t believe for a second that you know her birthdate and birthplace, much less anything about her “family lore.” I don’t even believe you read any of the “Washington Post” articles about her.

      I think you’re a race obsessed liar making knee jerk excuses for a horrific criminal. As if you’ve seen any of her public documents.

    • A Z

      Blackness is not just about how many drops of black blood you have compared to how much white blood you may have. It is about culture too. This woman identified as black or African American.

      Not saying that everything black is bad or that most of it is. By no means. There is plenty of black culture I like. For instance there is jumping the broom.

    • Whatever…

      The article CLEARLY states all that I mentioned above, but I guess you all can’t read either. Can’t debate with ignorance, so there’s nothing to see here… *exit stage left*

      • ZZ


        You are clearly lying. AGAIN. I guess you cant read, either. The Slate article credits the Executive Directer of the ILACPD identifying Taylor as being Black – way back in 1974. Greenfield did not identify her as Black.

        You are just another unpricipled leftist, racist moron.

  • v

    The story is important as it shows how the welfare system aided that criminal entity in providing her with the financial means to accomplish her evil deeds, instead of having her work for her livelihood and needless to say that free money afforded her the opportunity to have plenty of time to scheme and commit crimes. What do you think happens in welfare recipient neighborhoods and their children. Drugs, crime, teen pregnancy etc…..They have unearned free cash coming in, and time on their hands. Not to mention the example set by the freeloading parents of those future freeloading children.

  • nobamunism

    The original story is on Slate believe it or not. Worth a read.