A Correction

January 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Yesterday I learned that one of the rants I posted on this blog included a false accusation.  This is intended to correct it.

On September 10, 2010, I posted an item entitled “Charity and Government”.   I directed most of my bile toward Ronald Reagan, especially regarding his often repeated charge about a “welfare queen” who drove her “welfare Cadillac” and generally enjoyed the high life while gorging herself at the liberals’ misguided and generous government trough, financed with money wrongfully confiscated by taxing hardworking entrepreneurs.

I repeated what I had read:  That, in response to Reagan’s claims, several investigative reporters conducted determined searches for such a “welfare queen” and could not find her.  The obvious conclusion, which I repeated, was that her existence was just one more of Reagan’s lies.

Last night, while watching Oliver Stone’s episode regarding Reagan’s presidency, a reproduction of a Washington Post story flashed across the screen.  It concerned the trial of Linda Taylor of Chicago, on trial on several counts of fraud, who had used multiple identities to bilk the government out of lots of money in the form of Social Security benefits and various other kinds of federally financed welfare benefits.  And yes, she had a garage full of fancy cars, including a Cadillac.

A few minutes of Google searching disclosed that both the Washington Post and the NY Times had carried the story.  It was also described in a biography of Reagan.   I learned that Chris Matthews, like me, had recently accused Reagan of lying about it and had been rebuked by a media-watching group for doing so.

So, Reagan may have lied about Iran-Contra and several other things, but he did not lie about the ‘welfare queen”.    I should have done more research before adding that charge to my complaints about him.

I know there is a hint of hubris about posting this correction.  Something like, “Who the hell cares, Bob?  What makes you think anyone notices what you did or didn’t get right?”  I agree, but I choose to post this because it enables me to stop thinking about it; a sort of intellectual absolution.

This information has not changed my assessment of Reagan’s mentality.  The fact that he found one  dishonest claimant did not justify his use of that discovery to defame every person who is saved from poverty by our grossly inadequate “safety net”.   He was just as cruel as I perceived him to be.  He just didn’t lie about that particular matter.

After all, if we want to be for “truth, justice and the American way”, we must be truthful.

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