8 episodes

Linda Taylor was a con artist, a kidnapper, maybe even a murderer. She was also America’s original “welfare queen,” the villain Ronald Reagan needed to create a vision of a country being taken advantage of by its poorest citizens. Josh Levin reveals the never-before-told story of a woman whose singular life was forgotten in the rush to create a vicious American stereotype.

The Queen Slate Magazine

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.0, 652 Ratings

Linda Taylor was a con artist, a kidnapper, maybe even a murderer. She was also America’s original “welfare queen,” the villain Ronald Reagan needed to create a vision of a country being taken advantage of by its poorest citizens. Josh Levin reveals the never-before-told story of a woman whose singular life was forgotten in the rush to create a vicious American stereotype.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
652 Ratings

652 Ratings

bebyta ,

Monotone tone of voice

The story is interesting but repetitive, and the very passive tone of voice puts me to sleep. It needs to be a little more up pace and lest about the book

hawthornekm ,

Interesting but repetitive

I found the subject fascinating but it was a bit repetitive. It definitely felt like a book promotion, rather than a stand alone podcast.

drbeat ,

Debunking a harmful stereotype...sort of.

Other reviewers refer to the subject of this pod, Linda Taylor, as enigmatic, charismatic, fascinating, etc. but the bottom line is that this person was a criminal. It’s hard to enjoy this pod when its aim, at least in part, is to convince you to feel some empathy for a wholly loathsome (quite possibly) sociopathic narcissist.

This might work for The Sopranos. Not here.

Did she have a difficult upbringing? Sure. So have many others who did not turn to crime and defrauding others.

Is she deserving of being the archetype for a welfare queen? Perhaps not. Her exploitation and defrauding of the welfare system was inflated - as this pod takes pains to illustrate - but she DID exploit and defraud the program and, by extension, the American taxpayer.

This pod focuses on the political context but downplays her personal culpability for her actions. As the saying goes, “karma is a ——“ and - at least for this listener - contextualizing, much less excusing her actions is a waste when we could be examining the lives of honorable people with this level of focus and energy.

I tapped out after 3 episodes, YMMV.

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