A Few Words On “Bread Lines And Government Cheese”

Depression-era bread line in New York City.

We posted yesterday about an interview this week of GOP freshman calamity on wheels Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert of Colorado by leading right-wing fringe mouthpiece Sebastian Gorka, in which Boebert asserted that a “disarmed populace” would lead to the eating of dogs. An explanation of the sequence of events between the disarming of the people and the eating of dogs would have really helped our suspension of disbelief, but none was forthcoming.

This is, after all, Lauren Boebert we’re talking about.

But there was one other comment from Rep. Boebert in this interview, which of course met no critical analysis from Seb Gorka, that we’ve heard from Boebert a few times now–enough that it deserves just one more moment of our valuable time:


BOEBERT: Yes, so Dr. Gorka, on my upbringing–I lived under failed policies. I lived in a Democrat household, and I saw first-hand experience firsthand how restrictive their policies are. There’s not a lot of liberty under Democratic rule, in fact that left us in bread lines waiting for government cheese, and I knew that that was not America’s best at 11 years old.

The “bread line” addition to this line from Boebert is new, but Boebert has made much of her childhood allegedly spent “standing in line for government cheese”:

Lauren Boebert, as readers know, was born in December of 1986 in the Orlando, Florida metro area. That would have made Boebert 11 years old in 1998. Two years before that in 1996, President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, a.k.a. “the end of welfare as we know it.” With a lifetime cap of five years of federal welfare benefits and a work requirement, it was a huge victory for the Republican majority in Congress.

1980s Soviet bread line.

Setting aside the fact that the stereotype of lifetime welfare ended years before Boebert claims to have stood “in bread lines waiting for government cheese,” the clear implication is there was some kind of food shortage or economic disruption caused by “Democratic rule” in 1998 that forced her family into these mythical bread lines.

Well folks, we were alive in 1998 too, and our clear recollection is that the grocery store shelves were always full. Nationwide, unemployment remained steady throughout 1998 at about 4.5%. If there was a moment during the boom years of the late 1990s during which Lauren Boebert’s family required food assistance, they probably did need it and we won’t judge them for it–but most people in America at this time in history did not. In the late 1990s, the percentage of Americans receiving food assistance was in steep decline before growing again…under Republican President George W. Bush.

Boebert’s style of rapid-fire falsehoods meant to overwhelm any attempt at fact-checking often succeeds in the overall goal of forcing anyone hoping to hold her accountable to throw in the towel. We try hard in this space to be selective about what we engage from Boebert, simply because we don’t have the time to police her every word and still keep up with other stories we’re expected to cover.

But this “bread line” stuff is inexcusably, demonstrably false–and more than that, an affront to Americans from previous generations who actually endured that kind of economic hardship, and didn’t complain about the food they got from Uncle Sam.

Add this to the list of Boebertisms we wish there was enough time in the day to refute.

12 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. westslope says:

    Her faithful don’t care. At all. They don’t care if it’s wrong, it’s what they feel.

    It’s truly amazing how utterly stupid some people are.

  2. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Boebert is a CINO (Conservative In Name Only). 

  3. DavidThi808 says:

    Did they have lines of any kind back then or now? I thought they just got a special kind of charge card and then went to King Soopers for their groceries.

    Maybe there are lines at food banks?

  4. joe_burly says:

    Not to mention that if she did in fact need that "government cheese" then it was in fact a social safety net that kept her alive… the very thing that allowed her to live out her American dream.

  5. Duke Cox says:

    Come now, my friends. This is Lauren we're talking about. You aren't trying to make sense of her gibberish, are you?

    Interesting exercise…but, likely causes brain damage.😁

  6. Old Time Dem says:

    The Agriculture and Food Act of 1981, which created the government cheese program, was signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1981. The chief sponsor of the bill was Jesse Helms.

    Socialist scum, both of them.

  7. JohnInDenver says:

    My recollection of the "government cheese" program agrees with Wikipedia's article, that says "Government cheese is a commodity cheese that was controlled by the US federal government from World War II to the early 1980s. Government cheese was created to maintain the price of dairy when dairy industry subsidies artificially increased the supply of milk and created a surplus of milk that was then converted into cheese, butter, or powdered milk."

    The 1981 Farm Act actually lowered payments for cheese and "In 1981, the Reagan administration decided to distribute free processed cheese to America's poor under the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program." 

    When did cheese distribution end?  "Government cheese was nominally removed in the 1990s when the dairy market stabilized."

    So Boebert must have an eccentric memory — most 5- and 6-year-olds do not have vivid memories of sources of food.

  8. st0ry says:

    So her family was getting SNAP benefits in the middle of the dot-com boom…. Yeah ok.. sure. 🙄 

    Not sure who she thinks her audience is, but anyone over 45 should be able to smell this for what it is..

  9. kwtree says:

    There were times in the late 80s and early 90s when as a single mom, or when hubs wasn’t working, we were eligible for and got WIC benefits , including government cheese. There was a short line- There were forms to fill out, sometimes a caseworker to see, and then you filed on through and got your box of commodities.
    Maybe 20 minutes total, and the milk, 5 # brick of cheese, flour, beans, canned veggies , peanut butter, and canned beef were all high quality and welcome. It made great grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni & cheese. Nowadays, we’d turn up our noses at it cuz we’re dairy or gluten free or organic only, and those commodities were none of those things. 
    But I was grateful for it at the time, and the kids, who are of Boebert’s generation, liked  it well enough.

    It doesn’t seem to have scarred them emotionally or anything- in fact, my son is nostalgic about the “Commodity cheese”.

    My understanding is that it also gave farmers a market for their products.

    And far from being a “Democrat program”, the linked article indicates that it was Saint Reagan who blessed or cursed us with “gubmint cheese”.

  10. 2Jung2Die says:

    I've had government cheese, but I don't think the experience turned me into either Trotsky or into Ayn Rand. It was no more than a nice little supplement when I wasn't wealthy and affording food wasn't easy, and like what kwtree said it basically made for a few weeks of grilled cheese and mac-n-cheese. It didn't turn me into a government junkie, I went out and got jobs to the best of my ability, and some of those jobs were fairly awful but I worked exactly as I would have with or without "el queso."

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