Republicans don’t like spending government money on anything, not schools, not healthcare. So why the hell did they ever sponsor a government cheese program?
In 1981, the Reagan Administration started giving away its stockpiled cheese. “Government cheese” was almost a curse word in the 1980s and 1990s. When processed cheese was first invented, it was used everywhere. It was even a staple of a soldier’s food pack, and distributed to the poor all over the nation. Over time, however, this cheese had a stockpile that was so large that America decided to give it away.
The only problem was that there was so much cheese that it would mold before it would ever get to the low-income families it was designed to help.
Why Is Government Cheese So Hated?
There were three problems with the government cheese program.
- Many people who received the free cheese were lactose intolerant.
- The logistics of refrigerating and transporting free cheese was incredibly expensive.
- Not everyone received the cheese even though they qualified for it.
That’s not to say there aren’t fond memories of government cheese. The government put in melting requirements for it that made it fun to use for baking. If you had government cheese at home, then you undoubtedly made crazy good grilled cheese sandwiches, baked omelets, or a tuna casserole from that other free staple of government food, canned tuna.
Government cheese programs faded from memory when the cheap reserves dwindled. Thanks to income stagnation, people are moving back toward the purchase of huge blocks of preserved cheese to make their money go further today. We may not have fond memories of poverty, but at least the cheese wasn’t too bad when you were hungry.