Sunday, February 17, 2013

More on the Obamaphone, an update

An article in the New York Post on 2-17-13 added the following information about this program. I have rephrased much of the information taking away the pro Obama rhetoric that gives him credit for cutting back the program. The writer makes it clear others started the program and got out of hand through no fault of Obama; It said hordes of critics attacked the president in 2012 for giving away free cellphones to the poor, with the tab covered by fees on every cell and land-line user in the country. The federal program is a perfect example of a government program run a muck, and a $2.2 billion lesson in what happens when Washington’s good intentions go bad. The feds created the Lifeline program in 1984 to provide landlines (and thus a connection of last resort to emergency services, job prospects and family members) in even the poorest homes.

Under Bill Clinton, the program was expanded, and in 2008 — at the behest of wireless carriers and on George W. Bush’s watch — the feds started offering free cellphones, too. The only requirement was that recipients be on Medicaid, food stamps or another state or federal welfare program. All those minutes added up: Last year, the government funneled $2.2 billion to the phone cartels to cover the cost of Lifeline. But the feds never required proof from cell carriers that their millions of Lifeline users were truly needy. No surprise, the program has nearly tripled in cost since 2008. Only last year did the FCC last force carriers to verify that Lifeline users needed aid after it found the program was riddled with "fraud and waste".

Some 41% of Lifeline cell subscribers failed to show that they were eligible, which means the FCC will be cutting the Lifeline rolls and the cost of the program. It’s easy to see why people want free cell phones. But it’s also clear why the big carriers were eager for their business. With so many Americans having cells carriers have a hard time finding new clients that actually pay their bills, this has been an easy way to drum up new business. By having the government cover the costs for millions of new customers the real face of corporate welfare is exposed. A lifeline that was supposed to help poor Americans now helps companies like Sprint and AT&T.

It should be added that this the government loves this because it garners votes for those in power at the same time that it makes the economy appear better and stronger then it really is. I have no information concerning the line, "Only last year did the FCC last force carriers to verify that Lifeline users needed aid after it found the program was riddled with fraud and waste." I do not know what this means. Did orders go out to tighten verification guideline early or very late in the year, and if they even did, what are the details? To view my previous post on what is known as the Obamaphone go to;

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