Washington Footing the Cell Phone Bill for Millions of Low Income Americans
Before cell phones became popular, people used to pay to have home phone lines. If you couldn’t afford a home phone, you had nothing (other than smoke signals), or you had to pay money and use a public pay phone. So I’m wondering when this type of mentality changed? Since when did government think it a good idea to waste people’s tax money to fund free phones and airtime for the low-income people? I don’t recall being given a home phone when I couldn’t afford one, let alone free phone calls. Can you? So American tax payer, yes, you suckers, have forked over $1.6 billion in 2011 alone to cover these free phones and the monthly bills for 12.5 million accounts! Congrats! This is what the entitlement culture brings you. Pretty soon you won’t be able to remove this type of program because it will be seen as a right – just like Obama is now trying to force Catholic organisations to pay for women’s contraception as, apparently, it’s a women’s right to have it. This is how big government creeps into our lives. They start by giving candy out for free until the public are hooked, and then they force tax payers to keep funding the candy for those who can’t afford it – and pretty soon you’re sitting with candy no one can afford. Then the next new candy comes along and so the cycle repeats itself. Why can’t people see this? Well, because they’re used to the free stuff and want more – it’s addictive don’t you know. They just don’t get it that someone is paying for their free candy – just as long as it’s not them paying then who cares? Currently 47% of Americans don’t pay income tax – that means that 53% of Americans are paying for the other half to live, yet they all get to vote equally. Who do you think the 47% are going to vote for? The people who give them free stuff or people who tell them to act responsible? Yeah, go think about that as it’s a hard one to answer! So, when America tips to over 50% moochers, then the country won’t ever be able to recover……and Obama can’t wait to tip them over. Watch the video below to hear about just how bloated the US government has become since 2008 and then run for your lives and hide your cash under the mattress.
Last summer, a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story shed some light on a government program that relatively few Americans knew existed. The Lifeline program provides low-income Americans with free cell phones (basic ones such as those made by Tracfone, not smartphones) and covers up to 250 free minutes each month. As many as 5.5 million residents in Pennsylvania alone could qualify for the program, which is funded primarily by the Universal Service Fund fee added to the bills of land-line and wireless customers.
The program came to be after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed, and the FCC created the Universal Service Fund to help “to promote the availability of quality services at just, reasonable, and affordable rates,” among other things. All telecommunications carriers must pay into the fund, and many do so by tacking on a fee to each of their customers’ bills. It’s probably added into your monthly wireless bill and your landline bill, if you still have one.
The Universal Service Fund provides discounts on phone services, or in some cases, entirely free services to low-income Americans. The fund helps pay for landlines or cell phones, whichever the recipient prefers. There’s also a one-time discount of up to $30 to cover an installation fee or a cell phone. Considering how cheap some cell phones are nowadays, the money more than covers the costs of a basic phone. Then, the fund covers phone bills to the tune of $10 a month, which typically translates as 250 minutes for wireless plans of the types of phones we’re talking about. Americans who receive food stamps, Medicaid, or other federal aid, or who earn up to 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, qualify for the program.
Now, Bloomberg Businessweek reports, we have a pretty good idea of how much the program pays out — and how quickly it’s growing as more and more people find out about it. In 2011, Lifeline paid out $1.6 billion, more than double the amount paid in 2008 ($772 million).
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