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News & Politics News & Politics

Free Cellphones Cost Taxpayers $1.6 BILLION

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 (moneyland. time. com)

Last year, a federal program paid out $1.6 billion to cover free cell phones and the monthly bills of 12.5 million wireless accounts. The program, overseen by the FCC and intended to help low-income Americans, is popular for obvious reasons. But observers complain that the program suffers from poor oversight.

on phone

by on May. 24, 2012 at 2:49 PM
Replies (41-50):
im23vaughn
by Bronze Member on May. 25, 2012 at 12:05 AM

I think a PP stated, she gets a $10 credit on her government phone every month. So what you are saying is that what the government pays per person is less than a house phone & about equal to the wireless phone you have? So I guess it is cheaper.

Quoting godotherightthi:

 We have very basic landline - use a calling card for long distance - it's $15/month.  We also have very basic prepaid cheap flip cell phones.  It was $100 to get established, purchase the phone and then we went with automatic double minutes.  We don't use the cell phones often, I usually turn it off for church and then forget to turn it back on.  I don't buy minutes every month, but it averages to about $10/month if not less.

Quoting im23vaughn:

I know you can get a cellphone with unlimited talk and text for $30 a month. I'd think a landline would be around $15 a month before all those FCC taxes. Then it would depend on if VM is free or not. I think the last time I got a phone I winded up paying around $25a month without VM, but I really can't remember. So it's comparable.

I think it was put in place for 1. victims of DV. 2. to help people get jobs.

I think just like with every government program there needs to be harsher oversight. I remember during Bush's presidency, they called it the Bush phone. Now it's called the Obama phone.  Looks like it was implemented in the 90s. Then in Aug & Sept 08 tracphone & other wireless companies got involved.

Quoting jaxTheMomm:

Is a local landlline cheaper thant a cell phone at this point?

I have no idea.  We have only cells and Vonage.

 

 

 


cedailey
by on May. 25, 2012 at 12:41 AM

It is stupid. That credit they force on me every month? I had purchased my own phone, and chosen my own plan. Was paying it all by myself. Right after the kids' re-evaluation for Medicaid, it popped up : You have received a $9.50 lifeline credit. For more information, go to www..... I'm not overly comfortable that Health and Human services appearantly cross matches names with the phone company to find us. I've also received paperwork to "renew" my assistance for electric, that I never requested, and no one will tell my why they are trying to force MORE PA on me. I am not happy that I need what I have now. Sure I qualify for housing, and TANF, and energy assistance, but I don't NEED it.

mommygiggles317
by Silver Member on May. 25, 2012 at 1:21 AM

FactCheck.org: Congressman's Slippery Cell Phone Claim

love you signExercising Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding...

matreshka
by Gold Member on May. 25, 2012 at 6:50 AM

I believe its tracphone.

Quoting mehamil1:

I would love to know which cell phone carrier is making billions of dollars from the government with this program. I bet you anything that it was their idea too. They probably sent a lobby for this program and have gotten stupid rich as a result.

Kinda like how Halliburton has made off like kings with the Iraq war. They were charging the government $80 for toilet seats. Like one toilet seat. 

This shit happens all the damn time. Look to the people who get these programs pulled off, what companies they are from and what the motives are. 


matreshka
by Gold Member on May. 25, 2012 at 6:52 AM
1 mom liked this

It is impossible to get a job without a phone, unless you are doing day labor or something like that. but for a a steady job you need a phone number more than you need an address, that can always be a PO box, a relative's or a shelters'.

Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

 I don't think we should be subsidizing convenience for convenience's sake.  But, if there is some way that this program saves money on the back end (for example, it makes it easier for people to get a job since they now have a cell phone, thus, enabling them to get off of other forms of assistance), then I might be able to see justification for it.  However, there needs to be serious oversight since a program like this is so obviously open to abuse.


bluespagan
by on May. 25, 2012 at 7:34 AM

 I would like to know why they feel low income families need cell phones.  I can see it if they are enrolled in a jobs program or something like that but just getting cell phones for the sake of having them seems wasteful to me.  I wonder if a lobbyist for AT&T or Sprint is behind this.  I would also like to know which cell company is raking in the cash for this one.

JakeandEmmasMom
by Gold Member on May. 25, 2012 at 8:38 AM
I agree. And I admit I don't know all of the particulars of the program, so this may be the case -- but I don't think they should be giving cell phones to people who have a landline just because they meet the income requirement. I don't believe that's a wise use of our money. But, like I said, if it helps them get a job, then I'm all for doing whatever we can to help with that.

Quoting matreshka:

It is impossible to get a job without a phone, unless you are doing day labor or something like that. but for a a steady job you need a phone number more than you need an address, that can always be a PO box, a relative's or a shelters'.

Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

 I don't think we should be subsidizing convenience for convenience's sake.  But, if there is some way that this program saves money on the back end (for example, it makes it easier for people to get a job since they now have a cell phone, thus, enabling them to get off of other forms of assistance), then I might be able to see justification for it.  However, there needs to be serious oversight since a program like this is so obviously open to abuse.


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
pvtjokerus
by Gold Member on May. 25, 2012 at 8:50 AM

No, but it sure as hell is continuing under the welfare president.

Quoting matreshka:

Do you think that poor government oversight started with Obama?


butlerro1013
by Bronze Member on May. 25, 2012 at 8:58 AM

So, the subsidization of phones began under President Clinton, and has continued under Presidents Bush and Obama. 

Over that time, the usage of cell phones rose and the costs came down. Assuming one believes in the Lifeline program in the first place, and remembering that the FCC has mandated the program, it only makes sense to expand the phone assistance program to include cell phones. So, in 2008 the first application of this program for mobile phones began when a company called Tracfone started their Safelink Wireless service in Tennessee.
Aha, some say, that’s the same year Obama was elected! Well, that’s true. But the service in Tennessee was launched three months prior to Obama being elected. And that means the discussion and approval of the extension of the program occurred under President Bush’s watch. 

The Bush Phone, anyone?

butlerro1013
by Bronze Member on May. 25, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Also, taxpayers spent $700 Billion to bail out the banks and you are worried about cellphones to folks who truly need them.  Boggles the mind.

I don't object to the program in principle but it does need proper oversight, obviously.

Communication is an essential tool in the modern world. How can we say that there is a level playing field to someone who doesn't even have a phone number?

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