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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

The Obama Phone Myth and using the poor as scapegoats

Posted by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 6:51 PM
  • 22 Replies
1 mom liked this

GOP Congressman Scapegoats Low-Income Americans In Campaign Against Cell Phone Program

Conservatives stirred up outrage this summer over the “Obama phone,” which they claimed was a free cell phone handed out by President Obama to low-income people in exchange for their votes. In fact, the Lifeline phone program was first conceived in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan as a way to help Americans below the poverty line connect to jobs, family and emergency services. Nor are the phones free; Lifeline provides low-income Americans with a monthly subsidy of $9.25 for cell phones or land lines.

Nevertheless, one Republican congressman, Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) is taking advantage of the renewed political firestorm to push stalled legislation that would gut the program. Griffin wants to take away the prepaid cell phones that were introduced to the Lifeline plan in 2005 under George W. Bush. In a video promoting his bill, Griffin points to the Universal Service charges on phone bills as evidence of the “wasteful program.”

Though Griffin is trying to convince consumers they are paying for a “cell phone giveaway” for poor people, the Lifeline program is actually only one part of this fee. The Universal Service fee also covers the cost of providing “reasonable rates for those living in rural and high-cost areas, income-eligible consumers, rural health care facilities, and schools and libraries.” The companies with a Universal Service charge have chosen to pass on the cost to the consumer. The fee is usually around $2.50 to $2.75 a month per family. In 2011, Universal Services programs cost $8.1 billion, with $1.75 billion going to the Lifeline phone program for 13.7 million households.

Griffin’s proposal to restrict the program to landlines is also impractical, as people living in poverty are very unlikely to own a permanent residence they could install a landline. A CDC survey in 2010 found that adults living in poverty are far more likely to depend on a cell phone than higher income people who also have a landline.

Moreover, Griffin’s bill ignores cost-saving reforms that the FCC already began implementing at the beginning of 2012. The Lifeline program now has databases that prevent multiple subsidized phones per person and more efficiently tracks people who are eligible for the phones. There is also a new rule that restricts phones to one per household. These reforms are projected to save $2 billion in 3 years.

by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 6:51 PM
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Replies (1-10):
candlegal
by Judy on Dec. 29, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Are you calling this woman a liar?


blues_pagan
by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:01 PM
2 moms liked this

That woman is seriously misinformed.

Is this the best that you could come up with?

Quoting candlegal:

Are you calling this woman a liar?



celestegood
by Silver Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:06 PM
4 moms liked this
So few people know the facts about this program. Thanks for posting!
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autodidact
by Platinum Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:07 PM
1 mom liked this

as opposed to the eloquence of the Tea party?

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:07 PM
Obviously misinformed

Should I post all the stupid misinformed repubs?


Quoting candlegal:

Are you calling this woman a liar?


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:08 PM
Ronald Regan the union thug was the welfare queen he lied about
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celestegood
by Silver Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:08 PM
One I hear often is how fancy the phones are. They are just basic phones. I have a disabled friend who has one. Its a cheap basic tracfone.
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MrsErdos2011
by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:09 PM
1 mom liked this

Really? YouTube? That's such a reliable source

Quoting candlegal:

Are you calling this woman a liar?



I may not be a perfect wife or mother but I am perfect in the eyes of my son and my husband and that is all that matters.

blues_pagan
by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM
2 moms liked this

Loved the sign, "Unarmed, this time".

Thought the tea party was all peaceful and stuff. 

throwing up

Quoting autodidact:

as opposed to the eloquence of the Tea party?


stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:25 PM
2 moms liked this

How do you suppose anyone can get a job or handle a medical emergency without a phone?  How is a landline cheaper than a cheap pre-paid cell?  This is just viliification and hype.  All those idiots talking about how people on welfare get iphones and such are just jumping on the bandwagon.  It's the same BS story as the woman with nails and a coach bag buying steak and lobster with her food stamps.  It's just so stupid, considering you can look up how much people get in food stamps and divide it by the number of people and the number of weeks it will last.

Just bs.

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