Correct. So when the article Sam linked to claims it was Clinton, then summarizes the story with, “Now that you have all the facts…”, it makes it rather hard to believe much else they printed.
Still, people are taking WAY too much advantage of a program that’s original intent was to aid people who were homebound in case of an emergency. While I don’t have too much of a problem with that, I do wonder where the FCC got the authority to implement and/or enforce such a plan.
It was when cell phones got added to the program that it exploded with all the unintended consequences. Here is one example in AR where Rep. Griffin is trying to address (and fix) the problems:
No one likes paying cell phone bills. What if you could get a free phone with a calling plan whose cost was paid by the federal government? What if you could have eight free cell phones? You can, and people do, Rep. Tim Griffin told The Daily Caller. The annual bill runs over $1 billion, and he’s trying to stop it.
The federal government started the Lifeline program to provide phones to low-income Americans. It originally provided only landlines, but cell phones were added several years ago.
“That’s when the program absolutely exploded and has become a nightmare,” Griffin said in a phone interview with TheDC. Calling it “Uncle Sam’s unlimited plan,” the Arkansas Republican has proposed a bill that would scale back the program to its original form: landlines only.
“People are not only getting [one free cell phone], they’re getting multiples. There are reports of people getting 10, 20, 30 — just routinely getting more than one, selling them, storing them up, whatever,” Griffin said.
“And they’re not just phones that are able to dial 911. They’re smartphones. They’re the type of phones that you and I pay hundreds of dollars a month to have contracts for.”
Read more: Ark. congressman wants to disconnect $1 billion free cell phone program | The Daily Caller
Another article that exposes the REAL numbers, and why there is a problem: (They got the “mid-80’s part” right, and graph real numbers, state by state, I’ve a tendancy to think it’s accurate:)
Program participation was stable from 2005 to 2008, from 6.9 million to 7.1 million participants, but increased to 8.6 million in 2009. Likewise, support payments were relatively stable from 2005 to 2008, from $802 million to $823 million annually, before increasing to approximately $1 billion in 2009.
And the freebies won’t end with basic calling service. As part of the effort to extend broadband, the FCC has been discussing making broadband service part of the Lifeline program. In other words, taxpayers could soon be paying for smartphone features on these free government phones.
The real question is why American consumers should be providing free cell phones and free monthly talk time to 10 million people in the first place.
Spending Off the Hook: Free Phones Costing Taxpayers $2.1 Billion Per Year
Obviously, it’s gotten out of hand. I just got through paying and EXTRA $15.36 on my phone bills - not to help the needy, but as a hand-out to free loaders!
And just like everybody else, I’m getting MORE than a little tired of it! :mad: