Bill Clinton may have declared in 1996, “The era of big government is over,” but Obama must have missed the message. Never in American history has the era of big government encroached on so many areas of our lives — and with more on the docket. We can now add another one to the list: Safelink Wireless, a “government supported program that provides a free cell phone and airtime each month for income-eligible customers,” all paid for with “Obama money” — and you know where that comes from.
SafeLink is an extension of or adjunct to the FCC program known as “Lifeline and Link-up.” In a nutshell, “poor” people, often already on the dole with other state and federal welfare programs, can apply to receive a free cell phone and 70 minutes of airtime per month from TracFone Wireless, Inc. The Lifeline program pays one-half (up to $30) of installation costs for wired telephone service at a primary residence and provides up to a $10 per month discount for basic monthly service. Oh well, at least these recipients are required to pay some of the costs from their bi-monthly “county” checks. The program uses funds from those little universal service fund (USF) charges that show up on our phone bills. Of course, Lifeline program participants are exempt from USF charges on their bills.
Once again, we’re left scratching our heads and searching for the Article and Section of the Constitution under which free phones can be found.