Public Option Phones

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.

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4 Comments

Filed under Patriot Post

4 responses to “Public Option Phones

  1. Lynnette

    The president has nothing to do with this phone and no direct impact on the program, one could hardly call these devices “Obama Phones.” This specific program, SafeLink, started under President George Bush, with grants from an independent company created under President Bill Clinton, which was a legacy of an act passed under President Franklin Roosevelt, which was influenced by an agreement reached between telecommunications companies and the administration of President Woodrow Wilson.

  2. nhiemstra

    You miss the point. I’m no fan of Bush, either. This is beyond the responsibility of our Government. No where in the Constitution is any of this allowed. We have drifted so far from the original design of our nation, it’s sad to hear your comment. In a famous incident in 1854, President Franklin Pierce was pilloried for vetoing an extremely popular bill intended to help mentally ill. The act was championed by the renowned 19th century social reformer Dorothea Dix. In the face of heavy criticism, Pierce countered: “I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for the public charity.” To approve such spending, argued Pierce, “would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.” We need Statesmen who will return us to a Constitutionally Limited Republic.

  3. Ronnie McMillan

    But…Is this really a bad thing?

    Not at all. This is actually a very good example of a public-private initiative.

    The money has been collected by 25+ years and was applied to landlines. Under the Bush Administration, the program began to include cheapo, low-end cell phones (the ones that sell for under $10 at gas stations and discount stores).

    TracFone provides the phones and minutes, and the recipients can buy more as needed.

    I could see being upset if they gave away cars, iPhones or cable TV, but Tracfones are hardly luxury items and it’s not worth getting worked up about, truly.

  4. Real Manny

    I read that the socialists have signed up Virgin mobile too. I read that they have an Obama-phone coming up next.

    It’s just great that these bums can get free phones and Virgin, a British company, is going to be soaking up US taxpayer bucks to give “poor people” free phones.

    Hurry up Sarah!

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