Skip to comments.Cell phones: Theft dressed up as charity
Posted on 07/16/2010 11:23:34 AM PDT by Graybeard58
Sometimes, government programs, subsidies and entitlements need no embellishment. In 2008, TracFone Wireless of Miami began distributing free cell phones to people who get food stamps, welfare or other government assistance. Recipients of the free cell phones are allowed to earn up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level, or no more than $33,075 a year for a family of four.
The phones provide 68 free minutes a month and, in the words of The Philadelphia Inquirer, "they're paid for, in part, by charges on phone bills that the federal government allows carriers to levy." The free cells are covered by the 1984-vintage federal Lifeline program, which requires phone companies to knock up to $10 a month off the phone bills of low-income people. Carriers such as TracFone also get to pass the cost via a monthly charge of $2 a month on the bills of regular customers.
Not surprisingly, some customers are unhappy. Said Kevin Kelly of the Philadelphia political group Loyal Opposition: "This is theft masquerading as charity. If companies want to help the poor, they should take the money out of their own hides, not their customers."
Advocates for the poor see things differently. They argue, in the Inquirer's words, "that cell phones are not luxuries but necessities, as basic to modern life as electricity." One recipient of a free cell explained: "Most people use cell phones to find jobs to get off welfare, or for safety."
As might be expected, there have been no studies of how such phones actually have been used, to arrange job interviews or get-togethers with friends. If we were government officials charged with defending the program, we wouldn't want to know about that, either.
Let me know if you want on or off this Republican-American Editorial ping list.
Odd, I don’t have a cell phone.
It’s all about income redistribution. They may call it a program to help people, but it’s taking money from those who work hard to earn money and give it to those who vote democrat.
Everything in politics is about income redistribution.
The irony is that if the cell phone company told me clearly up front that they were going to charge me an extra couple dollars a month to provide free cell phones to demonstrably poor people, I’d probably agree. Its the arrogance of statutory compulsion that ruins it.
This guy could buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
nonsense. There are millions who don't have cell phones in this country and still get along. There is no one in this country who doesn't use electricity in some form.
I am guessing the free menthol cigarettes and free 40 ounce malt liquor promotions did not go well either.
Cell phones are a Constitutional right! It’s right under that clause that explains the right to kill babies.
Trackphone is owned by Mexican robber baron Carlos Slim. It’s a Mexican company.
My Tracfone costs $100 a year...no monthly fees. The phone was thrown in for free
Thanks for the ping Graybeard. Let ‘em pay for their own damned phones. So many on the welfare circuit live to milk the Socialist parts of the system for anything whether they need it or not.
well how else ya gonna text in your votes for American Idol?
Nope, for me, you can catch me at home or send me an e-mail that I keep open all the time at home or in the office.
Being at constant armlength for anyone who has my number seems way too stressful and aggravating for me.
Where does Kevin think corporations' money comes from ... a hole in the ground? Every cent of revenue came from the *customers*, no matter how the accounting is done.
You turn it off if you don't care to receive calls.
My cellphone only rings when I am called by someone on my whitelist, and I only whitelist people I actually want to talk to. Everyone else is automatically (and silently) shunted to voicemail.
“...on my whitelist”
You must be one of those racist Tea Baggers ;)
I always get a kick out of people’s reaction to me when I’m standing there talking with them, get a phone call, reach for the phone, and click the volume off. (My eyes are so bad and the screen so small I don’t ever bother seeing who is calling).
“Aren’t you going to answer that!?”
“No. I’m speaking with you at the moment.”
Liberty begins when you remember that your cell phone has an “off” setting.
I was in Detroit last September for my 50th High School Reunion. My fellow-Floridian best pal from there said he’d be there in advance and would meet me at DTW and take me to the hotel. I told him that I’d only have carry-on and would be outside. I waited an hour. Finally, I went into the mens room and when I came out, he was waiting for me by the carousel. As we drove out to Livonia, I asked him why he didn’t have a cell phone. We could have had an extra hour of drinking beer with the boys. Bob said he thought that cellphones are nothing more than leashes. I told him to keep on thinking like Fred Flintstone; I look upon my cellphone as a lifeline.
There is no free lunch. Or anything else, either.
You are a class act!