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.