Skip to comments.Growing Lifeline Program Is Costing American Consumers and Taxpayers (Free Cell Phones)
Posted on 05/03/2012 7:33:01 AM PDT by kcvl
WASHINGTON Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after introducing the Stop Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act (H.R.3481), which will save American consumers billions of dollars in a program many view as an example of government waste:
I have heard from numerous Arkansans who have shared stories of dead relatives receiving free cell phones in the mail, individuals abusing the system by obtaining numerous free cell phones and recently I saw an electronic kiosk in a convenience store promoting free cell phones, all through a government run and taxpayer funded program called Lifeline. My bill returns the Lifeline program back to its original structure by ending federal subsidies for free cell phone services. This growing government cell phone program is costing American consumers and taxpayers, and my bill puts an end to it.
The Lifeline Program was established in 1984 to subsidize landline phone service for low-income individuals. Under the program, telecommunications carriers submit reimbursement requests to the government-run Universal Service Fund (USF) to receive a subsidy for services provided to qualifying low-income subscribers. The USF is funded through fees collected from telecommunications carriers which are directly passed onto their customers, as part their telephone bill.
In 2008, the Lifeline Program was expanded to include wireless service providers. Between 2008 and 2009, non-landline costs for the program doubled from $143 million to $384 million and then doubled again, totaling over $719 million in 2010. Before the certification of the first wireless carrier, the overall Lifeline Program cost $822 million per year, an amount consistent with the previous five years. That number grew to $1.025 billion in 2009 and to $1.315 billion in 2010. According to the Federal Communications Commission, it is common for multiple wireless service providers to seek reimbursement for Lifeline services provided to the same household.
Overwhelm the system, then say "See! See! We told you freedom doesn't work!"
The commies with the agenda KNOW these programs will be abused, and they WANT them to be abused.
The sheeperals are the frustrating ones.
They think they’re doing “good” with these programs.
“Why would you want someone to not be able to make emergency phonecalls?”
Internet services are now subsidized as well.
More spending - yay! (sarc)
Some to me like phone company welfare....Its how you keep big companies from running campaign ads against you!!
I have long had a problem with subsidizing others' phone bills. The original Universal Lifeline tax on our phone bills was to make sure that seniors had access to 911 in case of emergency. Okay, but who, other than skid row bums, doesn't have telephone service, and can't dial 911? It's my understanding that if you have a phone plugged in, and no other service, you can still dial 911. I believe that to be fedgov law. I could be wrong.
NOW! We're supposed to subsidize those with cell phones? If a person can afford to buy a cell phone and the access charges, why do they need anyone to subsidize their phone bill? Someone, please explain this to me. Seriously, I don't get it.
While I share the same outrage at this theft of my money to buy votes from the democrat plantation crowd this link really raises my blood pressure to the tune of $4+ billion.
Please take the time to view this.
I wish it were as simple as Cloward-Piven.
This is more like “Corporate America allowing itself to be co-opted by government in order to gain more business”.
I’m sure that T-Mobile, Cricket, Verizon...all of them lobbied for a program like this to sell phones to people who had no money. They had, after all, pretty much maxed out market share of people who could afford them. So from where is the next growth spurt to come?
Not unlike how the health insurers were not too unhappy to get 50 million new paying customers at gunpoint (the joke may be on them though)
ALL cell phones, past and pressent, access 911 by law.
That’s free—and good enough.
WOW...ILLEGALS getting tax refunds?!!!
I call it the big-government/big-corporate continuing criminal enterprise.
It Gets Worse
As if its not bad enough that youre paying for free cell phone service for other people when its tough enough to pay for your own, it gets even worse.
There are three primary companies providing the LifeLine service SafeLink Wireless, Assurance Wireless and ReachOut Wireless. Safelink, the largest player in the business, is owned by the worlds richest man, Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim.
The free government cell phone scam is very profitable for the companies involved. Obviously. A billionaire like Carlos Slim wouldnt be involved otherwise.
Each customer costs the cell phone company about $3 per month for phone and minutes. But the Universal Service Fund pays the cell phone companies $10 per month for each customer.
FCC Adds Broadband to Free Government Cell Phone Program
CheapInternet.com applauds FCC’s decision to offer Lifeline internet, a low-cost, high-speed broadband service for low income Americans.
February 07, 2012
Theyve been looking into it, studying it, and debating it for years. But now the Federal Communications Commission has finally approved a cheap internet-for-the-poor program similar to Lifeline, its existing free government cell phone program.
Millions of low income Americans have been waiting for this, Mark Henry, editor of CheapInternet.com said. Lifeline internet is going to make it a lot easier for low-income adults to get jobs and a lot easier for poor children to succeed in school.
Participants in the program, officially named Connect America, will be required to pay just $10 per month for high-speed broadband service. But the program is so closely allied with the Lifeline free government cell phone program that Henry expects the monthly fee to be eliminated in the future.
According to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, they intend to fund a $25 million pilot program by cracking down on fraud in the Lifeline phone program and using the savings to pay for the new benefits. Genachowski says they have already begun auditing Lifeline phone vendors to ferret out fraud and the effort has so far uncovered almost 270,000 fraudulent subscriptions in 12 states.
The FCC Chairman predicts that the changes will save as much as $2 billion over the next few years, far more than is needed to fund the beginnings of the cheap internet program.
Broadband has gone from being a luxury to being a necessity, Henry added. This program is exactly what low income Americans need to succeed.
An easy way to fix this is to make the “Lifeline Phone” a dedicated one function device. It has only one button, and that button dials “911” (or the equivalent cell number).
Keeps the desired original functionality and eliminates the possibility of abuse.
See post #16
The FCC raised the tax on all phone service to 17% in order to fund this outrage.