The video is drawing attention to the government program — Lifeline — as a national debate unfolds on entitlements and the growing percentage of Americans who pay no income taxes and get a long menu of government benefits. But even though some beneficiaries may credit President Obama for providing the phones, Lifeline is an extension of a program that has existed since 1985. Still, critics including Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., note the program has swelled from $772 million in 2008 to $1.6 billion.I'm pretty sure that's the part that Reagan didn't envision...
“It's a government-run, taxpayer-funded program that's running wild and costing more and more,” reads Griffin’s official House of Representatives website.
Private carriers who contract with the government, including TracPhone and Sprint, have websites intended to publicize the program. Some attempt to dispel the program’s connection to the president, such as freegovernmentcellphones.net, while others, including obamaphone.net, embrace it.
“The free Obama phone is an important program, especially for low income families that would otherwise not have access to basic communications,” the homepage of obamaphone.net reads.
The site does, however, clarify that Obama did not start the program and that there's no such thing as an "Obama phone."
"It’s true that government provides free cellphones to the poor and disabled people," the site reads. "But the Obama part is not true as Obama didn’t initiate this program. It’s on the run [sic] since the administration of Reagan."
Griffin, who introduced H.R. 3481 in November to end the program, claims to have evidence of dead people getting free cell phones in the mail, ineligible people getting multiple phones and electronic kiosks in convenience stores to encourage people to get the phones.
“The truth is, though, that taxpayers are footing the bill,” the website reads. “The program is called Lifeline, but in reality it's turned into Uncle Sam's Unlimited Plan.”
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Free Phones For All
The Free Stuff crowd might like the idea of an "Obamaphone", but not everyone does: