Wall Street Journal: 41% of Free Cell Phone Recipients May Be Ineligible

Obama, Call Me Maybe

Remember the “Obama Phone” (her words not mine) woman (real name, Michelle Dowery)? Liberals, please do feel the need to tell me that the program began in the 1980’s.   I didn’t see Obama and his apparatchiks trying to discourage the impression that the One is Lord Bountiful handing out goodies to his peeps.

I wonder if she’s one of the 41% of people who got a free cell phone, even though they are ineligible. From The Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. government spent about $2.2 billion last year to provide phones to low-income Americans, but a Wall Street Journal review of the program shows that a large number of those who received the phones haven’t proved they are eligible to receive them.

he Lifeline program—begun in 1984 to ensure that poor people aren’t cut off from jobs, families and emergency services—is funded by charges that appear on the monthly bills of every landline and wireless-phone customer. Payouts under the program have shot up from $819 million in 2008, as more wireless carriers have persuaded regulators to let them offer the service.Suspecting that many of the new subscribers were ineligible, the Federal Communications Commission tightened the rules last year and required carriers to verify that existing subscribers were eligible. The agency estimated 15% of users would be weeded out, but far more were dropped.

A review of five top recipients of Lifeline support conducted by the FCC for the Journal showed that 41% of their more than six million subscribers either couldn’t demonstrate their eligibility or didn’t respond to requests for certification.

One congressman is asking the question I have been asking, and you may have been as well; that is, why is the government in the business of providing phones to anyone? If the original justification back in 1980’s was to make sure that indigents could call 911 if necessary, I’m sure that we are technologically savvy enough at this point to provide phones that can call only 911.

It’s great to have a cell phone. It’s great to have a smart phone. It’s great to have an iPad. I’m sure you could add to the list of things that are terrific to have. Is it the federal government’s responsibility to provide them?

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