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Federal Government spent $1.6 Billion for free cell phones

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Real World, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    This is outrageous. The sooner we become Greece the better. I saw on Freedom Watch last night that for the first time in US history, people living off the dole have more disposable income than the average american worker. $32,500 in bennies for the deadbeat per year, compared to $32,200 after taxes for the working fool.

    Hoverounds, free cells, food stamps, etc. The working man is a sucker.



    Washington Footing the Cell Phone Bill for Millions of Low Income Americans

    By BRAD TUTTLE | Time.com – 18 hrs ago...


    Last year, a federal program paid out $1.6 billion to cover free cell phones and the monthly bills of 12.5 million wireless accounts. The program, overseen by the FCC and intended to help low-income Americans, is popular for obvious reasons, with participation rising steeply since 2008, when the government paid $772 million for phones and monthly bills. But observers complain that the program suffers from poor oversight, in which phones go to people who don't qualify, and hundreds of thousands of those who do qualify have more than one phone.

    Last summer, a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story shed some light on a government program that relatively few Americans knew existed. (Read more about it here.) The Lifeline program provides low-income Americans with free cell phones (basic ones such as those made by Tracfone, not smartphones) and covers up to 250 free minutes each month. As many as 5.5 million residents in Pennsylvania alone could qualify for the program, which is funded primarily by the Universal Service Fund fee added to the bills of land-line and wireless customers.


    Washington Footing the Cell Phone Bill for Millions of Low Income Americans - Yahoo! News
  2. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Change We Can Believe In


    Yes We Can

    What a nice day, I think I'll play some Golf.
  3. Drewski

    Drewski Rookie

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    "Dear Eight Pound, Six Ounce, Newborn Baby Jesus, in your golden, fleece diapers, with your curled-up, fat, balled-up little fists pawin' at the air..."


    Please make this stop...seriously....human beings existed for millenia without cell phones, there is no need to publicly subsidize a program for cell phones for low income citizens.

    I could come up with tons of meaningful ways to help needy people with the $1.6B this program paid out.

    Where's Terry Bradshaw with his 1-800-COLLECT commercials when you need him.
  4. DarrylS

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    From the article, can see it for elderly who are housebound.. but limits are needed..

    It is part of your phone bill..

    Once again this type of program benefits the telecom provider as much as the person using the phone..

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  5. Drewski

    Drewski Rookie

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    Everyone benefits...except the people paying for this service (anyone with a cellphone, paying their own bill).

    I am happy to help those who are truly needy with the items they truly need to survive.

    However, a cell phone is not a need, and to your point, there are limits needed to ensure this program isnt being abused.
  6. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  7. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    A cell phone may not be needed, but some sort of phone is pretty important. It can be needed for somebody to get a job, and for the elderly, especially, it can be important for health reasons.

    if the issue is cell phone versus landline, I'd ask whether the costs are much different.
  8. Ilikehappyppl

    Ilikehappyppl Rookie

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    We spend upwards of 600 billion a year for our Military...
    We spend upwards of 60 billion a year in tax breaks for the rich(Bush tax cuts)
    We spent upwards of 3 trillion on Tarp to bail out banks and finical institutions

    In reality 1.6 billion is nothing when it comes to our spending habits, I agree this is a little high but it helps people! You want to know the real problem is???
    People don't make enough to afford things, if everyone made a fair wage we would not need programs, we would not need cell phone help.....

    You can cut this program as soon as you get rid of the tax breaks for the rich and cut defense is half, until then deal with it! As long as we give the rich welfare the rest of us should be able to get help when we need it!:cool:

    I have no issue with programs that help people, if you do that's cool.....I can look outside my box and realize why we need programs like these, unemployment is still high and people get paid ****, rising food cost, gas,rent,insurance, I could go on and on but i won't cause you get the point! If people are paid a fair wage they don't need programs! So lets fix the real problem! Let's not complain about programs that help people!

    Anyone can pick on the poor, it takes a real man to stand up to the rich!

    Edit: And before you chime in with,"If they can't afford it they should not have it" and phone is mandatory in this day and age.....same with the net.......You need food,shelter,power,car,gas,phone,net,health. Unless you would like to be a 3rd world country thats fine but I think your just talking out your ass at that point.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  9. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    When you get free rent, free food, free meds, and a free cell, what incentive is there to get a job and better yourself? Especially when getting that job to better yourself, means you're likely going to lose the free rent, free food, free meds, and free cell phone, while also moving yourself into the pool of fools who then pays for the people who do get them. The answer is, you wouldn't.
  10. Drewski

    Drewski Rookie

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    I made no argument about not needing a phone. Just questioning the "need" for a cell phone (other than the convenience of it ie you can leave home with it)

    If I go with the theory that most of the people in this program have a roof over their head (how would a homeless person get a cell phone?) then landline would solve their needs completely correct?

    I dont know what costs breakdown 250 min cell plan vs landline. I do know that Verizon for instance offers plans as low as 400 mins for $40 a month. I would guess a landline in this day and age would be cheaper.
  11. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Not sure that this 250 minute per/month "bare bones" cell phone is going to make all that much difference.. have known a lot of folks on Welfare in my professional life, do not remember anyone saying how much the loved their situation. No matter what they get, poor folks have it tough...

    Yesterday heard how managers in the Boston(??) housing authority, live in subsidized housing as a benefit and pay something like $25.00 per month in rent.. that is a bigger outrage as they have the ability to pay.

    The cellphone program needs a lot of tightening..
  12. Ilikehappyppl

    Ilikehappyppl Rookie

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    Yeah because everyone live off the government right?

    NO one wants the better themselves right?

    Everyone just wants a free lunch right?

    National Poverty Center | University of Michigan

    In 2010, 15.1 percent of all persons lived in poverty.

    And out of that 15% not all qualify for assistance! This is also the highest its ever been, when more job come back or are created that number will even be lower!

    I know in your world everyone want to be lazy that everyone just wants a free lunch and no one wants to better themselves, well that's just like me saying all rich people are greedy pricks with no souls......Its bad to generalize and it makes you look like a fool......

    Some poor people are lazy and don't want to better themselves, they're the ones that should not get help but there are now wait for it.................some people that are good and want to better themselves they just need some help!!!

    Not everyone that get's help just wants handouts, most people IMO are good and want to work and want to be self-suffecnt but hard times are hard times and helping people is a good thing. Now if people were paid a fair wage they could save and have a net for when hard times come around but at this point most people get paid ****! So they can't do that, most people live paycheck to paycheck and its hard to save!

    I would rather have programs that help people then military bases all over the world, i would rather help people then give the rich welfare. Your all for welfare for the rich but god forbid you help the poor!

    We should help people that help themselves, the ones that just want a free lunch should not get help, we can a agree on that.....I think most people want to better themselves thou and i know from experience as my mom was on welfare after her husband died and she hated living off the government dole but she worked hard and got off of it but it helped feed her kids and helped her!

    Welfare is a good thing, when its not abused just like anything in life.......
  13. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    So why do you work?
  14. Drewski

    Drewski Rookie

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    Happy I just have a 1 question. Where does it say anywhere in our world that life is fair?

    That isnt a poke at the poor. You can look through any number of my posts and clearly see that I am all for helping people who need help. For some, who may have a disability, I am all for "lifetime" assistance. For others, whose circumstances have changed from good to bad, I'm happy to to help them get back on their feet. You will also note that I am for cutting defense spending significanly as well as redoing the tax structure in this country (see the Politically I lean.. thread if you want my "manifesto"). That being said, your post is a little bit of a strawman. I can be against giving cell phones to the needy if there is a more cost effective; but maybe not as convenient, alternative.

    Life is general is unfair. There are rich and poor, good at something, bad at another in all walks of life. The government shouldnt be in the business of making things fair, it should be in the business of ensuring things are done correctly. Things can be correct while at the same time unfair.

    Is it unfair to me that somebody makes 300K a year? No, they do what they do for that, and I do what I do to make what I make.

    Is it unfair that Tom Brady plays a mean QB, while you could clock my 40 with a sun dial? No, that is simply the hands we were dealt.

    Does it suck that some people get dealt crap hands, while others (through even no work of their own) are dealt great ones? I call that life.

    In the world today I agree that people need the vehicles of communication (phone/web). We should have a program that provides the bare minimum to fill that need, while at the same time remaining cost effective. As I said to Chico, Verizon's cheapest plan (400 mins) is $40 a month - with no SMS or internet. I would guess that having a mah-bell landline would be less than that, and if that is the case, then that should be offering.
  15. Ilikehappyppl

    Ilikehappyppl Rookie

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    I never said life should be fair, what I said was a fair wage...
    Your right life is not fair and I agree with that statement.

    So no civil right? No womens right? Government is there to protect us and ensure thing are as fair and balanced as we can be without intruding on rights.

    All i'm saying is, people complain because there are these programs and all i'm doing is telling them why! If and a big if people were paid a fair wage people would not need the government assistance we would not need healthcare through the government and etc etc. I'm not saying that life should be fair or the government should make it fair all I'm doing is telling you why we have programs like this.....and a solution to solve them.

    Rich complain about the poor, the poor complain about the rich, both are right and both share some of the blame. If we ever want our country to be better then it is or has ever been we have to stop blaming each other and start working together, we both need to make sacrifices.

    If the rich want to keep paying people **** and the poor don't want to work harder and be smarter, we are gonna be @!$@% but if they both work together and both sides agree to help each other we can work this stuff out.........we won't need government assistance anymore we won't need cell phone help anymore.

    How great would life be if people got paid a fair wage? If instead of bickering with each other we worked together? No more poverty! No more people left behind! No need for assistance! Sounds like a fairy tale uh? Its possible and it can happen if we work together! Life is not fair but we can all make sure its a little more fair then it is now, that's a goal we should all work towards!
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  16. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It won't be long before they give them "Free Lobsters" good way to get their votes.
  17. Drewski

    Drewski Rookie

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    I said the government is there to ensure things are done correctly meaning that rights provided by the founding documents of this country are not trampled. Civil rights, women’s right, gay rights [fill in the blank rights] fell under the “done correctly” term. I do apologize for the ambiguity of the phrase.

    What is a fair wage? I realize that is a murky question, but seems to be the central tenant of your post. Doesn’t the market set the wage rates?
    “You have skills and talent in a package we can use” – “you are worth X”.
    Should a custodian make as much as Construction worker or a cook make as much as a Convenience store clerk? How about me should I (a SQL Developer) make as much as a football player?

    When I was in college there were two areas of interest to me; Urban Planning and History. To be an Urban Developer would require me to go to school longer, and I was tired of being a poor college student. If I majored in History (my true love subject wise) the careers dealing directly with history either had smaller wages (teacher) or again required more school and building a name (author/Historian).

    Point is the market dictates the wage – fair or not. Job X will make more than Y, in some cases much much more.

    In closing I agree with your “we need to work together” point. The divisiveness of this country is a sad spectacle to see. But this isn’t a rich vs. poor thing. Its an us (the common people) fighting against them (the powers that be) for how we want their country to work. I would argue there are many rich people who are just as unhappy with how things are going as there are poor people and in many cases for the same reasons. However the powers that be throw these issues out there to keep us fighting each other (over who's right) rather than fighting them to change the system.
  18. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    It's not just the cell phone. It's the entire package. Wasn't it you, or maybe it was someone else, who once posted about the person who made $20k a year, and had a subsidized life, but then reached a wage of $40k per year, no longer got as many freebies as before, and was looking to go back to making $20k cuz life was easier? I see that everyday.

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........

    Um, cuz I have self-respect, was raised right, have a work ethic, and wouldn't take a freebie or a subsidy unless my life depended on it. I'm old school like that. New school is put your hand out and enjoy whatever it is that someone else is willing to give you, while blaming someone else for the position you find yourself in.

    For those attempting to make this an argument of absolutes, I won't waste my time responding. Obviously there are people who truly need X, Y, or Z. No one in here is saying that there shouldn't be help for those people. The current welfare state is not in any way aimed at, nor limited to the people who cannot help themselves. It's aimed at anyone willing to put a hand out. $1.6 billion for free cell phones. Of which, I believe anyone collecting food stamps (what's that, something around 45 million people?) is eligible.
  19. PatriotsReign

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    Before cell phones, we never subsidized landline phones for Americans and we don't need to now. If you don't have the dough, it does not mean tax payers should pay for you to get one.

    I don't believe poverty/income qualifies a person to get any tax-subsidized phone service.

    I can understand this for our elderly or handicapped citizens, but no one else.

    I wonder if some of these people ever consider getting a part-time job so they can afford phone service.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  20. chicowalker

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    RW, it sounds like you don't intend to be doing so, but some of your own posts make it out to be an argument of absolutes.

    "old school" v "new school," why would they work when they can have for free, etc.

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