#68760 Feb 22, 2013
The Obama Phone?
Posted on October 29, 2009 , Updated on Nov. 5, 2009
Q: Has the Obama administration started a program to use "taxpayer money" to give free cell phones to welfare recipients?
A: No. Low-income households have been eligible for discounted telephone service for more than a decade. But the program is funded by telecom companies, not by taxes, and the president has nothing to do with it.
Is this e-mail true?
I had a former employee call me earlier today inquiring about a job, and at the end of the conversation he gave me his phone number. I asked the former employee if this was a new cell phone number and he told me yes this was his "Obama phone."
⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full text ⬏
Welfare recipients, and others, can receive a free cell phone, but the program is not funded by the government or taxpayer money, as the e-mail alleges. And it’s hardly new.
How It Works
SafeLink Wireless, the program mentioned in the e-mail, does indeed offer a cell phone, about one hour’s worth of calling time per month, and other wireless services like voice mail to eligible low-income households. Applicants have to apply and prove that they are either receiving certain types of government benefits, such as Medicaid, or have household incomes at or below 135 percent of the poverty line. Using 2009 poverty guidelines, that’s $14,620 for an individual and a little under $30,000 for a family of four, with slightly higher amounts for Alaska and Hawaii.
SafeLink is run by a subsidiary of América Móvil, the world’s fourth largest wireless company in terms of subscribers, but it is not paid for directly by the company. Nor is it paid for with "tax payer money," as the e-mail claims. Rather, it is funded through the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company, an independent, not-for-profit corporation set up by the Federal Communications Commission. The USF is sustained by contributions from telecommunications companies such as "long distance companies, local telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, paging companies, and payphone providers." The companies often charge customers to fund their contributions in the form of a universal service fee you might see on your monthly phone bill. The fund is then parceled out to companies, such as América Móvil, that create programs, such as SafeLink, to provide telecommunications service to rural areas and low-income households.
The president has no direct impact on the program, and one could hardly call these devices "Obama Phones," as the e-mail author does. This specific program, SafeLink, started under President George Bush, with grants from an independent company created under President Bill Clinton, which was a legacy of an act passed under President Franklin Roosevelt, which was influenced by an agreement reached between telecommunications companies and the administration of President Woodrow Wilson.
Wilson Phones, anyone?
#68761 Feb 22, 2013
Well allow me to set you straight!
Since: Feb 13
#68762 Feb 22, 2013
I'm doing well. And you?
Since: Jul 10
#68763 Feb 22, 2013
If true then you blew two urban myths out of the water. One the " obamo phone " myth and the other the " republicans only wanna help rich people " urban myth.
Just for the record the phones are not " free " because someone down the road has to pay for them. Somehow I believe taxpayers flip the bill for some if not most of the bill. I`m funny that way.
#68764 Feb 22, 2013
Yes it IS! ABC News said so. Right here:
57 Terrible Consequences of the Sequester
“Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., they warned of terrible things: Greater risk of wildfires, fewer OSHA inspections and a risk of more workplace deaths, 125,000 people risking homelessness with cuts to shelters and housing vouchers, neglect for mentally ill and homeless Americans who would lose services, Native Americans getting turned away from hospitals, cuts to schools on reservations and prison lockdowns. There's also a higher risk of terrorism with surveillance limited and the FBI potentially unable to disrupt plots, closed housing projects, and 600,000 women and children thrown off WIC.”
OH The HORROR of it all. Look:
1. Air Travel Disruption
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood: "A vast majority of the FAA's nearly 47,000 employees will be furloughed for approximately one day per pay period until the end of the fiscal year in September, with a maximum of two days per pay period....
2. Longer Security Lines at Airports
3. Slower Extreme-Weather Forecasts
4. Greater Risk of Wildfires
5. Pest-Infested Crops
6. Nationwide Meat and Poultry Shortage
7. Prison Lockdowns
8. Slower Gun Background Checks
9. Fewer FBI Agents
10. Immigration Backlog
11. Longer Waits for Passports and Foreign Visas
12. Neglect for Mentally Ill, Homeless, and Substance Addicted
13. 125,000 Would Be at Risk of Homelessness
14. 600,000 Women and Children Thrown Off WIC
15. 424,000 Fewer AIDS Tests, 7,400 Fewer Patients Could Get HIV Medications
16. No Rent Assistance for 7,300 AIDS Patients
17. 807,000 Fewer Hospital Visits for Native Americans, Hospital Closures
18. Dilapidated Low-Income Housing, Closed Projects
19. No Child Care for 30,000 Kids, No Head Start for 70,000
20. Longer Waits for Disability Payments
21.$725 Million in Cuts for Low-Income and Special-Needs Students
22. Cuts to Schools on Indian Reservations
23. Native American Tribes Would Lose Almost $130 Million
24. Higher Risk of Terrorism
25. Untranslated Wiretaps
26. Less Surveillance
27. Classified Information Vulnerable to Foreign Spies
28. An Even More Porous Border
29. Untended Nukes
30. U.S. Less Prepared for a 'WMD Incident'
31. FBI Will Eventually Be Using Broken Equipment, Could Have Trouble Tracking Fingerprints
32. 1/3 Cutback in Pacific Naval Presence
33. Reduced Army Readiness
34. No Maintenance for Some Ships and Planes
35. 46,000 Defense Jobs Could Be Lost
36. Some Air Force Planes Can't Fly
37. Less Cybersecurity
38.$1 Billion Cut from Disaster Relief
39. First-Responder Layoffs
40. Coast Guard Operations Cut by 1/4, Drugs Coming In on Boats
41.$500 Million Cut from Foreign Economic and Military Aid
42.$380 Million Cut from Global AIDS Funding
43. Less Security at U.S. Facilities Abroad, Less Protection for Americans Abroad
44. Freed Up Terror Money
45. U.S. Attorneys Will Take 2,600 Fewer Cases
46. Smaller Unemployment Checks
47. 1,200 Fewer OSHA Inspections, Potential for More Workplace Deaths
48. Fewer Mine Inspections
49. No Job Training for Hundreds of Thousands of People, Less Training for Veterans
50. 1,928 Fewer Small Business Loans
51. Slower Reporting on Economic Data, Less Analysis of It
52. Parks? Can't Use 'Em.
53. 128 Refuges Could Close
54. Less Drilling and Exploration, Offshore and Onshore
55. Fewer Air-Quality Forecasts
56. 1,000 Fewer Environmental Compliance Inspections
57. Less Nuclear Cleanup
Whew! If they do all that on $44 Billion, What do they spend the other $3.6 TRILLION on?
I didn’t notice any cuts for fuel for Air Force One.
Since: Feb 13
#68765 Feb 22, 2013
You can object but your objection is lost underneath the name calling. I was prepared to read your rebuttal up to the name calling of the other party. So close yet so far sweet lady. Is it just not in your character to object to someone's opinion without attempting to belittle them? There are better ways I promise you. Why don't you make a point today of avoiding any response filled with sarcastic remarks?
#68766 Feb 22, 2013
Yes, it is called the "universal service fee" that is on all our bills for each phone we have.
Since: Jul 10
#68767 Feb 22, 2013
I got a small chuckle when I read the part about me being " set straight " . " Don`t be offended when I say I really don`t give a flying rip ! I soon realized I messed up when I started down this rabbit trail into the weeds. To be honest the turd who asked the question was really being a smart ass. I admit I have on occasion used the term " obama phone " and now that I know the truth I might not use the term again but then again.
#68768 Feb 22, 2013
but, but, but.... I thought you were opposed to telling posters what to post...
I guess that is only when it goes against your posts?
#68769 Feb 22, 2013
Yeah, watch that rabbit trail!
#68770 Feb 22, 2013
Here you go shooting off without facts:
Congress did not vote in a change to the ""Emminent Domain" Law,"
2005---SUpreme Court Ruled in favor of a developer in NewJersey.
June 23, 2006, G. Bush issued executive order limiting the amount and type of land that could be seized. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain
Obama put in the Sequester we are now going through. Do you think that everybody should just let you spend and spend and spend with out them saying anything. Obama is a failure so far.
Lets see, Obama just got that 14% on the Rich and now he wants more. Try to keep up.
Congress has passed two bills, held up by dirty harry, that would make necessary cuts, to get rid of the sequester and close loopholes among other things. Boy, Your brain washed bad.
Oh, the obama's buddies can pay no taxes but if they are a considered a republican business, they have to pay it all back. Lets, see, there General Electric, Apple, and Now, facebook that does not pay any (ZERO taxes)
How many are tea party people are there in congress (15-20??? out of 400+...
I have come to the conclusion that most (not all) the people the write in the thread are either related, have been related, are friends, or live within the same neighbor hood. Why? because all you do is fuss and fight, call each other names, and then tell each other stories about the big bad teapublicans that will take you house away, burn you babies, kill your dogs, put in a dungeon, starve you, take away your welfare, food stamps and ....and........ God help you cause I can't
Sometimes its better to turn away from a lost cause than try and correct it and lose.
#68771 Feb 22, 2013
WHy do you blame everything on BUsh,, turn about is fair play....LOL
#68772 Feb 22, 2013
It isn't free. The rest of us pay a fee on our phone bills to help cover the cost. But technically... it isn't a tax.
The creation of the Lifeline program -- which has now been dubbed the "Obama phone" -- during the Reagan administration was one of these attempts to ensure that the new fragmented and competitive telecom industry still provided the same public goods that the old monopoly did.
Far from a government cheese handout, Lifeline was funded through a "universal service charge" on phone bills, and then administered by a private non-profit. While the distinction between a surcharge and a tax may seem technical, it was specifically selected to over a proposed welfare program — a straight-up handout referred to as "phone stamps." The Universal Service Fund was created to be a lean, nimble private sector beast.
The guys who came up with the idea for Lifeline were Republican Sen. Bob Packwood and Democratic Rep. John Dingell. The Reagan administration soon got on board, as The New York Times reported on December 27, 1983, in part because of "a growing recognition that the price of telephone service could become a 1984 campaign issue." Then other Republicans got on board -- Sens. John Heinz and John Chafee urged the Federal Communications Commission to "take concrete steps to ensure that local telephone companies offer lifeline programs designed to preserve affordable phone service," according to The Washington Post on September 15, 1985.
#68773 Feb 22, 2013
thanks for the adjustment
#68774 Feb 22, 2013
lets see if I have a food card, I get a phone and 100 minutes.
Good link! Willard
#68775 Feb 22, 2013
Did you open the link, and actually read it?
Since: Feb 13
#68776 Feb 22, 2013
Cornbread, you are exactly right and it tells you that in the fine print on the advertisements for the phones, if anybody would bother to read it!
If I were truly as worried about it and as resentful of them as so many claim to be, I would read the fine print to try and find out if it really was costing me anything...unless , of course, I just wanted to blame Obama for something that was started by Reagan and carried over by every President since then.
Also People, look at your phone bill...you've been paying that Universal Service charge since long before Reagan started the program and if it's gone up, I haven't noticed it and I do look at my bill!
Also, you cannot get called for a job if you don't have a phone where you can be reached and anywhere they you apply will tell you flat out, that they will disregard your application and not accept it , without a phone number where you can be reached. A phone is not a luxury, it is a necessity!
Oh, allow me to correct myself...the Universal Service Charge has
gone up...to $1.03, it used to be a dollar even...it's gone up 3 cents! C'mon People, how petty can you get?
#68777 Feb 22, 2013
It obvious you don't want to work either!. Guess when the minimum wage goes up, you can be the one laid off from work. You would be papy will pay everyone elses pay hike. Thank the Dem/libs for your lose. The conservatives, want you to work for a living. we'll help those who cannot work but you need to prove that you cannot work. Not handing out nothing to a bum that don't want to work.
OH, Why can you not raise two kids on $7/hr. When I started, I was lucky if I got, 2.25/hr. I survived, might I add without welfare.
#68778 Feb 22, 2013
read this before you get your panties in a wade! http://bit.ly/P2EwQO
#68779 Feb 22, 2013
Deficit Reduction: From Pain or from Gain?
By Robert Borosage
The best way to reduce the deficit is to put people back to work.
For proof, compare the U.S. and Spain. The U.S. has witnessed slow growth since coming out of the Great Recession in 2009. The result has been a deficit that has come down from over 10 percent of gross domestic product to a projected 5.3 percent of GDP this year (slightly higher if Congress is sensible enough to repeal the sequester) and a projected 2.4 percent in 2015 (if congressional austerity bombs don’t blow up the weak recovery).
Spain was forced into austerity; as part of the Euro zone, it has no control over its currency. Harsh spending cuts and tax hikes have driven the economy back into recession, thrown workers out of work and slashed basic security supports. The result: The deficit has declined from 10.2 percent of GDP to 6.7 percent, but is projected to increase to 7.2 percent GDP next year as the unemployment rises, tax revenues fall and the expenses of even a pared-back unemployment system rise.
Austerity costs jobs, cripples growth — and makes deficit reduction harder, not easier.
So why — oh why — is there bipartisan agreement that we should focus on deficit reduction rather than jobs and growth? Why isn’t Congress repealing the sequester cuts that all agree are dumb? Why are Democrats arguing about how to pay for postponing the sequester until December rather than just moving to repeal the idiocy and stop manufacturing new crises?
The deficit is coming down faster than at any time since the demobilization after World War II. This is a bad thing, not a good thing. It is hindering the recovery, slowing growth and costing jobs. That is the unspeakable truth about today’s reality. We do have a deficit crisis — it is too small, not too big, and it is falling too fast, not growing out of control.
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