While the 2012 election was going on there were some people trying to spread rumors that the free government cell phone plan was something that President Obama started and that the program would ruin the country as we know it. This rumor actually started before the elections – and continues to spread today.
However, the public may be uninformed about these free government cell phones. In this article, we’ll uncover some of the mysterious myths that may be holding you back on the issue of: to provide or not to provide free government paid cell phones.
Free phones, or Obama phones, have stirred a heated controversy amongst the people of our nation. Many people pose the issue that they are unhappy with the idea of a free cell phones, for low income families and individuals, because the program is paid for out of taxpayer’s pockets. This would certainly be outrageous, especially considering the high unemployment rates of present day.
Four years ago, there were 7.1 million free-cell phones provided to people in need. That number jumped dramatically, during Barack Obama’s presidency, to 12.5 million. That is a lot of free phones, and a lot of supposed taxpayer money, however this is untrue.
Lifeline, a government sponsored program to assist those in need of a cell phone and service plan, is funded by an organization called the Universal Service Fund (USF) which is responsible for the Federal Communication Commission along with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
Government paid cell phones actually originated years before Obama was in office and well before he was campaigning for a second term. The first government provided cell phone came about in 2008 under the Bush administration. The very idea of government subsidized phones for low income people originated during the Reagan administration and brought about the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
These free cell phones have no connection to the president or his campaign strategy. Lifeline is a company that serves those who have a monthly income at or below 135% of the nation’s poverty line. These are not ‘welfare recipients’ nor are they people who simply ‘sign up’ and receive a cell phone of their choice through any cell phone provider.
Lifeline’s free cell phones are provided under heavy discretion and eligibility requirements. Qualifications for the free cell phones also vary state to state. Some of the minimum requirements include; Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Supplemental Security Income, just to name a few.
Free cell phones for low income individuals and families are crucially important. Everyone should have access to emergency care contacts, career opportunity contacts as well as family and friend contacts through telecommunication.
Can you remember a day when you forgot your cell phone at home? The stress of what calls or texts you’re missing, you can only hope you weren’t expecting an important phone call that day. What if you locked your keys in your car, were in an accident or were mugged? How would you receive help?
These government free cell phones will not upset our economy, in fact they should help our economy. Opening doors for people to find work, enabling people move out of state for better opportunities and to take care of their families or themselves in emergencies if needed. Also, they’re nothing new! Free landlines and cell phones have been around for years, and our country has done just fine.
These past few years have been hard on our country and it’s easy to be swept up in a heated argument when it seems there is so much at stake and we feel we have lost so much already. This past election was another insult to injury for the US population. People were terrified of a continued recession and falling into more debt as a country. We had such high hopes for something new and our hopes were dashed.
This strikes fear, anger and hostility into people. They feel backed into a corner with no way out and they come out swinging, weather they know the entire issue or not. Of course this is all understandable, it’s terrifying. These days in our country are not pretty ones. But, we must learn to dig to the bottom of an issue and completely comprehend both sides before we begin fighting.
Holistically learning about an issue may not sway you from one side to another, but you should at least be well informed. Do not fall into the slander and deceptive rumors that constantly buzz on the radio, hum on the T.V. and glow on the computer screen. Find out for yourself, don’t take anyone else’s word for it.
To recap: Free government-paid landlines have been in existence since the 1980’s. The first government paid cell phone was provided in 2008. No, the phones have no affiliation with President Obama, his election or his campaign strategy. No, these phones are not funded by US taxpayer money and, yes, now you know the whole story.