Remember the “Obamaphone”? Fiscal conservatives and regular taxpayers would love to forget about this government initiative to dole out free cell phones to low income individuals.
In fairness, the program — which is officially known as Lifeline — was created by the Reagan administration and was intended to be exactly what it sounds like: a way to make sure that poorer Americans had a way to contact authorities in an emergency.And yes, Lifeline was expanded by George W. Bush, but it really took off under Obama. It was obviously a kind of combination bribe and “thank you” to Obama’s base.
The fact is that basic cellphones and plans are generally affordable at this point. People shouldn’t be encouraged to rely on the government to provide them with one. Luckily, the Trump administration seems to agree:
Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (…) has the wasteful, fraud-riddled Lifeline program (better known as the “Obamaphone program”) clearly in his sights.
Pai is taking steps on his own, and supporting measures in Congress, to cut out waste, fraud and abuse in a program that mushroomed during the Obama presidency, according to Breitbart. (…)
A 2016 report of a $51 million fraud investigation of the program was not released until April 1, 2016, conveniently one day after the Democrat-heavy FCC was scheduled to vote on the expansion. Pai was sharply critical of the timing of the report at the time, according to the Washington Free Beacon. Now, he is in a position to keep the agency on budget.
The bad news is, poverty activists are pushing for the program to be expanded to include free internet for all. Apparently access to the web is a new human right. And according to this report, “Pai agrees with the expansion of the program, but not at the expense of responsible spending.
”It’s hard to see how this program, even as it currently exists, can meet the definition of “responsible spending,” however, when millions of hard working Americans are struggling to pay for their own phones and other utilities, let alone foot the bill for someone else’s.