What's the deal with the free “Obama phones”? Mystery explained
0. phoneArena 28 Sep 2012, 03:25 posted on
A video of a protester at a presidential candidate Mitt Romney event quickly amassed half a million hits, putting more arrows in the Republic quiver aimed at Obama's "handouts" to the poor that are supposedly destined to win him the reelection. Mitt Romney recently referred to 47% of Americans as people who would vote for Obama, as they are receiving direct or indirect benefits from the government...
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1. ElektronicGeek91 (Posts: 105; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)
Actually those phones are for a good cause and not everyone can get them. Those phones are only to target middle to lower class residents who is receiving some type of benefit from the government like welfare, TANF etc... Those phones are purposely for specific types of people who are looking for a job and have no way for an employer to contact them. That's when the Obama phone comes in, now the employers can contact those in need of a job. Now there should be no excuses. Great cause, good job Obama that's the way to think.
2. Furbal (Posts: 510; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
Sorry but $6000 per phone is not acceptable.
21. Tex4K69 (Posts: 1; Member since: 28 Sep 2012)
I must be confused. The Link-up Program started in 1984 under Reagan, Republican. Renamed to Lifeline in 2008 under Bush, Republican. Congress happened to be controlled by Democrats in 2008 when Obama was still a Senator (campaigning to be President). How does Obama get credit for this program? Maybe Reagan, maybe Bush, maybe the 2008 Congress, but not Obama.
I would say the explosive costs and increased fraud in the program can be blamed on Obama, but I don't think he gets credit for the "good cause".
45. concernedcitizen (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Nov 2012)
Elektronicgeek91, i don't know how to put this but you are either a moron, extremely naive, or have the driest sense of humor ever. Are you serious ? i run large scale low income housing. every tenant has one if not two of these phones, none of them are looking for a job because as soon as they get one, they lose their phone, their fraudulent disability income, and their EBT cards. you must live in an ivory tower in Mass., right ?
7. Keybd29 (Posts: 2; Member since: 28 Sep 2012)
I hate the way his mother dresses him. Nasty visual.
4. Jonathan41 (Posts: 532; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)
I'm African-America AND I'm from Cleveland so that video is packing a "dual-core" of embarrassment for me.
42. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)
When you said African-American and Cleveland, I thought of this lol
43. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 924; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
All races have ignorant uneducated people, but that is not indicative of every one or 47% like the "tea"totaler want you to believe.
5. longhorn1127 (Posts: 2; Member since: 28 May 2009)
This is an embarrassment to our country.
8. PapaSmurf (Posts: 9674; Member since: 14 May 2012)
I'm sorry to say but this is a little embarrassing. For her to yell like she's in a stadium when the camera man is obviously in front of her makes me wonder how she would speak at a a party...
17. DFranch (Posts: 143; Member since: 20 Apr 2012)
Maybe her free phone gets really bad reception, and she has to yell.
9. Keybd29 (Posts: 2; Member since: 28 Sep 2012)
Good story on the phone. Big to me is this story--played one way or the other--is not featured on Google news. Google news search only (back pages).
The media press is everything in our "mediaocracy." (Oops that doesn't work, we don't get to vote for them.)
10. remixfa (Posts: 14252; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
As a person that enjoys political fights.. Stay away from political fights. And if you do, dont be so obviously partisan.
It doesnt matter what its called, the program is a sham. Since 2008 the amount EVERY person that owns a regular cellphone pays into the program has skyrocketed. Look on your cell bill. They charge you up to and over $3 to fund this program depending on the size of your bill.
Since 2008 the program has also gone from 700 million in costs to 1.6 billion. That is more than double the cost in 4 years what it had cost for the last 30.
Why? Since OBAMA took over they start ADVERTISING the free phone in the mail. Hell, I get one of these mailers every month. If you want a free phone, you check the boxes and they send you one. There isnt even a check to see if you actually qualify for one. Stay away from your one sided pro-obama opinion pieces trying to look like fact. We already have a state run media for that.
"USAC charges telecom companies based on quarterly projections of demand for the universal services. Companies currently pay 17.4 percent of their revenues from customers’ state-to-state and international calls. AT&T, for example, passes on the same rate to its customers. The rate has been increasing for more than a decade. In the second quarter of 2000, it was 5.7 percent."
"In 2010, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found several weaknesses in the Lifeline program. For instance (see pages 35 to 37):
Subsidized phones ended up being sold for cash on Craigslist or were sold to potentially ineligible subscribers.
Florida’s Public Utility Commission found that 8 percent — or 33,000 — of its Lifeline accounts were inactive. Or the phones’ users ignored requests to confirm they were eligible.
USAC’s internal controls failed to adequately identify all of the program’s risks, such as identifying subscriber eligibility and the accuracy of amounts claimed for reimbursement."
"In January, the FCC completed an audit of 12 states’ service records and found that 7 percent of subscribers (269,000 of 3.6 million) used more than one subsidized line, costing Lifeline $35 million a year. A second audit released this month found 135,000 duplicate subscriptions in three more states, costing another $15 million. "
"The Telecommunications Act of 1934 (under FDR) created the FCC and established the informal policy of providing universal service to “all the people of the United States.” In 1985, the FCC implemented Lifeline to help low-income households in case phone rates increased after the breakup of AT&T. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 codified the universal service policy.
Quit trying to make it look like it was a republican policy being blamed on obama.
22. tgtftw (Posts: 31; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)
I appreciate a Strong educated comment on a article that is clearly lacking. I deal with folks who have these devices day in and out. They run off of Virgin mobiles (sprints) network and aren't that great of a deal.
I still find it a joke that we are seeing a cell phone viewed as a requirement for survival. I dont care what the "trends" are, a cellphone is a luxury device. You do not need one to go about on your day to day.
Once again another way for our taxes to go up and the people paying them not receiving anything from it.
25. downphoenix (Posts: 2597; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
You're wrong remixfa. The increase in costs is PRIMARILY due to the program's change in focus from landlines to cellphones.
Cellphone services tend to cost more, also the cost of equipment for cellphone services must be considered, as that was not a part fo the previous program when its focus was on home phones.
Yes, there have been some fraud and unnecessary overhead with it, but the amount of that in this case is overshadowed by most other government assistance programs like food stamps.
I think it might be better if the program was done differently, but I dont blame Obama's administration for this, as the organization behind this was already in place before he took office.
27. remixfa (Posts: 14252; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
did you actually do research?
Cell phone companies WERE getting $30 for the cell service, now they are only getting a lil more than $10.. and still making money. (and were still double the cost)
Go call ATT and ask them how much a landline is. Once you add in all the taxes and such, its going to be 40-60 a month depending on where you live. That's more expensive than a cell phone actually.
Yes, its a drop in the bucket compared to things like food stamps and HUD subsidies. However, food and shelter are requirements to live... a cell phone is not. Not that I'm particularly happy with any government handout, their lack of oversite, their bloated beaurocracies, cost, and their lack of ways to get people OFF the program.
Yes, it was thought up and started under FDR (democrat), enacted on a wide scale under Clinton (democrat), and doubled in 2 years under Obama (democrat)... just like most government hand out policies, its a near complete trail of democrats at the spending wheel. Republicans are definitely not guilt free, but the bulk of our spending/deficit issues are not mainly republican ones, they are democrat ones. Both parties suck.
11. AstronautJones (Posts: 284; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)
Maybe not a Republican invention, but you still can't blame Obama.
You make it sound like Obama is advertising the program himself.
I am sure he is as responsible for this advertising as he is for the kirf BlackBerry ads in China.
Which means not at all.....
Does sound like some abuse of funds by businesses. But as you pointed out by the first link, steps are being taken to eliminate fraudulent claims.
Steps introduced by a Democratic Senator(the one whom isn't ladylike!)
16. remixfa (Posts: 14252; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
I dont "blame" anyone. Just stating the facts. And trust me, after spending 5 years working in the cell biz and listening to people scream about their rates going up.. ive had to point out that little addition each time as a government tax. More often than not when I explained what it was, I got pissed looks and "why am I paying for them to bla bla bla". My only answer is always to pay attention to who you vote for and not vote down party lines or be so blindly partisan like Q-Strike down here who has no idea what he's talking about.
This article tries to shift blame from one person to another when its not true. It was a fledgling program started under democrats as part of FDR's "great society" socialism program. It had some minor modifications from the FCC which is an INDEPENDENT body in the 80's to protect the program during the break up of Ma Bell (which lead to sprint, vzw, att,ect), but was turned into an ACTUAL government outreach program under Clinton.
It is also a fact that the program has doubled in cost and use in the last 4 years and that phone companies like Tracphone and Sprint are actively advertising the program to get sign ups (its like free money to them) because the government is not checking eligibility. That's something new that has started since 09. Is it directly Obama's fault? Who knows. But it is under his administration's time in office and it follows all the other major debt spending increases that have happened and are a direct result of the Obama administration.... increases that we can not pay for and that are a major drag on our economy. Its completely unsustainable and people need to wake the F**K up if they think we can keep up all these programs the way they are and constantly ignore the problems they are causing.
So just like everything else in politics, regardless of who's actually responsible, the president will get all the credit or blame.
13. ibap (Posts: 717; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)
This is the kind of BS you get from a 24/7/365 news cycle.
And you can't be sure someone didn't pay this person to say this.
14. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 924; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
Stupid conversation for stupid people for obvious reasons. I wouldn't put it past Romney's campaign to plant that woman to make such a statement to try to push his point that half of America will vote for Obama because he is in fact giving them free money..... GTFO.
BTW all of you are included in that 47% because you are the 95%. America is being misled by republicans, and they have picked America's pockets for the last 8 years that they were in office. The real reason why we are where we are is because 8 years under Bush bankrupted America. The war for money in Iraq the lost 60 billion of american money , and there was mass corruption by companies like Halliburton according to news reports. Halliburton collected money for providing troops meals, while never ever producing one veteran a sandwich.
Every time a republican has gotten into office there was mass recession and gas price inflation, as well as mass inflation after they left office. Starting with Nixon, and his oil embargo which was a scam, and last but not least both Bush presidencies.
Oh yeah the Democrats suck balls ass well, not all of these people represent you I, or America. They represent themselves, and public interest groups.
15. remixfa (Posts: 14252; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
please stop while you are behind and factless. thank you.
37. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 924; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
You and I can go toe to toe and you will lose like always Mr, based on facts. I merely suggest in campaign wars any one could put stupid people up to say any thing to try to slight the competitor.
Bob the plumber comes to mind.....who, when, or how the program is set up is moot to the fact that in campaign times suspect footage of idiots saying incriminating things to mislead the public's thinking to suggest that 47% of America thinks this way is ridiculous o.k.! Wake up get your head out of your ass! That s**t you are smelling is your own!
20. applesauce (banned) (Posts: 165; Member since: 26 Aug 2012)
It's time to end bipartisanship, and break up the two major parties into several small ones.
32. remixfa (Posts: 14252; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
I am 100% behind that. Even more behind outlawing parties all together. They do nothing but create more problems which is why the founders did not originally have political parties.
39. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 924; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
Best thing you said yet to a point.....the parties need to be reorganized without being backed by lobbyist or guys like "Robert" Norquist is it, and the Koch brothers.
Norquist and the Koch brothers pay for anyone's campaign that promises to vote against any tax increases, and makes them sign a promissory note to agree to this, or get campaign funding cut if they vote for any tax increases.
That is why so many republicans and tea partyers vote no to reasonable tax cuts for the middle class, and fair increases for the filthy rich like Boehner's, and Obama's last by partisan agreement as well.
23. Whateverman (Posts: 3235; Member since: 17 May 2009)
I don't think this is anyone's "fault", and I doubt Romney put this lady up to it. This is simply a great idea that started under one president, continued under the current president but like many great government programs, it's not perfect. It needs retooling, badly! I understand why this program was advertised and I think that was a good thing as well, because now the people who need this program, know about it. But now that people know about it, create and enforce restrictions neccesary to prevent fraud.
28. remixfa (Posts: 14252; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
it didnt need to be advertised. If your on a government program such as unemployment, welfare, or food stamps, the information to the cell phone is presented to you when you sign up as other "options of help".
It's being advertised because the government was actively... not watching and let the cell companies solicit people to get sign ups from people that dont need it.
The more people on a government program, the more people that are open to other government programs and are also more likely to vote for the politician who promises more money to them through government programs... aka, the democrats. Its currently a vote buying program more than a need based program.
"Obama gave me a free phone, imma vote for him!"
Same people that are dumb enough to think Obamacare is "free" or even good for our country, as well as think "Obama is gonna pay my mortgage from the ObamaFUND!" like they said when he first got elected.
34. Whateverman (Posts: 3235; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Yes, I think it was a good idea to advertise the program. Despite the obviously wonderful experiences you must have had when you went to get assistance, not all the necessary information is given to everyone who needs help. Maybe, some people just didn't remember that particular program was available. No matter what, the advertising isn't the issue. The issue is the fact that safeguards were not puy into place to prevent abuse.
As for the lady... Okay, she's stupid. Are you really going to take this lady serious? You don't really believe most Democrats think the president will pay our mortgages do you? Hate Obama all you like, but I'm not getting sucked into that debate today. But you and MevinPainter are sooooo entertaining right now, so please keep commenting.
18. MelvinPainter (Posts: 58; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)
I dreaded the day when some looney liberal would write a piece trying to defend America's first black muslim kenyan dictator. According to the article's timeline, they forgot to mention that the democraps had control of the House and Senate, and they continued to hold it two years into clown obama's coronation. Democrats created the program, and clown obama pushsed the promotion for votes. IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT! Ever wonder why millions more are on food stamps, and applying for disability? And how about his getting with the mexican president to show the mexicans in mexico how to apply for social programs here in the US.
26. downphoenix (Posts: 2597; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
"Ever wonder why millions more are on food stamps, and applying for disability?"
Could it be to do with the housing bubble that started in 2007 under the Bush administration that caused a lot of companies to go bankrupt and millions of jobs to be lost? No, that couldn't be it!
29. remixfa (Posts: 14252; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
If you look up actual history you will find that Bush vetoed many bills that democrats Dodd, Frank, and eventually Pelosi were trying to push that gave more leeway to lenders for subprime lending. He actively tried to stop the housing bubble through most of his election. He also actively tried to ADD over-site to the mortgage industry and especially Fanny/Freddy but was denied at every turn by democrats... The bulk of the items put in place for that "perfect storm" were actually enacted at the very tail end of Clinton's presidency/ very beginning of Bush's. He didnt start failing at his attempts until the democrat takeover of the house and senate in 2006 when Pelosi and Ried started jamming things down his throat. His failure was his eventual compliance. And let's not forget ACORN's favorite lawyer, Obama, who spent YEARS training ACORN employees on how to properly protest and pressure banks into INCREASING sub prime lending after Dodd and Frank got their housing bill through. Then they took over Fanny/Freddy "to prevent collapse" to try to hide the paper trail.
Amazing coincidence that Dodd and Frank and other Democrats were eventually found to have been taking massive bribes and were both offered 7+ figure jobs at Fanny/Freddy if they lost election for their troubles.
Bush's other big fault is not taking his case to the media. 8 years of a liberal media trying to attach every bad thing to Bush obviously had its impact on the american public, including you. Never did you hear of the writers of these bills unless you did your own research. The information is there. You can start by reading Bush's veto notes on legislation on government websites... then follow it up with finding the writers of those bills and what has happened to them.
Quit drinking the state run media cool aid, its gonna give ya brain damage.
Oh and who wrote the "finance reform" bills after the collapse that had their name on it? If you guessed Dodd and Frank, you get a cookie!
Fact > Fiction
40. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 924; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
This article says absolutely nothing. In fact Fanny and Freddy were bag holders for companies like GS and the likes of the whole mortgage scam bubble.
The above link is all based on misrepresentations of facts by a lame online blogger dare I say!
In the inside job Henry Paulson was the guy who helped enabled banks and investment companies to have more than 10x's the leverage that bought the system down see the documentary then come back.
business/moneybox/2010/01/the_ gang_of_five_and_how_they_near ly_ruined_us.html
I can go on and on with you but why.....should I you aren't as factual as you portray your self.....like always you always paint from your own personal lopsided perspective!
41. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 924; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
.."The bulk of the items put in place for that "perfect storm" were actually enacted at the very tail end of Clinton's presidency/ very beginning of Bush's. He didnt start failing at his attempts until the democrat takeover of the house and senate in 2006 when Pelosi and Ried started jamming things down his throat. His failure was his eventual compliance. And let's not forget ACORN's favorite lawyer, Obama, who spent YEARS training ACORN employees on how to properly protest and pressure banks into INCREASING sub prime lending after Dodd and Frank got their housing bill through. Then they took over Fanny/Freddy "to prevent collapse" to try to hide the paper trail.
Amazing coincidence that Dodd and Frank and other Democrats were eventually found to have been taking massive bribes and were both offered 7+ figure jobs at Fanny/Freddy if they lost election for their troubles."
You just paint so well what you want to paint that its funny. Bush was an idiot, Dodd did use Fannie and Freddie for personal cheap loans but that did not cause the collapse wake up!
Your play by play is filled with misconceptions, and garbage....Bush was an idiot period ok!
36. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 924; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
It's because your best friend G.W. Bush sent most jobs over seas through out sourcing, and bankrupted our economy while in office you turd. Oh, by the way he tripled threw national debt, and bankrupted the social security by raiding it's funds and using it to fund his war on weapons of no mass destruction.
19. MelvinPainter (Posts: 58; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)
"Spread the wealth" "Redistribution" this is what clown obama's policies are all about. Get with it folks, you are getting robbed by the very people who wrote this pathetic article.
38. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 924; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
Melvin you are an idiot for sure. Do you make over 250K a year....hell: do you make over 100k a year...hell know you don't I can conclusively answer this by the fact your stupid ass is posting lame misinformed sound bites. What part of the back woods do you live in.
"I be against Obummer cause he is trying to pass taxes up to corporations that have been off shoring money and raising my taxes. I like giving the rich tax cuts cause theys gonna give me a job paying lots o money."
Get your paint brush and paint stupid on your fore head so dumb asses like yourself can see you coming, and can avoid you backwards thinking. I bet you would love to vote for Bush again!
24. RomeoJDR (Posts: 242; Member since: 09 Dec 2011)
It is another sneaky way to tax us without calling it a tax. Despite paying a hefty tax on our monthly bills we have to pay an additional charge to provide discounts to others, yet the program still racks up millions in debt. I can agree everyone should have access to a home line for emergency service, but to subsize the price for someone to have a cell phone is over the top. Last I checked you can use any carriers phone without a plan to dial emergency contacts anyway.
30. hobble (Posts: 130; Member since: 11 Oct 2011)
So many posts to thumb down, so little time.
44. cortez (Posts: 1; Member since: 28 Oct 2012)
my name is cortez lee i live in elgin il. i been out of work for three years, i been in the hospital in 2010, for two bilatheral hip replacements, i had to quit the job i was working, i coulndt walk for a long period of time, i still cant do the things i use to do before the operation, cant stand for log periods at a time, i put in for dissiability for six times and been denied all six times. i been diagnosed with copd a very bad lung effection, i been in sheraton hospital for a week cause i coulndt breath, i put back in for ssi again i been denied, i see drug attics get dissiability before a working man can i been working for over 25 years, i put in that pot and i fill that when something go wrong with you you should be entitled to youre compensation i have high blood pressure, copd,asthma,i cant still walk til this day. i think you people needs to look into the social security program, cause i think its in shambles i might as well not work in that case,im so far behind in my bills im waiteing to get put out of my house as i speak now. i dont know what me and my wife is going to do. the government failed me. and i fill its the up to the president of the u.s.a. to correct this from happening to any one else, why do you have to be on drugs to receive benefits, and cant receive them if you been working half youre life.