Author Topic: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program  (Read 4346 times)

Offline dep190

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1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« on: October 01, 2012, 07:04:37 AM »

The Plan  began for reduced home telephone service got high jacked and changed to cell phones!


1 million Ohioans using free phone program
Fees on phone bills pay for $1.5 billion national Lifeline program
The program in Ohio cost $26.9 million in the first quarter of 2012, the most recent data available, versus $15.6 million in the same timeframe in 2011. Compared to the first quarter of 2011, the number of people in the program nearly doubled to more than a million.

ps or heating assistance, and that population is ballooning, they say.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/subsidized-cell-phone-program-nearly-doubles-in-oh/nRDqC/




Offline Jack Crabb

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2012, 09:47:25 AM »
September 26 in Cleveland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpAOwJvTOio

From what I have previously read on the issue, people on public assistance are required to seek employment. Potential employers need a way to contact applicants who may or may not be homeless. Since recipients/applicants risk losing assistance if not at least pursuing employment, the government provides cell phones to facilitate employment.

I love the line in the article that 250 free minutes isn’t enough to use for much more than emergencies. Four hours plus is insufficient?

Who knew there would be unintended consequences of a government program?

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 10:05:16 AM »
I love the line in the article that 250 free minutes isn’t enough to use for much more than emergencies. Four hours plus is insufficient?
I don't have as much of a problem with the free limited cell phone for the poor, I'm not crazy about hand outs, but I can at least understand the logic behind it. 

However, this person is the perfect example of the entitlement attitude.

I believe that SafeLink is done through TracFone.  My cell phone is through TracFone.  This is my only cell phone.  I put about 1000 minutes on it per year and this person is having issues with 250 minutes per month.  Yes she needs to be thrifty with the minutes and not spend all day talking to people on it.  But this is a gift from the tax payer.  This is meant for emergencies and to have an employer call them back.  It should NOT be the same as if they had an unlimited plan that they were paying for.

Sorry, but that entitlement attitude disgusts me.

Offline dep190

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2012, 03:05:04 PM »

I agree that this program has good points however my home service right now is 25.00 a  month for a home phone local service unlimited no texting long distance can be billed on various plans or calling cards. Instead of a cell phone! Is this buying votes like the video link??

Enclosed is the link to what brought Obama phones to the limelight in OHIO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpAOwJvTOio

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 10:26:21 PM »
It's kind of a stretch to call them "Obama phones", since the original program was established in 1996, and the cell phone option was added in 2008.  "Clinton/Bush" phones might be a bit more accurate.

Of all the things going wrong in this country right now, this dumb program is the least of my worries.  $1.5 billion per year?  The budget deficit is more than twice that - per day...

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2012, 04:31:18 AM »
Of all the things going wrong in this country right now, this dumb program is the least of my worries.  $1.5 billion per year?  The budget deficit is more than twice that - per day...
Yep, it's a drop in the bucket.  But put enough drops in a bucket and it fills up.

Offline Dawgus

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 07:04:07 AM »
 Buying votes with a free phone. That's a new one....and works.

Offline DrJohn

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 07:53:27 AM »
Down the slippery slope we slide...

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 11:04:56 AM »
Yep, it's a drop in the bucket.  But put enough drops in a bucket and it fills up.

Sure, but this program a) has a reasonably arguable public benefit and b) appears to be actually paid for before the money is spent, from phone bill fees.  Whether you like this one or not, at least we're not borrowing from China or the Fed to pay for it.  It's actually an example of how government should work (set aside whether you agree with the idea behind the program or whether you think the government should be in the subsidized phone business) - they collect money for a specific purpose, and then spend the money on that thing, and only on that thing.  If every program was run that way, we wouldn't have half the problems we do.  I'd take a lot more drops in the bucket like this one over things like oil and farm subsidies, which are mainly just handouts of borrowed money to huge corporations.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 11:37:55 AM »
My comment wasn't specifically about this program.  It was about this part of your post. 
$1.5 billion per year?  The budget deficit is more than twice that - per day...
It appeared to me that you were saying that there's no need to worry about any small dollar programs.

I have less problems with this program than I do with most other programs.

Offline Jack Crabb

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 01:45:57 PM »
Sure, but this program a) has a reasonably arguable public benefit and b) appears to be actually paid for before the money is spent, from phone bill fees.  Whether you like this one or not, at least we're not borrowing from China or the Fed to pay for it.  It's actually an example of how government should work (set aside whether you agree with the idea behind the program or whether you think the government should be in the subsidized phone business) - they collect money for a specific purpose, and then spend the money on that thing, and only on that thing.  If every program was run that way, we wouldn't have half the problems we do.  I'd take a lot more drops in the bucket like this one over things like oil and farm subsidies, which are mainly just handouts of borrowed money to huge corporations.

But we cellphone subscribers pay the phone bill fees.

I have a job. I choose to spend a portion of my salary on a cell phone. The government then adds a few to several dollars to my bill to pay the phone service for someone else.

At least with a gasoline tax, the money goes to maintain the roads I use to burn up my gasoline. Or with social security, I rely upon the government to extort money from some future employee to pay my benefits the way my money is taken to pay present benefits.  Where is the benefit to me with this cell phone deal? I already have charitable interests to support.

It is not an example of how government should work, i.e., fulfill constitutionally mandated duties.

It is an example of how government does work, i.e., redistribute wealth for electoral advantage.

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2012, 11:49:53 PM »
My comment wasn't specifically about this program.  It was about this part of your post.  It appeared to me that you were saying that there's no need to worry about any small dollar programs.

I agree - every dollar counts.  But I guess what I was trying to say is that some dollars are worth more outrage than others.  A $100 million  borrowing-funded program seems like a much bigger problem to me than a billion-dollar program paid for by a specific, dedicated tax, whether I like the program or not. 

As for the public benefit of giving poor people phones, the general idea is that we want people receiving public assistance (like welfare or food stamps) to eventually find employment and get off the system.  It's nearly impossible to find a steady job in the modern world without a phone.  Most employers won't even consider you if they have no way to contact you, it's just a matter of practicality.  So the $9.25 per month the government pays for each of these phones is a relatively cheap investment in trying to move people off the welfare rolls.  Having a phone also gives low-income people access to police, fire, and rescue services via 911.  So there are a couple possible public benefits, if the system works.  Does it work that way in enough cases to outweigh the abuse and fraud that are no doubt taking place?  I don't know.  Probably not, given the general success rate government programs seem to have.  But if I'm going to get outraged over government overreaches, there are hundreds that are worse than this one going on every day.

The government shouldn't be in the welfare business in the first place, but if it is, I'd prefer that the welfare system I'm paying for at least make an effort to help people move up and out, rather than being a dead-end trap.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2012, 09:30:31 AM »
Skunkeye, agree completely.  Unfortunately the entitlement mentality won't allow this to work any better than any other programs.  At least this thing has a set limit. They get those 250 minutes per month and that's it.


Offline dep190

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2012, 10:11:13 AM »
just a little video for the story

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpAOwJvTOio

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: 1 million Ohioans using free phone program
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2012, 10:47:52 AM »
Skunkeye, agree completely.  Unfortunately the entitlement mentality won't allow this to work any better than any other programs.  At least this thing has a set limit. They get those 250 minutes per month and that's it.

Yeah, that's the unfortunate part of any attempt to help people - a certain percentage (sometimes it seems like quite a large percentage) will just abuse the system and take and take more, and not use the help in a constructive way.  Then the entitlement attitude sets in, and the whole thing gets corrupted.  I have a couple family members who act like this, especially with Medicare.  They'll take any and all services that are provided, because "Medicare pays for it, so why not?", even if it's something unnecessary or that they could easily provide for themselves.