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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1492

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not go to the source for the free government phones:
Quote:
http://www.freegovernmentcellphones.net/


Quote:
The government will pay for your free cell phone and service

Thanks to the FCC-mandated, government-sponsored program, called LifeLine Assistance, the financially disadvantaged can receive a free government cell phone and up to 250 free minutes every month. An estimated 12.5 million other Americans already participate, and tens of millions more qualify to enroll. With the economy falling further and further behind, more and more Americans are finding themselves eligible for the Lifeline phone service program.

In the 90′s, the federal government set up the Lifeline phone service program via a mandate by the FCC. This program, funded by Universal Service Fund fees on telephone bills, provides qualified consumers with discounted (often free) monthly telephone service. It began as just a landline program and a few years ago made it’s debut with cell phones. It’s been commonly called the “Obama phone” but that’s an urban legend as free cell phones were added under the Bush Administration.


From the FCC web site:
Quote:
Universal Service

The goals of Universal Service, as mandated by the 1996 Act, are to:
•Promote the availability of quality services at just, reasonable and affordable rates for all consumers
•Increase nationwide access to advanced telecommunications services
•Advance the availability of such services to all consumers, including those in low income, rural, insular, and high cost areas at rates that are reasonably comparable to those charged in urban areas
•Increase access to telecommunications and advanced services in schools, libraries and rural health care facilities
•Provide equitable and non-discriminatory contributions from all providers of telecommunications services to the fund supporting universal service programs

The Commission established four programs to fulfill these goals. They are:
•The High-Cost program
•The Lifeline (low income) program, including initiatives for Native Americans
•The Schools and Libraries program, commonly referred to as E-rate
•The Rural Health Care program

These programs are funded by the Universal Service Fund. Telecommunications providers must contribute to the fund through an assessment on their interstate and international revenues. The Commission appointed the Universal Service Administrative Company, or USAC, to administer the four programs and the Universal Service Fund.


I am not commenting on the merits of the program, but clearly, the government taxes telecommunications companies who then pass on the charge to you and me (I can't say that all companies pass on the fees, but mine does). Again, conceptually maybe there is some merit to the program, but as usual with most government programs, controls leave something to be desired.

But is all going smoothly?

Quote:
FCC reforms phone subsidy program for the poor

The feds adopt major reforms to a subsidy program for low-income families and introduce a new pilot program to subsidize broadband.

by Marguerite Reardon
January 31, 2012 10:22 AM PST

The Federal Communications Commission voted Tuesday to bring its subsidy programs for low income families into the 21st century by offering funds for basic broadband service for financially disadvantaged Americans.

In its January open meeting Tuesday, the FCC adopted an order that will eliminate the FCC's Link Up program, which offers a one-time $30 credit for the installation of landlines or activation fee for cell phones. And it announced a new pilot program that will direct universal service funds collected for these subsidy programs to offer subsidies for basic broadband service.

The commission also pledged to root out waste, fraud and abuse in another program called Lifeline, which provides a $10 monthly credit to help defray the cost of phone service.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the goal of the reform is to migrate the fund toward supporting broadband services, while also reducing fraud and abuse and duplicative service. It's also meant to bring fiscal responsibility to the program, which is funded by charges to consumers' landline and cellphone bills.

The FCC has adopted a similar reform for other parts of the Universal Service Fund, which bring communications subsidies to rural areas.

In addition to cutting the one-time Link Up program, the agency also plans to limit the ongoing monthly Lifeline subsidy to one phone line per home. This means that people who may have received a subsidy for both a home phone line and a cell phone will now have to choose. The agency will set up a database to ensure there are not duplicate recipients.

The fund, which was started in 1997, has grown by about 1,000 percent. At least one commissioner, Republican Robert McDowell, said he would like to see a cap on the fund to keep it from growing higher. But that suggestion was not included in the final order.

The new reforms approved on Tuesday are expected to save about $200 million in 2012 and $2 billion over the next few years. As part of the order, the agency will use these expected savings to begin a pilot program that will shift funds from telephone-only service to broadband service. The agency has made a similar shift in the rural program. It created the Connect America Fund, which will take money raised through the Universal Service Fund to help fund the build-out of broadband for rural communities.

"Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity in the 21st century," Genachowski said during the meeting.

But Republican commissioner McDowell disagreed with starting a pilot program before the real cost savings are known. He said he doesn't oppose using funds to promote universal access to broadband, but he questions whether it's financially sound to commit funds to a program before the real savings have been assessed. He also questioned the agency's legal authority to implement a new program.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3445

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Technos post is perfect example of of the problem with gov.
First a well intended program by Clinton. Then it got out of control during the GOP years, becoming a program to buy votes from the poor. Such vote buying schemes do not require oversight since they buy votes just as well or better if massive fraud is involved.
Pres from whichever is the other party at the time tries to reform program.
Right blames whole program on libs.
Wash- repeat.
Our tax money drains away.
This is why I support small gov. This is not evil people or Marxism.
It is just biz as usual in most democratic nations.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5347

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Techno--I did not comment on the wisdom of the phone program--it probably needs trimming. I commented on the slanderous approach of some who are eager to believe the worst of people, and too lazy and biased to actually check the facts before they run their mouth.

There is at least 1000 times more waste in military contracting. It takes diligence and competence to find waste and then find the allies to change the rules to eliminate it. Electing amateurs was never a good idea.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3445

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Electing professional pols isnt a good idea, either. It attracts a bad crowd.
Remember the GOP primary?
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1492

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac,

While I believe in a strong military and adequate funding, I also agree that there is huge waste. They need their budgets cut significantly and then they may be motivated to weed out the waste and begin to set priorities. Anyone with almost unlimited resources (military and government) will be wasteful. Once the funding is limited, the spenders usually figure out how to make ends meet.

The only way to control waste and overspending it to limit resources.
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isobras



Joined: 17 Jul 2012
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd add mind-numbing prison sentences for blatant criminal mismanagement, whether government or civilian. Put a few Madoffs to death and a few GSA chiefs in prison for a few decades and this crap would diminish significantly. All most of them face now is a slapped wrist and a new job or fat early retirement. ANY defense costs infinitely beat losing a global war, and anyone who thinks no one wants to eradicate the U.S. as we know it is dreaming. Hell, Barack Obama PROMISED to do that, and he's on OUR side.

Mike \OO/
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NickB



Joined: 30 Jun 2009
Posts: 498
Location: Alameda, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what, the POTUS wants to eradicate the U.S?
No doubt, this is a new incarnation of isobars, the spinner is back... Crying or Very sad
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pueno



Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2701

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

isobras wrote:
I'd add mind-numbing prison sentences for blatant criminal mismanagement, whether government or civilian. Put a few Madoffs to death and a few GSA chiefs in prison for a few decades and this crap would diminish significantly. All most of them face now is a slapped wrist and a new job or fat early retirement. ANY defense costs infinitely beat losing a global war, and anyone who thinks no one wants to eradicate the U.S. as we know it is dreaming. Hell, Barack Obama PROMISED to do that, and he's on OUR side.

Mike \OO/

Mike, are you feeling OK?
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3445

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No he isnt.
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pueno



Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2701

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

keycocker wrote:
No he isnt.

I was waiting for him to answer..... Shocked
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