It’s Obama phone week in District!
Not content with watching a bloated federally administered program that provides free cell phones to just about anyone who asks grow from $822 million annually to more than $2 billion during the Obama years, Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray has proclaimed the second week in September “Lifeline Awareness Week” – using the official name of the “Obama phone” program to try to make it grow even more.
“The goal of the Public Service Commission is to sign up as many eligible District consumers as possible,” Commissioner Joanne Doddy Fort said in a news release announcing the cellular holiday, according to the Daily Caller. “In today’s highly interconnected world, no one should be left out.”
And with Obama phones, almost no one does get left out. (If you’ve forgotten why they’re called “Obama phones,” this video will remind you.)
As National Review writer Jillian Kay Melchior reported in August, the program is ripe for abuse. Eligibility for the phones is supposed to be limited to those who qualify for some other government benefit (liberals call them entitlements) such as food stamps. But even during the reign of the “Food Stamp President,” that eligibility requirement is more honored in the breach than the observance, Melchior wrote in an Aug. 1 column.
Melchior got three of the phones just for putting her name down. No questions asked — about income, eligibility or anything else.
In the nation’s capital, Obama phone recipients get cell phone service through Verizon at a rate of $3 per month, $1 a month for seniors, plus fees.
So who pays for the rest? Other cell phone users (like most people reading this), through a monthly service charge on every phone bill (it often appears as a “Universal Service” fee.)
Republicans are trying to kill the program, with a Senate bill introduced this year by Sens. Davis Vitter, R-La., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.
“This phone program has expanded far beyond its original intent, and as so many middle class Americans struggle underneath this economy, it is really offensive for Washington to make taxpayers pay for free cell phones for others,” Vitter said while introducing the bill.
But making taxpayers pay for free cell phones for others is what Obama phones are all about.
Making taxpayers pay for free everything for others is what the Obama years are all about.