The government has a new and improved plan to buy the hearts and souls of its loyal subjects.
The Federal Communications Commission is gearing up to produce a new proposal that would expand upon the “Lifeline program,” which is often referred to as the “Obamaphone” plan.
Three Democrats on the FCC now wish to subsidize “free” Internet use to correspond with the “free” phones.
The Lifeline program is funded by government fees connected to consumers’ phone bills. Critics of the new proposal fear the current cost of the $1.7 billion program will only increase and pass on higher fees to consumers.
Democrats claim an increase in cost doesn’t have to coincide with the new proposal.
Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said that she believes covering the use of broadband service rather than expanding the whole program will neutralize any future surge of consumer fees.
“The Lifeline program, established in the mid ‘80’s, has been stuck in the mid ‘80’s,” Clyburn told National Journal during an interview Wednesday on C-Span’s “The Communicators.”
For years, Republicans have been fighting – unsuccessfully – to minimize the Lifeline program due to rampant waste and corruption. In 2013, 44 House Republicans signed a letter calling for Lifeline to be eliminated altogether.
“Obamaphone welfare symbolizes how the culture of government dependency is weakening America,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn R-Tenn. at the time.
Proponents of the expanded Internet proposal don’t see it that way.
Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat commissioner who was nominated to her seat by President Obama, said that subsidizing the cost of Internet access will help poor families, particularly kids who use the Internet for homework.
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