OBAMA PHONE (FCC Redistributing Opportunity)
By: Paul Goree
The joke around Washington D.C. and on “Obama Hate Radio Stations” is that President Obama and his administration is wasting tax payer dollars, on redistributing taxes to support the cost of free cell phones for all welfare recipients and medicaid recipients. This joke is still in spin as conservatives grasp for every bit of relevant policy enacted by Obama, to sensationalize it and turn it in some shock radio/journalism protest against President Obama and his ability to be President (second term).
The need for telephone service is nothing new, within the homes of many welfare recipients, who due to their below/or at poverty level status, cannot afford, what some might consider a luxury item of conveniency. Could you imagine your life without a telephone? If you wanted to empower yourself with employment, obtaining a job would be hassle and quite embarrassing as potential employers may wish to call you back, but have a forwarding number and are required to leave message at unknown numbers. Without a phone, emergency become more of a tragic event, as it becomes impossible to call out. And what about the working single mothers/fathers who just wants to call home and check on their children. The telephone is a very essential tool necessary for communication.
The Glenn Beck types of our times, would have you believe that welfare recipients are not worthy of telephone service, unless they pay for it themselves, like the rest of working America (myrightwingdad.blogspot.com/2009/10/fw-free-obama-cell-phone-for-welfare.html) It no surprise to me that the information coming from these straight lace conservatives, is false and simply shock value spin, of what actually is going on.
The so termed, “Obama Phone” actually has nothing to do with President Obama, and simply reflects prior legislation achieved during his administration. The formation of what today is Safelink and América Móvil, (the distributors of the free cell phones) began with the 1934 Telecommunication act, which required telecommunication companies to finds some way to subsides services for the poor and rural areas. The thought then, was that companies would bypass rural areas and low income areas, in search of sales. In 1996, as part of the Telecommunication Act 1996, Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) was created to formally oversee the distribution of service for poverty targeted groups. The FCC’s goal was to provide universal service for all Americans. This new revision was enacted by President Bush, with funds approved by President Clinton, from a legacy act pass by President Roosevelt, is over 80 years in the making. Finally this program is functioning as dreamed, and it’s a shame that it is being criticized wrongly just because it attempts to redistribute wealth to all Americans through social welfare.
Today, any welfare recipient (this includes Medicaid, Section 8, SSI, NSL, LIHEAP,TANF) or person who’s total annual income is below 135% of the state or federal guidelines, can simply call the Safelink 800 number or visit the Safelink website, where they easily fill out a form (less than 5 questions) to see if they are eligible for a free cell phone. The phone service continues with welfare eligibility, if the person decides to remove themselves or is removed from welfare, they are able to keep the phone free of charge, but will have to start paying monthly service fees.
There are two types of phone, Motorola 175 and the LG300.
The phone has the following service planes:
Option 1: 250 minutes – no rollover, 1 text message costs 1 minute
Option 2: 125 minutes – with rollover, 1 text message cost 1 minute
Option 3: 68 minutes – with rollover, 3 text messages cost 1 minute, international long distance to over 100 locations
The phone carries free insurance for replacement or lost/stolen phones, and the best part about this plan is that it’s absolutely free. Additional minutes can be purchased for the phone, if the recipient goes over their minutes.
This is what I call excellent social welfare. For a long time, welfare recipients (especially single working mothers/fathers) have worried about the need of a telephone, but could not afford the flux pricing telephone service often involves. Many believe that regular service client might find these free services unfair. I myself do not have a Safelink phone and pay about $250 a month on a family plan with Sprint. But I’m not complaining, because I like the ideal of redistribution. The FCC’s ideal of universal service helps those of us working or financially able to afford any phone of our choice, while still providing basic service to those who can’t. This provides proof that we can exist as within a Social Democracy and still have Capitalism function.
I am interested in hearing what you feel about the “Obama Phone”? Do you think it is good social welfare legislation? Or do you think the FCC revision is wrong and that those funds could be used to provide service some other way, than a free telephone? If you would like more information about Safelink, you can visit their website at Safelink.com or call them at 1-800-977-3768.
1.)Bank, Justin The Obama Phone?, FactCheck.Org (Annenberg Policy Center), Oct 09/29/2009
2.)Free Cell Phone, Do You Qualify
3.) Free Obama Cell Phone for Welfare Recipients, 10/25/2009,