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CORRUPTION? Obama is buying your votes. Obama hands out 20 million free cell phones, free minutes to those on government assistance Comments

A program to provide low-income Americans with free cell phones - including the phone, free minutes and no contracts - has recently incurred the wrath of conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The irascible Rush was surprised to just recently learn of the program, which has been in effect for awhile and has been dubbed by the public as "Obama phones." Continue Reading

21 - 30 of 39 Comments

  1. Stephany Wiley
    2 years ago is part of Obama's organization. It is done through the Annennburg Foundation. Recall this "foundation" is the orginazition that he and Bill Ayers were both associated with. What a phoney excuse for fact checking that some are so indignant about.

    My sense of this is that Obamas people are fanned out on all the websites to spread the propaganda. Ignor them.

  2. Fillb
    2 years ago


  3. Justin Bank
    2 years ago

    Welfare recipients, and others, can receive a free cell phone, but the program is not funded by the government or taxpayer money.

    SafeLink Wireless, the program mentioned in the e-mail, does indeed offer a cell phone, about one hour’s worth of calling time per month, and other wireless services like voice mail to eligible low-income households. Applicants have to apply and prove that they are either receiving certain types of government benefits, such as Medicaid, or have household incomes at or below 135 percent of the poverty line. Using 2009 poverty guidelines, that’s $14,620 for an individual and a little under $30,000 for a family of four, with slightly higher amounts for Alaska and Hawaii.

    SafeLink is run by a subsidiary of América Móvil, the world’s fourth largest wireless company in terms of subscribers, but it is not paid for directly by the company. Nor is it paid for with "tax payer money," as the e-mail claims. Rather, it is funded through the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company, an independent, not-for-profit corporation set up by the Federal Communications Commission. The USF is sustained by contributions from telecommunications companies such as "long distance companies, local telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, paging companies, and payphone providers." The companies often charge customers to fund their contributions in the form of a universal service fee you might see on your monthly phone bill. The fund is then parceled out to companies, such as América Móvil, that create programs, such as SafeLink, to provide telecommunications service to rural areas and low-income households.

    The SafeLink program has actually been offering cell phones to low-income households in some states since 2008, not beginning "earlier this year," as the e-mail claims. But the program is rooted in a deeper history.

    When phone lines were first laid out in the late 19th century, they were not always inter-operable. That is to say the phone service created by one company to serve one town may not have been compatible with the phone service of another company serving a different town nearby. The telecom companies themselves saw the folly in this arrangement, and so in 1913, AT&T committed itself to resolving interconnection problems as part of the "Kingsbury Commitment."

    That common goal of universal service became a goal of universal access to service when Congress passed The Telecommunications Act of 1934. The act created the FCC and also included in its preamble a promise "to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.” There was a fear, expressed by telecom companies themselves, that market forces alone might encourage companies to pass on providing service to hard-to-reach places. This would both hurt the people who wouldn’t have service as well as existing customers who wouldn’t be able to reach them. So the new FCC was tasked with promoting this principle of "universal service."

    This informal practice was codified when the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) was created as part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to "ensure all Americans, including low-income consumers and those who live in rural, insular, high cost areas, shall have affordable service and [to] help to connect eligible schools, libraries, and rural health care providers to the global telecommunications network." The USAC includes four programs to serve rural areas, high cost areas, rural health care providers, and schools and libraries. Since 1997, USAC has provided discounted land line service to low-income individuals. (A more limited program to offer assistance to low-income individuals was created a decade earlier; the telecommunications act expanded and formalized it.) According to Eric Iversen, USAC director of external relations, the Universal Service Fund more recently began funding programs that provide wireless service, such as the pre-paid cellular SafeLink program mentioned in the chain e-mail.

    The president has no direct impact on the program, and one could hardly call these devices "Obama Phones," as the e-mail author does. This specific program, SafeLink, started under President George Bush, with grants from an independent company created under President Bill Clinton, which was a legacy of an act passed under President Franklin Roosevelt, which was influenced by an agreement reached between telecommunications companies and the administration of President Woodrow Wilson.

    Wilson Phones, anyone?

    – Justin Bank

    Update, Nov. 5: A public relations representative from SafeLink Wireless contacted us to note that the América Móvil subsidiary that operates the SafeLink program and receives funds from the USF is TracFone Wireless, based in Miami, Fla.

  4. CA
    2 years ago

    I knew of a similar plan -summertime-2012-at our apartments. I made cthe mistake of telling a relative inChicago about
    Lifeline doing the same thing for us-instead of"If I were you, don't do this." They "go ahead itis free-do it." I was taken aback bythis remark! I was suspicious--I told them"who's paying for this?

    Again "do it" . Reluctantantly-went over "did it'. I talked to someone my Mothers generation-they said why don't you dispose of this phone? I did so, bought myself a reliable phone.
    Lesson:don't always listen the relative;use own jugement!

  5. Cindy
    2 years ago

    For what it is worth, providing phone service to poor people is nothing new. When basic land-line phone prices skyrocketed in the 90s, many state organizations began providing free or really cheap basic service to the poor. Since most people have gone to cell phones for service, this is just a continuation of the program. If these are like track phones, then 250 minutes accounts to $25 a month--about as cheap as a cell phone can be. Is there fraud for lack of oversight? Of course! But is this the President's fault? Not really. Will some people jump at the chance to get free stuff? Yep, you bet. I know plenty who do. Again, this is not the President's fault. Does this mean I think we should vote for Obama? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Obama is totally evil. But the Republicans are just as evil. Many believe the poor are poor because they don't work hard enough or because they are drug addicts, or stupid. This is just wrong! I know PLENTY of poor people who work two or three jobs. I know plenty of college grads who can't find work or who are working at McDonald's. Catholics ought to reconsider voting for either party---the Republicans are out of touch with plight of the poor and the Democrats are quite simply murders. Neither philosophy is Catholic! Wake up Catholics!!! Abandon both parties---and pray. Our Lady of Fatima, ora pro nobis!

  6. Joe
    2 years ago

    The American tax payer is paying for these phones and free minutes regardless. We can not afford these givaways programs any longer. Controls must be put in place. The country is going broke and too many don't care. Sharing goes both ways in Christ's time and now.

  7. True witness
    2 years ago

    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.


    Q: Has the Obama administration started a program to use "taxpayer money" to give free cell phones to welfare recipients?

    A: No. Low-income households have been eligible for discounted telephone service for more than a decade. But the program is funded by telecom companies, not by taxes, and the president has nothing to do with it.

  8. Rival
    2 years ago

    Re: President Obama buys votes by giving cellular telephones free of charge.

    The Catholic Online organization is not obeying the Lord's commandment that forbids us to lie and to make false accusations.

    Our president has not ever proposed any program as the one COO is promoting. Shame on you, and may God forgive your trespasses.

  9. abey
    2 years ago

    That's "Sorcery" a sign of things to come if reelected, off that which has been, that same Sorcery by which it is Prophesied that the whole world would be deceived.

  10. Jason
    2 years ago

    To the "fact checkers" open your eyes.

    Cell phones, food stamps, obamacare...

    "Redistribution" is what this buffoon is all about. Buying votes in order to remain in power and bankrupting the country in the process. He should be brought on charges of treason.

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