The federal government currently has 185 means tested welfare programs on the books. According to Forbes, total government welfare spending for 2010 reached nearly $900 billion, up nearly one-fourth since 2008 (24.3%). It's obvious that the government has found a way to involve itself in almost every aspect of our lives. Although some people, like myself, would prefer the government to leave me alone as much as possible, others praise big brother for their efforts. I can generally agree to disagree on the extent of government. But these days, I just can't find any logical reasoning for how far we've allowed the government to go. Somewhere in those 185+ programs is a program that provides people with a "free" cell phone. Not many people seemed to know about this program before a few days ago when a video of an Obama supporter bragging about having an “Obama phone” went viral on the web.
After I laughed at the video I wanted to know more about the program the woman was referring to as "Obama phone." I had heard radio advertisements for a government phone but did not realize how extensive the program actually is.
The program is called Lifeline and was originally created back in the early 1980s to subsidize landline phone service for low income Americans. It was funded by government-collected telecommunication fees, paid by consumers.
So how did Obama get the credit for this woman's phone? Well, in 2008 the program was expanded to support cell phones. Evidently because Obama is the president, he gets the credit. In addition, several websites have popped up promoting “free” government cell phones, including the”The Obama Cell Phone” website at Obamaphone.net.
Evidently the Obama campaign didn't like all the attention on this. The 'Obama Truth Team' sent a Tweet on Thursday saying, “FACT: Discounted phone services are provided through telecom companies, ‘the President has nothing to do with it'" I don't blame them. Reports have shown that in 2008, the cost of the program significantly escalated to $772 million. By 2011 it cost a whopping $1.6 billion.