Originally Posted by bmorepunk
This article is dated June of 2012:
Free Phones Costing Taxpayers $2.1 Billion Per Year
You're probably familiar with the food stamp program which grew from $35 billion in 2008 to $75 billion last year. End Quote
A program called Lifeline provides free phones and free monthly minutes to anyone on food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, Head Start, and several other government programs. And just like food stamps, Lifeline (aka "phone stamps") has been growing by leaps and bounds since 2008, at significant cost to taxpayers.
Lifeline was started in the mid-'80s to reduce the cost of phone service to rural and needy customers. The program's costs are covered by a tax included on every monthly phone bill called the Universal Service Charge. The program eventually grew to include discounted cell service but took off in 2009, partly because TracFone announced a new program whereby eligible individuals could get a free phone and free monthly minutes.
And the freebies won't end with basic calling service. As part of the effort to extend broadband, the FCC has been discussing making broadband service part of the Lifeline program. In other words, taxpayers could soon be paying for smartphone features on these free government phones.
I have little faith in the Government's ability to cure waste, fraud, and abuse.