Are we now living in a nation where every need, of every person, has become a right ? And if so, does this mean that the government must supply every need to every person?
How many of you were aware that the federal government has a program in place that actually collects taxes from communication companies and then doles it back out to pay for cell phones for welfare recipients?
That’s right my friends. Some of those hidden taxes in your phone bill are going to pay for cell phones for anyone who receives state or federal food stamps, Medicaid or any other welfare program, who are at, or below 135% of the poverty level.
The estimated cost to tax payers is around $1 Billion a year. This will of course grow as more people become aware of the program. Which by the way is being advertised. There are currently twenty some states participating in the program. This number will no doubt also grow.
The people in the program receive a basic phone. No smart phones here, thank goodness. But they also are given 250 free minutes.
The money is coming from the Universal Service Fund, which originally received its money from taxing telephone companies. But in 1996 the federal government expanded it to tax local telephone companies, wireless companies, pager companies and payphone providers. In 2008 the Federal Communication Commission expanded the original program that subsidized phone service for rural areas, to include cell phone service for low-income people.
There also doesn’t seem to be any regulating of those who receive this entitlement. So if someone is low-income and gets into the program, but later rises above the poverty level, no one is really checking to see that they are removed from the program. There is also the real danger that this will hurt the phone providers, if more people take advantage of the program instead of finding a way to pay for the cell phones themselves.
Has America gone so far down the road towards being a welfare state, that everything is now considered a right? Well according to a statement made by SafeLink, one of the providers of the free cell phone service, “cell phone ownership is a right”.
So this is just another example of government taking from one citizen and giving to another. This is theft on a governmental level. We know that the cost of paying these taxes by the phone companies is being passed onto the paying consumer. That means that the government is using the companies to collect a tax from citizens. But not from all citizens. This tax is only paid by people who choose to work and pay for their own needs. Now they are being forced to pay for the services of others. Let us face it, phone service is never going to rise to the level of an unalienable right.
At a time when leadership in Washington is telling us that we must make drastic cuts in spending. When they have decided to make large cuts in defence spending. Should we really be paying for free cell phones for anyone? I say no. I say do away with the Universal Service Fund and save $1 Billion a year.