Hey 16 other states now have some sort of deal with TracFone to provide free cell phones and service to people on their welfare rolls so why not just keep the ball rolling right into Colorado?
Six months ago we had a post about Alabama kicking off their own nifty cell phone program for all their, at the time–it’s no doubt higher now, 560,000 residents on public assistance which can be found here.
Now we can’t really blame TracFone, the company behind this nationwide push for cell phones with talk and texting capabilities for welfare recipients, they are just taking advantage of FCC regulations that were put into place many years ago designed to bring telephone and emergency service to rural and “financially disadvantaged” customers.
After all there are millions of American citizens who happen to live way out in the boonies and it’s really not fair to force them to shoulder the entire cost burden of running telephone lines and placing the requisite equipment so they too can access 911 emergency services and be able to place phone calls to friends and family. Who would argue about lending a hand to this narrow slice of our society?
I think the problems begin to pop up when taxpayers and telephone service customers start getting wind of the fact that politicians, pandering to the usual suspects hoping to get their vote during the following election cycle, are forcing them to subsidize those on public assistance with fancy pants $50 cell phones and in Colorado’s case, 83 minutes a month for talking and texting. There is a provision for those receiving the free phones and service in Colorado to purchase additional minutes above and beyond the 83 provided each month but it isn’t clear how that would work.
Oh who are we kidding, taxpayers and telephone customers will be paying for any (all) of these overages too.
Sponsors... article continues below...
Oh I know a certain group of people get all up in a snit when anyone attempts to bring this kind of perk for those on welfare up for discussion, pretending they are somehow more compassionate and understanding of their fellow man who just happened to come into a tough bump in the road of life and needs a hand until they can get back on their feet.
In reality very few people have an issue with assisting those who need access to a temporary safety net until they are able to regroup and get back in the game. The problem lies with those who aren’t looking for a safety net but turn our taxpayer funded welfare system into a lifelong hammock then pass the program on to their offspring and things like free cell phones and service become yet another reason for these people to wonder why they should bother moving away from public assistance and become self sustaining either for the first time or once again. It wasn’t that long ago when most people on welfare were very uncomfortable asking their neighbors to pay for most of their food and rent and couldn’t wait to get off the public dole. These days, perhaps not so much.
From today’s denverpost.com,
Poor in Colorado may get free phones
TracFone Wireless wants to give cellphones to Coloradans who receive public assistance.
Thousands of low-income Coloradans reliant on public assistance could get a free cellphone under a plan before the state Public Utilities Commission.
If approved, the plan by TracFone Wireless in Miami would make Colorado the 17th state it has settled into with free cell service for the indigent, a form of wireless welfare that proponents say taps into one of the last untapped markets for the telecom technology.
“Our hope is to have it up and running by September,” said Jose Fuentes, TracFone’s director of government relations. “Historically, it’s a very underutilized service, and we’d like that to change.”
The program is a twist on Lifeline, a long-standing federal subsidy that provides low-income families with a break on their land-line telephone bill in order to ensure emergency 911 service.
In Colorado, it’s called LITAP — the Low Income Telephone Assistance Program — and is available to anyone receiving aid from any of six welfare funds: Colorado Works Assistance (TANF), Supplemental Security Income, LEAP, Aid to Needy Disabled, the Old Age Pension Fund and Aid to the Blind.
The rest of this article can be read here>>>