The free cell phone program is back in the news again. U.S. Senator David Vitter from Louisiana has introduced legislation to end to the Lifeline Assistance Program. This program, that helps poor Americans with discount communications services. Lifeline Assistance was created in 1984 for landlines, and then expanded under President Bush to include cell phones.
When an on-the-street survey was taken, it was found that while many people felt they needed a phone for emergencies. In every city you can find neighborhood stores, promoting and registering free government phones. It may be that greedy cell phone companies are the ones promoting the expansion of the program for their own gain. Tweaking things in the free program may be the answer, to exclude waste, rather than putting it all together.
Vitter on the Free Cell Phone Program
“It is unfortunate when these programs become so expansive that it no longer addresses its primary mission to help those with the direst needs. Our legislation will restore the Lifeline Assistance Program, to its original intent and also protect taxpayers from further excessive government spending. (Comment from Senator Vitter)
The bill has not yet been brought to the Senate floor for a vote. Many senators are uncomfortable with the waste in the free phone program. No doubt in the days ahead, there will be some cost-saving changes to the program.
Who Stands to Lose
Louisiana was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The storm caused 400,000 residents to be displaced. There are many poor communities, that have not been restored. Should the program be ended, those ravaged by Katrina would lose the benefits that the free cell phone program has to offer them. These are the types of citizens who will be affected by the program’s end. Hopefully, improvements will be made, that will allow the neediest of our citizens to have access to affordable cell phone services.
Is your Cell Phone a Necessity
In short, every family living in extreme poverty will be the loser if this program ends. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater, but redesign the program to eliminate waste and fraud. It would be wiser to fix the free government program than chuck it altogether.
Some say a cell phone is not a necessity. To those who feel this way…. put aside your cell phone, blackberry, or smartphone and don’t use it for a month. Come back in 30 days and tell me how you did without a phone. The cell phone of today, is the landline of yesterday, and as vital as being able to communicate was then, it is even more vital, now!
The Faces of Poverty
Senator Vitter, along with many other conservative lawmakers, sees the free government phone program at its worst. H.owever, the program helps the elder, and disabled, single mothers, and unemployed. I see the disabled veteran, who can not call for help when he falls out of his wheelchair. I see the single mother, unable to reach her employer, or her children or elderly parents.
There are faces of poverty, and it can not be treated with a mob mentality. Everyone does not want to remain on the government dole, not everyone has given up. There are many trying to pull themselves up and out of poverty. This program can help them!
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