Many want to stop free government phones. Lifeline provides free government cell phones to low-income families. The government has been helping the poor get landline phone service since the 80s. Today they have upgraded the program to include cell phone service.
There has been a cry against the government phone program. Even politicians are trying to shut down the initiative. No doubt, if the next President of the United States is a Republican, he or she will stop free government phones in its tracks.
Not to get political, but cutting waste and fraud is a big part of the platform. There had been problems with this program, but measures have been put in place to vet those that seek assistance, and communication companies that do not comply with the rules are banned from the program.
Should we Stop Free Government Phones for the Working Poor?
Did you know that everyone poor is not unemployed? A large part of the population has one or more low-wage jobs and still needs government assistance to care for their families. The working poor work for employers who don’t give them enough hours to qualify for medical benefits or can’t afford them.
Many are quick to resent the poor, yet how many of us would really be willing to exchange their menial salaries and low-income communities for receiving the so-called’ free stuff’ poor people get? Probably no one!
You may hear ignorant things like, “Why should hard-working people have to pay for phones, for lazy people who won’t work?” or “Get a job like the rest of us and stop being a burden to society!” The ignorance of these statements is outrageous. The Center for Poverty Research stated that in 2013, 10.5 million or 23 percent of people working in America were poor or the “working poor.”
Where have all the Good Jobs Gone?
Over 40,000 factories have been outsourced overseas and millions of high paying jobs. Why were these jobs so important? These were the jobs that didn’t require a college degree. These were the jobs where you got on-the-job training.
These were the jobs that gave men and women the ability to move into the middle class. The export of these high-paying factory jobs has created a whole group of trained people for little else.
The working poor now works on jobs that pay a fraction of the salary earned on factory jobs. n Today, many who work can not care for their families without seeking assistance from the government. Those who are now looked down on for needing help were once proud, middle-class Americans.
Are there no Workhouses?
Many opponents of the free cell phone program seem to resent the poor. “Are there no workhouses?” These were the words croaked out by the hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge in the Christmas Carol. Workhouses were instituted in early American history when England’s poor laws were implemented in the colonies.
Workhouses or almshouses were a system of gathering the poor and putting them out of sight. In these large institutionalized ghettos, children were separated from parents, and husbands were separated from their wives to prevent breeding.
The people were divided into seven categories by age and physical condition, and each group was separate from the other. You could live in a workhouse your whole life and never see your parents. Unless a wealthy benefactor allowed you to rise above poverty, you were doomed if they lived and died in these houses of horror. The word, poorhouse always brings up Oliver Twist’s image living in squalor with a group of boys his age. They were cold, hungry, and in tatters, begging for a bit more gruel.
The Great Depression
During the great depression, over 25% of the workforce were unemployed. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established many programs that assisted the poor. Two of these programs were Aid to Dependent Children and unemployment compensation!.
I cannot imagine what would have happened to this country if some of these programs were not instituted in America. While there will always be those who try to abuse these privileges, there are those who cannot do without them.
So, although some may feel the poor don’t deserve SNAP, Medicaid, help with housing, WIC for their infants and children, they sure don’t deserve free cell phones. There are no longer workhouses to ship the poor, to be unseen and forgotten. Communities are large, fragmented, and no longer care for their neighbors and churches who care for the poor are busy building million-dollar sanctuaries and homes.
An article in the Washington Post Blog by Columnist , it was reported about outsourcing:
“The debate over outsourcing has been morphing, and today there are growing numbers of people who think that what started as a sensible, globalized extension of sending some work outside a firm to specialized companies may, in fact, be creating long-term structural unemployment in the United States, hollowing out entire industries.” [More]
Our Brother’s Keeper
Many people feel they are not responsible for other people’s problems. “If you are poor, that is not ‘my’ fault is the sentiment. If you can’t feed your family or are sick and don’t have insurance, that’s your problem.” There is something wrong with a society that has no concern for his fellow man.
In some of the most difficult times in history, man’s survival depended on family and community. At one time, the church and community played a great part in helping the poor. There was a time when you could knock on someone’s back door and ask for work in exchange for a meal and a place to sleep in a barn.
What we need to do is, teach children a trade as a part of their education. Pay people a living wage. Bringing back high paying jobs from China, Mexico, and other countries put Americans back to work and returned dignity to the US worker.
To those who want to stop free government phones, I suggest this; be grateful that you still have your home, cars, and most of all, your job. You are blessed today, but remember, by this time next year, you may be in line applying for unemployment, SNAP, and a free cell phone!
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