Anyone who has carefully examined a monthly cellphone bill knows that there's all sorts of fees and taxes attached. One of those fees pays for so-called "Obamaphones." That is, qualifying individuals are entitled to free cellphone service, even illegal immigrants.
What most people don't know is that the federal government spent $2.2B in 2012 for nearly 20M Americans to use Obamaphones (or, $110/Obamaphone). According to an article in the Fiscal Times, 41% of those Obamaphone users (that's 6M!) couldn't demonstrate eligibility or failed to respond to request for certification.
How exactly does someone qualify for an Obamaphone?
If anyone in a household participates in any government assistance program--from food stamps to unemployment--or if the total household income is below the federal poverty limit, presto! That individual is entitled to free cellphone service, courtesy not of President Obama but of the nation's cellphone users!
It's called a "use tax." It's similar to what's being contemplated in Congress to pay for repairing the nation's roads and bridges because Congress has bankrupted the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Heard this narrative before?
Of course, conservatives are upset with the Obamaphone program, citing the fraud and waste associated with what's nothing other than another taxpayer-subsidized entitlement program. And, of course, the liberals contend that without phone access, those in poverty or near-poverty have no way to get help in emergencies or to respond quickly to job opportunities.
That's all well and good. But, all The Motley Monk can afford is "old technology," that is, a "flip (cell) phone." As of this month's bill, those "add on" taxes add nearly 20% to The Motley Monk's monthly cellphone bill.
So, The Motley Monk asks: "What's next?" Unlimited texting? Free high-speed access to the Internet? 4G android phones to watch videos, movies, and Hulu on an Obamaphone? How about Obama-Iphones?
Having paid that use tax on his flip cellphone for nearly 5 years, where's an Obamaphone for The Motley Monk?
Let the discussion begin...
To read the article in the Fiscal Times, click on the following link:
"What that Sneaky Fee on Your Phone Bill Means."