Free cell phones….on us!

When you listed to this guy, you’ll know who I’m talking about, what do you think? It makes me absolutely FURIOUS!

“Odell Hilson sold his phone for $20 because he needed the money. He didn’t remember which company gave it to him, but he didn’t seem to care that taxpayers picked up the tab.”

Then he had the nerve to say this laughingly:

“They would be upset, because they figure they were paying for it and if that’s the case, then that’s not my problem.”

Here’s another quote:

“Look at your cell phone bill. There’s a line called the Universal Service Fund. It goes to pay for this Federal Communications Commission-sponsored program called Lifeline. It’s usually a couple dollars a month.”

The woman who was calling her family didn’t offend me in the least. It was the man’s whole attitude like “didn’t he pull a fast one?”

Do you think this has anything to do with the fact that far too many people feel “entitled” to getting everything they  want need for free? Only it’s not free. We’re paying for it! What do you think of this? Did you even know? We didn’t. Paul and I stood here with our mouths hanging wide open.

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5 Responses to Free cell phones….on us!

  1. SKL says:

    This kind of discussion always gets me in trouble. Look, I care about people who are truly in need. But I wasn’t born yesterday. There are huge numbers of people who make it their life’s work to avoid work other than signing up for subsidies and free stuff. It would be possible to police it better, but that would not be politically correct. In fact, they do all they can to make it easier for people to get more than they actually need. For example, if you can show you receive one subsidy, that by itself qualifies you for another subsidy, and so on until your real income is double what your employed next-door neighbor earns. The bleeding hearts will argue that this is a “leg up,” but then why do these families never stop needing assistance?

    We all know that many / most aid recipients are going through temporary hard times and won’t be in that situation forever. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t address the issues that do exist. I used to work in a tax firm, and we took a big hit when the tax shelter industry blew up. Nobody was out there saying “let it go because most tax folks are just hardworking everyday people with bills to pay.” It makes no sense. If I had a history of being on temporary aid, and now I’m paying taxes, I still would not want my neighbor to be able to live high off the hog at the expense of my kids’ education fund.

    Now as to the cell phone issue. I guess I don’t mind the concept behind the program, because a cell phone is a fairly cheap way to keep folks in the employment loop. I think they ought to have to put up something for it, just because that’s how the real world works. Or it could be provided as part of an educational program designed to develop marketable skills. Either way, it is an outrage that they aren’t even checking these folks’ eligibility before handing out the phones. Even if you pay full price for a phone, you have to come up with proof that you have the means to pay the bills. If they can check my credit and employment history, why can’t they find out if Joe Blow doesn’t qualify or already got his free phone last month?

  2. Laura says:

    You know, this is a really good idea… for people who truly need it. I know someone who lives very simply, partly out of necessity, and partly out of choice. Meaning, even if he had buckets of money, he’d likely live exactly as he does now. He never had a phone. For years and years and years, he didn’t have a phone. He worked in construction by trade, and just knew where the jobs were going to be. His bosses knew he didn’t have a phone, so they told him at the end of one job where the next one was, or he’d stop by the Union Hall, and get his next assignment. For emergency contact, he used my parents’ phone.

    Well, now he’s retired, living on his retirement, which isn’t very much at all, and we decided, since he’s getting up in years, that he needed a phone. He didn’t want a landline, and that wasn’t practical for him anyway, because he’s rarely in his home. He’s always out and about. So we arranged for him to have a cellphone. Nothing fancy, just a basic call-and-receive phone. He *could* text, if we could teach him how, but he doesn’t really get it, so we don’t push the idea.

    So I get that it’s a good idea, but so many people would abuse it. For example, are they giving out basic call phones, like in my example? Or are these full-on smartphones, with internet access, texting, etc? Because THAT’S not necessary.

    I also think that, unless you can demonstrate that you are absolutely ‘poorer than a church mouse’, that you should have to pay SOMETHING for this phone. $10 a month. Something to demonstrate that yes, you understand that you are getting it highly discounted, and you are contributing to the cost.

    But free? When you’re gonna sell it for $20 and use that money for what? Drugs? Sorry to go all stereotypey, but what else was that guy who was so bloody ungrateful going to use the money for? If it was for food, I’m guessing he wouldn’t have been so flip.

    • SKL says:

      Re your construction worker friend – maybe he can’t read. My step-grandfather never could use a phone because he could not dial a number. Now that my granny is dead, someone set him up with a few speed-dials that he can call for emergencies. Coincidentally (?) he was also a construction worker.

  3. SKL says:

    Notice the Marlboro sign in the background? I am vigorously fighting the urge to go into spending priorities of “poor” communities. Priorities – what are those?

  4. Nikki says:

    Sadly, there are a lot of people who don’t use the system they way it’s intended. And what’s more sad, or maddening, are the amount of people who think they can take-take-take, because they feel they are, just like you said, entitled. It’s probably up there with being the biggest problem our country has.

    Most people only value what they work for, people dont respect things when they are handed them.

    With that said, I think the program itself is wonderful. It has great intentions. I know quite a few people who would benefit from it. I’d never complain about $2 on my bill for something like that. I am ALL for helping, because lord knows, I’ve been there a time or two. I love programs like this. It’s so sad that anyone would do that. There will always be those people who ruin it for everyone.

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