Martin Luther King's Dream now includes a free, government supplied cell phone
Subsidizing a land line for poor people is necessary. You can't live in the modern world without a phone, anymore than you can exist without food or water. And if you genuinely can't afford one, the government should at least help pay for it.
But there are a lot of us who get along perfectly well in the modern world without a cell phone - me included. I hate the damn things. I hate what they've become. I hate people who are constantly on them while trying to converse with you. I hate texting, sexting, iphones and other manifestations of evil that have interferred with social discourse and destroyed good manners.
But Uncle Sam now sees possessing a cell phone as a civil right.
Recently, a federal government program called the Universal Service Fund came to the Keystone State and some residents are thrilled because it means they can enjoy 250 minutes a month and a handset for free, just because they don't have the money to pay for it. Through Assurance Wireless and SafeLink from Tracfone Wireless these folks get to reach out and touch someone while the cost of their service is paid for by everyone else. You see, the telecommunications companies are funding the Universal Service Fund to the tune of $4 billion a year because the feds said they have to and in order to recoup their money, the companies turn around and hike their fees to paying customers. But those of use paying for the free service for the poor, should be happy about this infuriating situation, says Gary Carter, manager of national partnerships for Assurance, because "the program is about peace of mind." Free cell service means "one less bill that someone has to pay, so they can pay their rent or for day care...it is a right to have peace of mind," Cater explained.
There are so many things bizarrely wrong with the above statement, I will pick only one; paying bills, setting up a family budget, and paying for only things you can afford is the essence of self reliance. Everyone may need a phone; but a cell phone is a luxury. If you can afford it, great. If not, save for it, or change your family budget priorities.
The thing about subsidized land lines is that the phone companies - or consortiums - offer reduced rates based on need and are reimbursed by government. This cell phone program is an out and out giveaway.
What's next, flat screen TV's?
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky