Just don't call it an 'Obama phone'
Jillian Rayfield writes over at Salon that the "Right wing's latest bogus obsession" is the "Obama phone":
Why are Republicans looking to scale back Lifeline, a Reagan-era policy that provides discounts to low-income phone users? Because the policy, referred to as "Obama phones" by conservatives, has had the bad luck of being distorted as the Obama administration's policy of handing out free phones to welfare recipients -- a claim that was boosted by a racially charged video that went viral.
This month, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the policy. "The program has nearly tripled in size from $800 million in 2009 to $2.2 billion per year in 2012," Republicans on the committee wrote in March. "American taxpayers -- and we as their elected representatives -- need to know how much of this growth is because of waste, fraud and abuse."
Lifeline began during the Reagan administration, and was expanded during George W. Bush's presidency to include cellphone service. It's funded by phone bill fees that most people pay -- not, as some conspiracy theorists believe, by taxes.
While it's true this program didn't begin under the Obama Administration, perhaps we "Right-wingers" are comfortable with the term "Obamaphone" because the program has nearly tripled in size during Obama's watch and like most government programs, it is riddled with fraud, waste and abuse. In a similar way, we tend to think of Obama as the food stamp President due to the fact that SNAP usage has exploded under his watch, yet we would never claim that he started the program.
Most of us "Right-wingers" (those who favor liberty and limited government) oppose unsustainable big government whether it comes from a Democrat or a Republican. And we certainly don't care if you call a tax a tax; a fee; a mandate or even quantitative easing. They are all a means to the same end and result in less buying power for the person or entity that earned the money.
I grudgingly got up and went to work this past Monday and finished wiring a project in Sacramento. I really didn't feel like getting out of bed but I did it. After completing my work in the early afternoon I decided to go and check progress on the rehab of a rental property my wife and I own since I was just a few miles away. By the time we had evicted the previous tenants from the home, the damage to be repaired totaled more than $10,000. Ah, the life of the Bourgeoisie. But first I stopped for some lunch and found that others had found a motivating reason to get out of bed on that Monday as well:
As the total value of all these "free" benefits increase, at some point people will decide that it's no longer worth it to get out of bed and go to work -- especially on a Monday. That's the point when our society as we know it will collapse and President Obama is only helping to accelerate our pace toward that day.
So, Ms. Rayfield, what we "Right-wingers" are really trying to say, is that big government just doesn't work, no matter how someone decides to label it.
Scott blogs at www.politiseeds.com