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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Barack Hussein Obama buying the election one phone at a time

The Obama campaign has given out more than a million free cell phones in Ohio (at government expense, of course) in a bid to woo voters in this critical state (Hat Tip: Ellen S).
A program that provides subsidized phone service to low-income individuals has nearly doubled in size in Ohio in the past year — now covering more than a million people. At the same time, federal officials say they’re reining in waste, fraud and abuse in the program.
The Federal Communications Commission announced recently that reforms have saved $43 million since January and are expected to save $200 million by year’s end. In Ohio, savings are expected to be $2.9 million a year.
The savings were realized in part because the government gave out fewer cellphones to ineligible people and took steps to avoid issuing duplicate phones.
But the size of the program in the state — and profits to the increasing number of cellphone companies involved — has exploded in recent months, according to a Dayton Daily News analysis of program data.
The program in Ohio cost $26.9 million in the first quarter of 2012, the most recent data available, versus $15.6 million in the same timeframe in 2011. Compared to the first quarter of 2011, the number of people in the program nearly doubled to more than a million.
Growth could cost everyone who owns a phone. The program is funded through the “Universal Service Fund” charge on phone bills — usually a dollar or two per bill — and the amount of the fee is determined by the cost of this and other programs.
A growth of $100 million in this program could result in an increased fee of a few cents on the average bill, according to officials from the agency that administers the program. The total cost of the program nationwide was $1.5 billion in 2011, up from $1.1 billion in 2010.
A billion here, a billion there. Eventually it adds up to real money.

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At 4:20 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

To be fair, the Spanish American War Telephone Tax, enacted in 1898 or 1899 to pay for that war because at that time telephones were a luxury item, wasn't repealed until around 1994 or 5. In fact about 30% of any American phone bill is vaguely described as taxes and tariffs for no clear reason or purpose. Heck, I'm charged sales tax ON tariffs too, at the state level. Telephony taxes and tariffs have ALWAYS been a freebie to the government because no one is accountable and they don't have to clearly tell you what it's for, on the bill. For instance, I get charged an E911 surcharge on my VOIP account because....well...because who knows? I still have 911 service and it's no more or less effective on my phone or more or less expensive to deliver. But because VOIP unlike POTS, won't work when the power is out, the government gets to warn me with creepy statements that the world could get pretty scary in an emergency with VOIP. So they 'fix' the problem by charging me more to not have 911 when or if the power goes out. I still won't have it, but I've paid something to pay for all the creepy scary warnings they send me. So there's that.


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