Saturday, August 6, 2011

Advance Apologies (Political Rant)

With the recent surge of suddenly-fiscally-concerned citizens out there, there have been more people searching for wasteful government spending.  Which isn’t a bad thing.  Several other bloggers have also been pointing out some of the more absurd tax-payer funded entitlement goodies.  One of them is the “Emergency” cell phone. 
I saw an ad for this several months ago at my Mom’s house and later looked it up online.  If you are special enough (i.e. are on disability, food stamps, HUD housing, etc.) you qualify for a free cell phone.  Because, you know there might be an emergency where you would need a cell phone.  Ok, I’ll sort of agree with that.  But get this; the plan includes TWO HUNDRED & FIFTY minutes of talk time.  What kind of emergency would require you to receive 250 minutes of cell phone time?

José Fuentes, TracFone's director of government relations (and brainchild of this program)  was quoted as saying, “A telephone service, just in general, is not a privilege, it's a right….”, and the government is more than happy to perpetuate that absurd idea.
You ticked?  I am.  But get this little piece of garbage on another “Free Emergency Cell Phone” page:
Copied directly from the Reach Out Mobile “About Us” page:
“The Universal Service Fund program is not a tax paid by U.S. taxpayers. The Universal Service Fund program is funded from contributions by telecommunications carriers collected in part from the Universal Service Charge applicable to all forms of interstate telecommunication services.”
Hmmm, not a “tax”?  Well, what would you call it then?  Look on your phone bill (cell or land line) and under Taxes, Fees and Surcharges there is a charge for the Universal Service Fund Surcharge.    So let me get this straight.  I didn’t ask for this USF “service” to be added to my bill, but I’m still paying it.  I don’t have a choice to opt out of this so-called service.  So as long as we call it a “Fee” or Surcharge”, it’s not a tax, hugh?
I’m convinced that this little blurb on their webpage is there for the sole purpose of washing their hands of any taxpayer-wrongdoing.  And I’m sure the government was all for this “disclosure”. 
But wait.  The USF was created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and they are a government entity.  So a government body is mandating that you pay for this funding.
Last time I checked, that would be considered a tax.
So, not only is our government saying everyone has a right to a cell phone, but they are denying, no – let me rephrase that - LYING, about the source of funding for it.  Namely, you and I.
Ok, I’m done with this Political Rant & I apologize for the interruption of your regularly scheduled Krazo Acres blog.  But I wanted to give you some information if some leftist wackjob tells you that he KNOWS it’s not taxpayer funded. 


  1. If we could see a list of similar programs that are just as ridiculous, I am sure we would be outraged!

    I have never heard of this one.

  2. What gets me is that the FCC is NOT congress, yet the MANDATE that we pay a surcharge-or tax. Where do they get this authority, other than we the people who have given it to them through the support of stupid politicians. I do not think a cell phone is a right. Nor is owning a house, or a car, or even eating. Many people have to work very hard for these PRIVILEGES, and to work even harder so that lazy bums can have these "rights" is insane and irresponsible. You got me on a soapbox, sorry...

  3. I heard about this about a month ago on a radio talk show that I listen to on the drive home.

    Astonishing, yes...suprising, no. There is a vast group of people who have learned over the past 50 years how to play the system. And the system pays. They taught their kids and so on and so forth. It's a great gig. Why not?

    I wasn't raised that way and would only take a "hand-out" as a last alternative. And then I would want to know what kind of "service" I could give to make up of it. The difficulty is ethics and morals.

    BTW...I don't own a cell phone. Somehow, I live without one.

  4. gld, unfortunately I'm sure there are many, many more like this that we just don't know about.

    Scott/Pam, no need to apologize for the soap box...if more of us made a bigger deal about it, maybe crud like this wouldn't happen.

    tami, no cell phone? How in the world would you manage if there were an emergency???? Just kidding!

  5. My grandma actually told me about this a few days ago and boy did we have a heated discussion about it! (We were both in agreement about it, but man, there was still some language being passed back and forth!) This totally blows my mind. Thanks for posting an informative article about it. I agree with GLD - if there was a list of similar programs...I think most of us sane people would revolt!

    And I have to tell you, I was totally waiting for "Pauls Take" at the end of this one. :)

  6. MamaTea, I usually don't print Paul's Take on items like that as it usually contains a lot of words not suitable (nor sometimes understandable) for humankind.

  7. I am really tired of government morons doing stupid stuff and this is just one of the thousands they do!

    The only thing we can do, and it’s what I do, is send an e-mail to your Congressman or Senator clearly telling him “I intend to vote your ass out if you don’t fix (what ever the issue is) right now”. It is a pain to do this because you have to fill out their e-mail form with all your personal information every time. They do this purposely just to slow down the incoming e-mails otherwise they would have millions a day coming at them and deservedly so.

    Another thing, just what is the real total cost of these phones? Knowing our moron leaders I’m guessing $250.00 per month… If anyone knows, let me know and ruin my day.

  8. Great rant. The government actually ought to be protecting us from this sort of thing instead of instigating it. The thing that annoys me most is that they think we're stupid enough to believe them when they say it's not a tax.

  9. That's right up there with the free tv converters.

  10. It gets even better. In Indiana (where we live) Medicaid makes it a nightmare for recipients to get things like basic needed surgeries or care but bribes parents to bring their children to well-child checkups. I sat in the waiting room listening to a nurse explain to a parent whose child's tonsils were so big the child could not swallow, that he had to be like that for 6 seperate visits before they would even consider surgery because money is too tight. It blows my mind. Why are we paying parents to take kids to the doctor? Especially when they can't afford to help the kids who really do need help?

  11. I know I'm late to this, but I wanted to add to your list of people they court with this. My husband's grandmother lives with us. She has a lifeline. We got a letter here, at our address, in OUR name because her lifeline machine is linked in phone records to our phone account. They were informing us that we, too, should apply. I'm like you, I read the letter and got mad and tore it up and threw it away. Ridiculous.

    I have a cell phone. It's a prepaid and I only use it for the schools to be able to reach me when I'm not home, which has happened all of once in several years.

    A 'right' my foot!