The opinions expressed in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial will come as a huge surprise to millions of Americans who depend on their Obama Phones.
The Journal says, “…it turns out that most recipients of a popular government telephone subsidy would buy the service on their own.”
These opinions were prompted by a Georgetown University study and quoted in a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. According to the study, “…in the absence of the subsidy, only one in eight Lifeline households would not have phone service. And only one of 20 households benefiting from a Lifeline subsidy specifically for wireless telephony would not have service absent the government benefit.”
There is no doubt that the Obama Phone program is flawed and that it suffers from an unacceptable level of waste, fraud and abuse. The Federal Communications Commission attempted to address those issues when it instituted strict reforms in 2012. Those reforms eliminated hundreds of thousands of subscribers with duplicate accounts, but that still left more than 12 million needy Americans participating in the Obama Phone program.
For those of us who feel for the neediest among us, and for those of us who understand how beneficial this program has been for millions of Americans, perhaps the most galling line in the Wall Street Journal editorial was this:
“And even now most of Washington wants to ignore the inconvenient truth about a federal benefit that almost nobody seems to need.”
Those words could only have been written by someone who doesn’t understand the plight of America’s poor. No one else would think such thoughts about a program that helps the needy find jobs and helps them communicate with potential employers, a program that helps concerned parents keep tabs on their children and helps children stay in touch with their parents, a program that helps the sick and infirm reach their medical providers.