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Author Topic: US Gov't Costs for Supplying Drug Dealers' Phones Rising Out of Control Back to Topics
teacher_tim

Champion Author
Maryland

Posts:18,903
Points:817,325
Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Apr 23, 2013 8:10:40 AM

It was bad enough that our OWN government was supplying semi-automatic rifles to drug cartels in Mexico with the Fast and Furious program, only to have them return to kill Americans. Now the cost of the free cell phone program for welfare recipients has escalated uncontrollably with, you guessed it, almost NO oversight. This program was started under Reagan to help poor people in rural areas have a phone in case of emergency. Now it's expanded to cost 2.2 billion from the 143 million when it started.

*only low-income people on welfare and food stamps legally qualify

*"The FCC, itself, said in a recent year there were 270,000 beneficiaries that had more than one of these subsidized cellphones. That's completely against the law right there."

*Funded by a small tax on all phone bills, the program has exploded -- with companies advertising free phones and offering 250 minutes.

*The FCC told lawmakers the top five companies can't verify the eligibility of 41 percent of those who get phones.

*"I hear from law enforcement that these phones are often found at crime scenes and are used in drug deals," Republican Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas said. "Why? It's because you can't trace them."

"Just handing out phones willy nilly and allowing them to be sold on the black market," Sen. McCaskill said. "This isn't the way to do it, and we need to stop."

I agree, it has been abused and should go away. I would have no problem with funding a landline, tied to fixed address, and with a maximum number of minutes per month. It could be used for job-seeking and responses. It would have unlimited, unblocked access to 911. Other than that, you don't need a phone and you certainly don't need broadband access. There are public libraries for that. They could certainly use the 2.2 billion in funding more than the drug dealers.

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gocatgo
Champion Author South Carolina

Posts:18,829
Points:3,075,360
Joined:Apr 2006
Message Posted: May 11, 2013 10:48:29 AM

Tim, so all "low income families" are into drug dealing? And your proof is based on what? Distrust of the poor does not cut it. Some people may classify that as bigotry.

America should be more concerned with the mishandled millions of dollars sent to Afghanistan that winds up in the hands of the leadership.
Suit cases of money.
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kiatoindos
Champion Author Chicago

Posts:2,238
Points:471,535
Joined:Dec 2012
Message Posted: May 10, 2013 7:54:53 PM

California wants to give every illegal that crosses the border a I phone
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Grizdad
Champion Author Montana

Posts:7,942
Points:1,157,045
Joined:Oct 2010
Message Posted: Apr 29, 2013 7:18:29 AM

Remember this b.s. when you hear about airport delays because of furloughs, etc. Another way to buy votes. If you had multiple FREE phones, would you vote for the candidate who wanted to abolish it???
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greentre
Champion Author Pensacola

Posts:1,286
Points:400,405
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 6:51:31 PM

I have 6 in my purse and at least 30 at home.

How much do you pay for your cell phone?
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I75at7AM
Champion Author Dayton

Posts:73,316
Points:2,977,535
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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 1:46:29 PM

Hey Mark, If The Phone Doesn't Ring, You Know It's Me!
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 11:35:19 AM

Speaking of jobs and cell phones, when we call many job applicants, on-call employees and subs about work opportunities their cell phones are often out of service, so we drill down the list to the next available applicant, worker or sub. After 2 or 3 no responses, we stop calling them.

I can't stress how important it is to have working contact phone(s) and keep the same number(s)

When we call other listed contact numbers, they're often out of service as well.

Many with cell phones have their phones turned off, they're out of prepaid minutes, their phones aren't charged, their phones are broken, their phones are out of service range, they don't have their phone with them, their phone is lost/stolen. We've heard and experienced every issue/excuse in the book and then some.

Many change carriers/phones frequently, however don't keep the same number, so we can't get in touch with job applicants, on-call workers, temps, seasonal workers, subs etc.
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jdhelm
Champion Author Iowa

Posts:15,655
Points:1,733,365
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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 11:28:51 AM

smiles - - - I just last week had my best old friend (he's 72 and a life long dem) tell me, that this free phone program was George Bush and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's fault . . . I just nodded and went on.
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teacher_tim
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:18,903
Points:817,325
Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 11:09:38 AM

MarkJames,
Given the dismal job growth, I believe very few use them for job searches. Again, time to end the program.
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 10:35:05 AM

Many of our non immediate relatives have the free phones/minutes. They generally use them as extra phones as most of their households already have 2 or more prepaid phones, plus they prefer the features of higher end Android phones.

They use them for chatting/texting, or let their kids play with them. They don't use them for emergencies and definitely don't use them for job searches. They often use up their minutes in a few days.

I used to buy many of them prepaid Tracfones for job searches/job contact numbers and family contact numbers, however they'd use up their minutes chatting/texting with friends, so their phones were constantly out of service.

Some also sold the phones/minutes for cigarette and beer money.
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I75at7AM
Champion Author Dayton

Posts:73,316
Points:2,977,535
Joined:Feb 2006
Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 8:59:46 AM

Yesterday I posted this story in this thread

"'MarcoPhone' Program Covers Area Including 200k Sq Miles, 7+ Million People, Open-Ended Funding"

Yes, it seems that conservative darling Senator Marco Rubio has his handprint in another "free phone" program. The law authorizing this program is written with broad language and could lead to another bonanza of "free pones" for people it was not intended for.
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sgm4law
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:22,776
Points:2,921,095
Joined:Mar 2006
Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 6:50:15 AM

"I agree, it has been abused and should go away. I would have no problem with funding a landline, tied to fixed address, and with a maximum number of minutes per month. It could be used for job-seeking and responses. It would have unlimited, unblocked access to 911. Other than that, you don't need a phone and you certainly don't need broadband access."

Yes. It's a program that seems to be driven further out of control by the phone companies who see an easy market to exploit. I've heard ads where they offer people these phones with hundreds of texts per month. Not necessary to get a job or emergency services.
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