The obligatory latest viral video making the rounds in connection to the 2012 campaign. Behold, the “Obama-phone” voter:

However, the program this woman is referring to was started under President Reagan in 1984 and expanded in 2008 under President Bush, the Washington Examiner reports:

The video of an Obama supporter bragging about having an “Obama phone” has gone viral on the web, but where do these “free cell phones” come from?

The program is called Lifeline, established in 1984, originally created to subsidize landline phone service for low income Americans, funded by government-collected telecommunication fees, paid by consumers.

In 2008, the program was expanded to support cell phones which quickly escalated the cost of the program. In 2008 the program cost $772 million, but by 2011 it cost $1.6 billion.

A 2011 audit found that 269,000 wireless Lifeline subscribers were receiving free phones and monthly service from two or more carriers. Several websites have been created to promote “free” government cell phones, including the”The Obama Cell Phone” website at Obamaphone.net.

The Lifeline program was an entitlement which began under a Republican administration and, like most programs, has continued to expand over the years as circumstances and technology changes.

35 COMMENTS

  1. A government program that had good intentions is now suffering from those intended consequences!…who would have thought!…the now “Obamaphone” program needs to be scraped…possibly means tested…what kind of car owned-flat screen TV purchaser-internet subscriber-cable subscriber, etc…are these free phone folks paying for on a daily basis?…humm.

    I know that statement is sooo un PC and probably seen as racist too!

    PLU from SSF

  2. The Lifeline program is only avail to LOW income people. Most of the people are those long lived white grannies! They are for safety. Dr calles, nurse calls and 911 calls. Yhere can be NO long distance service involved. In the late 1990’s the service in the philadelphia was $11.99 a month. Not free then at all. Now the donated cellphones that are still good are put into circulation as emergency phones. Free? That would have been done probably by the President who greatly expanded our government after it was pared down, “gave a surplus away”, started two wars one based upon a lie, allowed our banks and other money institutions without regulations, and basicly left this country a shambles. We had no respect as a country from Europe. The very countries that most of us came from. It took a man with diplomatic skills to put us back on track with Europe and the economy altho still a mess ,is coming back. Sometimes free is good. If they are car owned and flat screened TV purchares etc…there are other free or subsidised programs meant for children but we cannot allow the adults to use them. Maybe they are Medicaid carrying silk suited, Mercades owning American Indians or Alaskan Natives. We are payinf for a lack of proper restitution forever. A GREAT and HONORABLE COUNTRY WE ARE NOW!

  3. Was a good program and still could be if it does what it was intended to do. However loopholes and abuse of the program exist. This program should only be for the low income who can’t afford a phone . Information should be properly verified as i know that it is being misused.

    • In this country all programs are abused because of lack of integrity and like you said, imformation is not properly verified. 1.6 billion???If all you you have to do is give some some one a free phone paid for by taxpayers to get them to like you. I cant hardly comment on that. It’s dumbfounding. that woman was really proud about her food stamps and social security, and because of it she gets a free phone and service. That’s the reward for tapping into all those government freeby programs? And Romney stinks because? That’s the problem those radical people.They don’t seem to know the why about anything. That’s the kind of people on Obama’s side.

    • Surfisher: Have you given up on the Ron Paul write-in? If so, we should work on an education program about Gary Johnson, since he’s not going to get any news coverage. It would be helpful to do an outline of his stands on issues. Or a more lengthy description of how he stands on particular issues–especially if you can contrast them with the major candidates.

      Trouble is, the major candidates don’t talk about issues (Willard has repudiated his own platform). But, on the other hand, if we gave Gary’s views, he’d be the only one talking issues, so that should stand out.

      • Goethe Behr — No write-ins (would most like be rejected as Ron Paul’s delegates were at all GOP conventions).

        VOTE for Gary Johnson (the ONLY American Patriot left in this FIXED race)!

  4. Surfisher:

    That’s strange. I just clicked both links and they both went to the same place. The Lindsay parody is on that site, but when I clicked my link just now, it went to Romney. I just tried my link with a different browser and it worked. Very strange.

    • YouTube is owned by Google — whose CEO is a member of the Bilderberg Gang…and Rmonkey is their CHOSEN this time around.

  5. “The Lifeline program is only avail to LOW income people. Most of the people are those long lived white grannies! They are for safety.”

    Sorry to anyone who thinks the majority of these phones are used by poor old grannies (I know the person who posted that felt it was being abused too). 95% of the people I know with these free government phones are active drug addicts that also get $200 of food stamps each month and then sell them for $100 in cash to buy heroin. They then call their heroin dealers from their Lifeline phones. I am not even exaggerating this is a very common and regular activity for these addicts. BTW, I live in Massachusetts and these addicts have free health care (Mass Health) and spend a GREAT DEAL OF TIME in psych hospitals and state-run detoxes (paid by the rest of us through taxes).

    Clearly the whole ‘let’s give people free stuff, they won’t abuse it’ model is wildly optimistic.

  6. The person who stated no long distance calls on this phone is not true. My wife’s mother calls her from Ohio every two weeks, and she is an old granny, nicest thing I can say. My wifes family are on all of these programs we are not we work.

  7. Honestly, is this the best the Dems could do? I don’t think I’ll take her advice of “Romney Sucks” as to why we should not vote for Romney. We currently have a president who is clearly the most divisive president this country has ever had in our lifetime. He wages social and class warfare on those who have worked hard to make the best life possible for themselves and their family. Why should we be ashamed of working hard and making money? Why should we be made to feel bad if we are successful? Isn’t that what the American Dream is all about? Everyone, YES EVERYONE, has the opportunity to have the American Dream. It’s not what we’ve got or where we were born, it’s what we do with what we’ve got that’s important. I don’t need the government taking my hard-earned money in taxes to spend it foolishly on what they think it needs to be spent on. I enjoy the right I have been given to donate my hard-earned money to the organizations I am passionate about.

    I am a small-business owner and I BUILT MY BUSINESS!!! I had to work hard for years to get it to the point it is today working far more than normal business hours. And, I am practically on call 24/7. So, I deserve to do with my income what I want. After I take care of my debt, I choose to support non-profit groups of my choosing. And, I provide my time voluntarily when I can. And, I am back in school, at the same time, paying off my own debts purely off of student loans to better myself. I received no scholarships or grants. It’s all loans I have to pay back. No hand outs given to me. I do not begrudge those who need a helping hand up, but those who don’t genuinely need the help should get their hands out of the jar.

    Lastly, I’ve been a registered Independent for 22 years. I’m a 40 year old, married, mother of 4 daughters. I have been divorced once. So, I know what it means to struggle as a single parent. But, I always strove to take the high road and work hard. I am so ticked off about how the Democratic party has completely demonized Christians, Republicans, and any one else who does not share their liberal views, that I changed my political affiliation to Republican and I’m PROUD OF IT!!!

    How do the Dems answer criticisms of their candidate? They constantly do not answer the questions, and turn the tables around to once again blame Republicans for all their sorrows. Take some responsibility Dems and hold yourselves accountable for the mistakes you made. You sound like a big, whiny, crybaby always pouting and blaming someone else.

    • Midwesternmom,

      I wish more AmericaNs were like you! I feed the same way about Obama’s mission to divide this Country. He has obviously an agenda, that he cannot publicly disclose, or he will be booted out the White House faster than you can say Muslim.
      It makes me sick to see how his policies are hurting our Country, right before our eyes and people believe that his measures are for the better.
      Keep on your fight to make your life and the ones around you to be better, independent and FREE!

  8. You’ve navigated to the comments section of this page, you’re savvy enough to type “Lifeline Phone” into the search bar of your web browser and find out the actual details for yourself. But in case you’re too lazy, here’s the link (http://www.fcc.gov/guides/lifeline-and-link-affordable-telephone-service-income-eligible-consumers). Read the details and decide for yourself if you think this is an appropriate use of CUSTOMER funds. These aren’t tax dollars, they’re funds collected from other phone service provider customers. Don’t want to contribute? Then stop using a phone.

  9. Voting for the lesser of two evils, still gets you evil.

    Has anyone noticed the Barack creature looks more and more like a chimpanzee, and the Mitt creature like a statue in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum…and that both are liars and cheats that hate Free Americans!

    So, are you going to vote for Plastic Man or Monkey Boy…hoping whichever one of these evils “wins” will destroy our Free Nation at a slower pace…?
    ————————————————————————–

    Or, are you going to take a stand against these two anti-American subhumans, and vote your conscience instead!

    Gary Johnson is THE ONLY ONE TO GET YOUR VOTE — if you are a Real American and want to save our Nation!

  10. Hey Surfisher,

    Are you trying to be funning with monkey comment? I think Obama is really bad for this country and hope he is NOT re-elected. But, to call him that? come on.

  11. I support Obama. I have many reasons for doing so. Yes there are people out there that abuse specific programs, take advantage of the system. They are always going to be there. It will not matter who is president. As I said, I have many reasons for supporting Obama.

    The essential promise of Medicare, ever since its establishment in 1965, is that every senior citizen is entitled to a comprehensive set of medical benefits that will protect him or her from financial ruin. The government provides these benefits directly, through a public insurance program, although seniors have the right to enroll in comparable private plans if they choose. But the key is that guarantee of benefits, and it’s what Ryan would take away. He would replace it with a voucher, whose value would rise at a pre-determined formula unlikely to keep up with actual medical expenses.

    By the way, Ryan’s first budget would have raised the eligibility age of Medicare from 65 to 67. Without the Affordable Care Act, which Ryan would repeal, many if not most 65- and 66-year-olds without employer insurance would end up uninsured. And that’s not an age at which you want to be skipping doctor visits.

    Like Medicare, Medicaid is effectively a guarantee: It’s a promise to the states that, as long as they offer Medicaid and contribute their share, the federal government will enough money to cover everybody who is eligible for the program, no matter how many people it is. It’s also a promise to individual Medicaid recipients, that the insurance they receive will be sufficiently comprehensive to cover any service they might need—plus some extra services, such as lead screening for children, that are particularly critical for low-income Americans.

    Ryan would end both guarantees, by turning Medicaid into a “block grant.” Every year, the federal government would cut checks for the states, according to a pre-determined formula. The formula envisions massive cuts to the program; it’s one of the major places Ryan looks to reduce federal spending. Given those levels, states would be forced to reduce, dramatically, whom they cover and/or what they cover.

    Oh, one other thing. People forget that the majority of Medicaid spending isn’t on the proverbial single mother living at the poverty line. It’s on the elderly and disabled. One way or another, such severe cuts to Medicaid will impact their services, making it (more) difficult for them to pay for nursing homes and long-term care.

    My daughter is special needs and I fear that if Romney/Ryan get elected she will loose her medicaid. She can not work as she does not have the mental capacity to do so and thus if she looses her medicaid this will be detrimental. Medical coverage for her is not a luxury but a necessity. I will not be supporting Romney in any way shape or form.

    As my daughter is special needs she needs birth control available to her. She already has one child that is in the system and probably will be for the rest of her life. I will try not to air too much dirty laundry. My daughter was married to a special needs man. Their marriage has since been ended as it was an oil and water combination from the start. However, They had a child that will not have a normal, happy, healthy childhood as most of us have had, simply because there was no birth control used. Now that she is back in a group home, she is using birth control so we don’t end up with another child “in the system”. Romney is talking about outlawing all forms of birth control.

    These are just few of my reasons. Thank you.

    • Linda, no offense intended, but you are severely misinformed. It is obvious to me that you have allowed the rhetoric of the democrats to overtake your rational thinking side because of a very personal and trying situation you have. You are voting on emotion, rather than with clarity and fact. Your statement of “Romney is talking about outlawing all forms of birth control,” is simply untrue. If it was true, he would have far more than five children himself. I’ve listened to a lot of interviews Romney has made and read many statements he has made, and NOT ONE SINGLE TIME have I ever heard/seen him say that he wants to outlaw all forms of birth control. However, he does not want the government to force religious institutions to provide birth control benefits to their employees if they have not already been offering it. He does not believe the government should force religiously-based employers to do that. I do believe he just wants to have women quit using abortion as a viable form of birth control. That is what he is trying to ban with the exception of cases of rape, incest, or the mother’s life is in danger.

      I truly feel bad for the situation your daughter is in. It is also unfortunate that as her mother you did not do something when she was a minor to prevent her from having to go through childbirth, or even having birth control inserted or implanted that would prevent pregnancy with a relatively high rate for at least several years. Having her tubes tied when she was younger would have been an even better option to not have her bring children into the world who are, “in the system and probably will be for the rest of her life.”

      Surely, you must think and realize rationally that Medicaid and Medicare will not be obliterated under ANY administration, but these are tough times and at some point tough decisions must be made. Budgets must be cut back for a time and some things need to be re-worked so that the programs can continue to work for those who truly need it. So many people are getting hand outs who are perfectly capable of getting jobs or doing things for themselves, that those who truly need the assistance are the ones who are suffering. Only several years ago, my sister took her son to his pediatrician for a flu shot. She was told that he could not have one, even though they had insurance to pay for it and even though they were willing to pay extra out of pocket for one, because the ones they had available were set aside for Medicaid patients. My sister had to call our state government to figure this one out and fight for her son, who has health issues. She finally got them to see how irrational it was to not allow him to have his flu shot, and he got it. So, those who are getting free shots were put ahead of those who are paying for not only their own insurance premiums (which are not cheap) but paying taxes for those who do not have insurance and are on Medicare/Medicaid so they can get them first.

      I don’t want anyone to be without health care who wants it, but for those who are able to help themselves, they should. They should get up and do more with their life instead of waiting for hard-working individuals like myself and countless others to pay for them to live. The system was put in place to help those who could not help themselves or to temporarily help those who needed a hand up, not a hand out.

  12. It is amazing how the Obama administration has spread fear around like a wild fire. His strategy is to make Romney and Ryan look like monsters, who will bring all seniors to the slaughter house, by depriving them from Medicare and Medicaid.
    Romney is a religious man, and he has done more charity in his life than 2000 Obamas combined. I find hard to believe that he will just change the law in a way to put millions of those getting close to retirement at risk of loosing their only source of Medical Care.
    Medicare and Medicaid, as it is now, are already in the edge of bankruptcy and failure, and I believe restoring those programs is cheaper than Obamacare, which will take $790+ billion from Medicare. Not to mention the other hidden taxes that will hit us very hard in 2013 (after the elections, naturally).
    Look at Canada: they have what Obamas is imposing on us, and it is a horrible system. If you’re in a hospital there, you cannot even chose your own doctor, because they have to take turns. People will come here for treatment.
    Same in England. When Adele (the singer) needed treatment for her vocal chords, she came here for treatment.
    Yes, we have an expensive system, but it is the best in the World, exactly because of that. Talent and hard work is properly compensated.
    What motivation will any one have to work harder and better if the compensation is the same paid to the lazy and incompetent.

    My wife works in a Hospital where the Nurses belong to the Union. Well, guess what, nobody does move a single finger more than they have to.
    They only do the minimum needed to keep their jobs, everyone gets paid the same, so why bother.
    My brother-in-law works for GE. Same thing: he’s allowed to take ‘sick’ days and he doesn’t even need to call his boss when he decides not to show for work. He cannot be fired, he’s protected by the Union.
    Hospitals and big GE like companies are able to do that because of a huge help from us, the Tax payers. And without our authorization or consent. they just took our dollars.
    GM got bailed out with our money and is still struggling. Because they still produce crappy cars.
    They produce crappy cars because workers don’t need to put any extra effort. Their jobs is protected by the Union.The average hourly pay/cost for a GM worker is $75.00/hour. Tax dollars pay a good portion of it.

    Which small business could afford to pay that? Actually, even big companies as Toyota and Honda can’t afford those costs. And they make much better products.

    Today, we only see 2 major groups of businesses in America
    1 – The fat, inefficient, expensive, tax taker business, like GE, GM, and the Government (of all levels).
    2 – And the efficient, competitive, creative, job generating and tax paying business, like Apple, Toyota, Honda, etc…

    Workers from group 1 are not held to the same standards as workers from group 2. Group 1 has entitlements, they have the Unions behind them. They only do the minimum needed to collect a pay check. Why work harder? Why bother being better? Why try to excel? The pay will be the same…

    Which group is Obama’s favorite? Which group WILL VOTE FOR OBAMA?
    So, Obama wants to make Group 1 bigger, so there will more voters for the Democrats.

    Obama is a megalomaniac and a demagogue. Obamacare is his BIG production. And we all will have to pay dearly for that. A very high price indeed: not just with our tax dollars. We will pay it with our Freedom.

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