In the wake of the video debuting on the interwebs of this woman (below) yelling and screaming about how much Romney “sucks” (in her defense, Romney does in fact suck) and how “every minority in Cleveland” has a free Obamaphone, we’ll step in to comment for a moment. A couple quick hits:
- Yes, this is a repulsive display of the welfare state at work and a perfect example of government control over a populace through soft power. In this instance, all of the people in Cleveland (or anywhere) that are on welfare, food stamps, etc., or ANY of these programs (including the national school Free Lunch Program) qualify for the “Lifeline” program. This program provides them discounts or free pre-paid cell phones with 250 minutes a month – “Obamaphones” as this woman so aptly puts it. These people will protest Romney without knowing very much about what he stands for (or even if he intends to do away with this program) to support Obama, even though Obama didn’t directly call for this. In fact, the program was enacted under Ronald Reagan originally. The issue however, is with an explosion in cost and use by an expanding welfare population, coupled with the program’s extension into cell carriers from land lines in 2008. Because Obama was in office when the cell phones started becoming available, he is credited by a populace that hasn’t been educated otherwise.
- Proponents of the program will argue that some of the costs are offset by cell carriers who donate revenue to the program. This is untrue, as many providers simply add on what they donate to what they charge the rest of us – the paying consumer. So this is simply a hidden government tax.
- There is no reason that the government should extend this to cell carriers – the program was created to give people phone access to apply for jobs or in case of emergency. Land lines are fully capable of handling that requirement and with land lines there is zero chance for duplicates – a common problem with the cell program. Of course, having a phone line isn’t a basic human right and shouldn’t be covered by the government anyway…
- Will this result in more votes for Obama? Yes, of course it will. Not just due to the phones, though obviously in Cleveland among a certain segment the popular myth is that Obama is responsible and thus has to be supported. But in a broader sense, the extension of welfare eligibility, and extensions and exceptions provided by the current regime that allow people to stay on welfare, food stamps, etc. will guarantee that any person on any of the government assistance programs will vote to keep the status quo.