Say — how’d you like to get a free cellphone? No strings attached, no contracts, and no payments ever. Don’t stop at one phone, either — get two, three, five, ten, twenty or more! The cost is covered by people who are dumb enough to pay for their own cell phones … like you and me. We’ve been doing it for a decade or more, and it’s now costing us over a billion dollars a year, as Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) argues as he fights to bring the program to a halt:
Griffin appeared on Fox News this week to discuss the issue:
This isn’t a new program, or a new issue. Griffin notes that the Lifeline program started off as a means to subsidize landline telephone service to the poor, which makes some sense. Without a landline phone, it would be difficult for people to access critical response agencies like the police and fire departments. Griffin’s bill wouldn’t impact that part of the program, but it would stop the federal government giveaway of cell phones. With deficits careening out of control, this is one luxury we can’t afford — and as Griffin says, it’s also a kind of a canary in the coal mine for budget discipline. If we can’t cut this spending, then we’re not going to have the political will to address the more difficult choices that will be forced on us in the near future.