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Thread: Free cell phones are now a civil right

  1. #11
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    Re: Free cell phones are now a civil right

    I posted my thoughts on this a while ago but it bears repeating

    http://www.debatepolitics.com/us-par...-wireless.html

    As if I didn’t have any more reasons to hate the welfare system another one just fell in my lap today. Apparently there is a cell phone structure especially designed for people on the various welfare programs (Medicare, Section 8 Housing etc). The program is called Assurance which is handled through Pre-paid carrier Virgin Mobile which uses the Sprint Network for it’s service. The service is paid for through the Universal Service Fund which is apart of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Here is the bad and good part it’s only available in five states (Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Tennessee, and Virginia) therefore limits the abuse (wishful thinking I know), but at the same time everyone pays for it through taxes!

    You may wonder why I would be upset over a program that has (relatively speaking) very low impact compared to rest of the abused welfare programs. Well today I had a customer who wanted to buy one of the high end Virgin mobile phones priced at $100. At least that’s what I was able to understand since he spoke ghetto-ese. I asked him if he had service with Virgin Mobile already or was starting new service. He replied that he had this Assurance service which uses Virgin Mobile phones in to which I said “oh so your just replacing a broken phone”. I was told that his phone wasn’t broken he just wanted a better one. At the time I didn’t think much of it until I looked up Assurance and found out it was a tax payer funded cell phone. In addition the guy paid for the phone with a government assistance card and I noticed food stamps in his wallet! Of course however this type of abuse happens with all the welfare programs. I remember one time selling a 32” LCD television to someone who lived in a HUD housing area.

    Which angers me the most about this program is that the market has already fixed the problem of getting a ways of communication to low income people. It’s called pre-paid, I could understand the point of this back when the act was passed in 1996 when cell phones were still pretty expensive even for the most basic of service but that’s not the case anymore. At least in New York there are at least five pre-paid carries and all the major contract wireless carriers offer pre-paid service. Hell now a days Sprint’s minimum credit deposit for those that fall into that category is $50 and basic talk service typically falls into that price range. The wheels of the market may be slow but they turn up with better results than any government program can hope to dream of.
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  2. #12
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    Re: Free cell phones are now a civil right

    Quote Originally Posted by 1Perry View Post
    Do what people did for years. Give them the number of a good friend.
    LOL...Good idea...until you discover your friend's phone got shutoff because he lost his job and couldn't pay the bill.

    I'm just saying...

    I get what tic's people off about this, but sometimes when hard times are upon just about everyone you just gotta try and do whatever you can to help keep people stay connected. This is one of those opportunities. But like 1Perry said, until you know whose getting paid under the table on this the story isn't complete.

    Cold Highway,

    I hear your pain and understand exactly where you're coming from. It's a shame when people are just taking advantage of the system. That kind of abuse I don't condone. Still, I say if you have a problem with that kind of abusive behavior the best thing you can do is write/contact your congressmen and Virgin Mobile and tell them about it! Let them know that the high-end phones shouldn't be part of the "free cellphone program", i.e., iphones. There are companies out there - mostly charities - who collect old cell phones. Maybe you could recommend this to Virgin and your state legistlators and get them to tamp down on the "latest and greatest" cellphones offered under the program, thereby, reducing the cost to taxpayers.

    Don't just get mad my friend, work the system and get even.
    Last edited by Objective Voice; 08-02-11 at 10:35 PM.

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    Re: Free cell phones are now a civil right

    The more free goodies gov gives people the less incentive there is to get a job.

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    Re: Free cell phones are now a civil right

    Quote Originally Posted by sawyerloggingon View Post
    The more free goodies gov gives people the less incentive there is to get a job.
    I've heard that argument before and on the surface of it, I agree. But if you live in a depressed community/city where unemployment is high and there's little chance of rapid job growth - enough to employ those who really do want to work - you do what you can to stave off anarchy. Because if things get any worse, I'm afraid that's where this country may be headed.

    Granted, a few free cell phones aren't going to help very many get back to work, but it will help them to save alittle money while still being able to get out and look for work and be able to provide a personal contact number where a potential employer can reach them, i.e., those who have moved back in with their parents or worse living in homeless shelters. It's like I said to Cold Highway above, if you notice folks are taking advantage of the free cellphone service the worse thing you can do is keep quite and rant to no one in particular who can't do a damned thing to fix the problem. But do more than just complain; offer suggestion to correct the problem. I've offered an idea or two on how one might go about chaning things in this regard. It's up to those who've actually seen the abuse and/or misues first-hand to get involved the right way.
    Last edited by Objective Voice; 08-02-11 at 11:32 PM.

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    Re: Free cell phones are now a civil right

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by Objective Voice View Post
    LOL...Good idea...until you discover your friend's phone got shutoff because he lost his job and couldn't pay the bill.

    I'm just saying...

    I get what tic's people off about this, but sometimes when hard times are upon just about everyone you just gotta try and do whatever you can to help people stay connected.
    I hate when I get momentarily distracted and make stupid spelling or grammer errors.

  6. #16
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    Re: Free cell phones are now a civil right

    Quote Originally Posted by rocket88 View Post
    In some cases, cell phone service is actually cheaper than a landline. So depending on costs in Pennsylvania, the State may actually be saving taxpayer money by providing cell phones instead of a landline.

    It's a great headline to get people's dander up, but in reality it may be a good thing. Unless you're suddenly against the government saving money, which I doubt.
    Cellphones are absolutely cheaper for me than a landline - by a significant chunk of change. Upone remodel I just ripped the old landline wires out.
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    Re: Free cell phones are now a civil right

    Ok, this is a bit silly.

    While I think the article is using slightly histrionic language, the guts of this are still baffling to me.

    I believe having access to communications like the internet and phone service are a right, in the sense that the government should not have the ability to take them away. But that doesn't mean people are entitled to personally own them.

    While it is true having a phone makes things easier, it is not a necessity for having a job. My dad doesn't have a cell phone, by choice. He uses Skype as his "landline," so to speak (which is WAY cheaper than either a cell phone or a standard land line, and can be used from any computer, or even a Skype phone). He has no trouble getting or holding a job.

    This is a waste of taxpayer money. A cell phone is not necessary.

    You can get unlimited Skype minutes in the US and a Skype phone number for people to call, for $9 per month. Less if you go with a long-term plan. With the tiniest bit of tech savvy, you can get a wifi-enabled phone from a charity like OV mentions and run Skype on it. It's not tough.

  8. #18
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    Re: Free cell phones are now a civil right

    Pennsylvanians on public assistance now have a new 'civil right' -- free cell phones. Meanwhile, the rest of us get to pay higher cell bills as a result.
    Meh. I'll tell you what. I'll get upset about the higher cell phone bills that result from helping the poor, as soon as you get upset about the higher bills that result from permitting a telecom oligopoly to exist in the United States. Deal?
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  9. #19
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    Re: Free cell phones are now a civil right

    Quote Originally Posted by rocket88 View Post
    In some cases, cell phone service is actually cheaper than a landline. So depending on costs in Pennsylvania, the State may actually be saving taxpayer money by providing cell phones instead of a landline.

    It's a great headline to get people's dander up, but in reality it may be a good thing. Unless you're suddenly against the government saving money, which I doubt.
    The government shouldn't be paying for someone's phone service, period.

  10. #20
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    Re: Free cell phones are now a civil right

    Quote Originally Posted by Objective Voice View Post
    I've heard that argument before and on the surface of it, I agree. But if you live in a depressed community/city where unemployment is high and there's little chance of rapid job growth - enough to employ those who really do want to work - you do what you can to stave off anarchy. Because if things get any worse, I'm afraid that's where this country may be headed.

    Granted, a few free cell phones aren't going to help very many get back to work, but it will help them to save alittle money while still being able to get out and look for work and be able to provide a personal contact number where a potential employer can reach them, i.e., those who have moved back in with their parents or worse living in homeless shelters. It's like I said to Cold Highway above, if you notice folks are taking advantage of the free cellphone service the worse thing you can do is keep quite and rant to no one in particular who can't do a damned thing to fix the problem. But do more than just complain; offer suggestion to correct the problem. I've offered an idea or two on how one might go about chaning things in this regard. It's up to those who've actually seen the abuse and/or misues first-hand to get involved the right way.
    If the ****ing government would get the **** outta the way with all that ****ing hope-n-change, things would improve.

    I reckon that's not going to happen, since this economic downfall is by design of that same government.

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