It’s hard to forget the “Obamaphone” lady from Cleveland back during the 2012 presidential race.
It was also pretty hard to imagine that a “free” government cellphone program wouldn’t be abused.
In the Washington, D.C., area people have been seeing and hearing a lot of television and radio commercials about why the government’s “Lifeline” program is such a great use of taxpayers’ money. The ads focus on a poor veteran whose only means of contacting his family is the free cellphone provided by the government. The reality seems much different though.
In Maryland the number of people taking advantage of this program actually exceeds the number of people who should be eligible for it.
By the third quarter of 2012, the number of Lifeline subscribers in Maryland had risen almost 100 fold to 645,000″ compared to three years prior, industry consultant Billy Jack Gregg told Congress.
“Moreover, the current number of Lifeline subscribers in Maryland is almost double the number of low income households in the state” who are eligible.
The FCC says it has since instituted some reforms to put a damper on fraud. Until recently, applicants could self-certify their eligibility, and the FCC found millions of dollars of abuse when it finally checked.
Self-certifying for free government benefits led to fraud? Who could have ever predicted that?
10,000% increase under Obama? Seems reasonable to give him a big share of the recognition, but there’s plenty of blame to go around.
It was easy to see coming. Check this tweet from back in July: