(Greta/Fox interview with Rep Griffin)
Fraud is going to be the death of the free government cell phone program unless we all take steps to stop it.
Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas says his constituents’ dead relatives have received the free phones. So he has introduced a bill that takes dead aim at the program.
“This program demands reform,” Griffin told Fox News. “There is a lot of waste in it and we need to be asking ourselves, ‘Where do we draw the line? Do we give everybody an iPad next? A computer? Is that the role the federal government should be playing?’”
Griffin wants to kill the program completely, but he’ll settle for scaling it back. If his bill were passed, the program would be amended so that it would offer only landline phones.
The cost of the program has tripled to $2.2 billion in 2012 from $819 million in 2008. While Griffin sees this as proof that the program is out of control, we see it as proof that millions of needy Americans desperately need it.
“This program is completely ridiculous and it speaks to the point that we are careless with taxpayer dollars,” Griffin said. Once again, we feel obligated to point out to Rep. Griffin that Lifeline Assistance, otherwise known as the free government cell phone program, is not funded with tax dollars.
Unfortunately, Rep. Griffin is correct about the fraud that plagues the program. He claims that too many people are abusing the system by applying for and getting multiple free government cell phones. He says some people have 30 or 40 phones and although we are unaware of such egregious fraud, we agree that everyone must work together to save the program for those who need it by eliminating the waste and fraud of those who don’t.
“I understand the FCC is trying to rein the abuse and my first question is, ‘What took you so long?'” he said. “I hear people saying we need this and we need that as a society but is it really fair for the government – i.e. the taxpayers – to provide people with cell phones? I don’t think so.”
Source: Fox News