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Back in 1996, Congress had an idea that -- compared to what would come later – seemed fairly reasonable:
Provide federal assistance for access to a basic telephone land line for people who couldn't otherwise afford it.
This assistance was to be strictly means tested, and was deemed necessary because of the essential services -- like 911 emergency help -- that were only available with a phone connection.
But over the years, things changed. What was once restricted to land lines has expanded to include cell phones -- plus 250 monthly minutes. Rampant fraud has been uncovered, revealing many participants who don't even meet the income requirements. Program costs have ballooned to over $1.6 billion dollars a year.
And now, the FCC wants to expand the program even further by also guaranteeing Broadband Internet access to all!
It's ridiculous for working people to be subsidizing a luxury like cell phone service. And they are luxuries, no matter how common they may be. And that goes double for Internet access, which is still available at every public library.
This is another example of government trying to do too much -- inserting itself too much into the lives of its citizens. A perfect illustration of the misguided belief that any government program worth spending millions on can only get better if we spend billions.