The Myth Of The Obama Phone
Contrary to this week’s right-wing meme, President Obama didn’t create a program to give out phones to poor people. But conservatives want you to believe that these are the 47% who want free stuff from the government, highlighted on the Drudge website with a picture of a woman (pictured here) who claims to have received an “Obama Phone.”
Since 2009, there has been an urban myth that Obama created a program to provide free phones to low-income Americans at taxpayer expense. There is, in fact, a government program that will provide low-income people with a free or low cost cell phone. It was started in 2008 under George W. Bush.
The idea of providing low-income individuals with subsidized phone service was originated in the Reagan administration following the break-up of AT&T in 1984. (It was expanded and formalized by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.) The program is paid for by telecommunications companies through an independent non-profit, not through tax revenue.