Liberals are constantly going on about how welfare programs are the only thing between millions of Americans and literal starvation. If you don’t support their big-government ideas (they say), you just want people to die!
Their narrative just took a major hit when it was revealed that 65% of Obama phone recipients are defrauding taxpayers! In a recently-released 90-page report from the Government Accountability Office(GAO), the Lifeline Program — the “Obamaphone” program — was found to be riddled with fraudulent activity.
The Lifeline Program is a program that was actually instated before the Obama Administration to give cell phones with limited use away to the economically disadvantaged. It was labeled the “Obamaphone,” however, due to the increased attention it received during the president’s tenure. The plan has faced a great deal of controversy since its inception because of the waste of government resources many believe it to represent.
Upon investigation, the government found that more than a third of “Obamaphone” recipients may not have even been qualified to receive the welfare benefit. But the finding that has incited the most speculation is the approximately $9 billion deposited into private bank accounts rather than the program-appointed accounts in the federal treasury.
Is this an oversight or something worse?
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) stated, “A complete lack of oversight is causing this program to fail the American taxpayer — everything that could go wrong is going wrong. We’re currently letting phone companies cash a government check every month with little more than the honor system to hold them accountable, and that simply can’t continue,” via Fox News.
The investigation into the program, which was initially requested by Senator McCaskill, revealed that merely 35.5 percent of people claiming eligibility based on Supplemental Security Income could actually be confirmed as eligible, leaving 64.5 percent of recipients who seem to have been dishonest on their applications in order to receive the free devices.
What’s most appalling about this is that the lies unearthed on the approved applications should have been easily detected and verified.
The blame for this massive failure could fall on the shoulders of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC assigned the screening authority to the phone companies that sold the phones to the government. This is a huge conflict of interest since they are the ones who profited from the transactions.
In order to determine the Lifeline Program’s adherence to government regulations, the GAO sent in undercover investigators to pose as applicants. The investigators submitted 19 applications using information that went against approval criteria and “were approved to receive Lifeline services by 12 of the 19 Lifeline providers using fictitious eligibility documentation.”
So, what are the criteria? Only that the applicant be the current recipient of another government program, such as food stamps, Social Security, disability or TANF. But apparently, over half of these applicants are lying, and instead of verifying the information, the FCC is accepting verbal confirmation from dishonest applicants.
What’s shocking is that this number puts it at the top position for federal programs with fraudulent activity, three times the amount of fraudulent EIC applicants. However, the FCC only reported a 0.45% improper payment rate due to their insufficient fraud inspection process.
It’s unclear as to what, if anything, the government is doing to revise or repeal this program. Instead, it’s been reported that it will be expanded to include internet service. This is an outrage against taxpayers everywhere, and it must not be tolerated. It’s time to shut down these welfare programs until we can ensure that no more fraud is happening, especially on luxuries like cell phones.