Should Free Cell Phones and Internet be a Civil Right?

Our federal government seems to have the US Constitution all wrong, AGAIN. The Preamble of the Constitution states:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I wonder of the Founding Fathers had any clue how the phrase ‘promote the general Welfare’ would be interpreted and abused a couple centuries later?

The federal government has a program called the Universal Service Fund that dictates that American’s that are living below a specified income level have the civil right to a free cell phone. Cell phone providers are being forced to provide cell phones and 250 free minutes a month to low income people. The estimated cost to this point is $4B.

And who do you think is paying for this? The cell phone companies have no choice but to pass the cost on to those of us who pay for our cell phones.

In Pennsylvania, Assurance Wireless and SafeLink from Tracfone Wireless are the companies being force to provide the free cell phones and service. Gary Carter, manager of the national partnerships for Alliance Wireless said the program is about peace of mind and that having free cell phone means: “one less bill that someone has to pay, so they can pay their rent or for day care…it is a right to have peace of mind.”

The Declaration of Independence says:

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;…

Note that it lists the pursuit of happiness, not that one is guaranteed to have happiness or peace of mind.

Additionally, some are reading the Universal Service Fund to also mean free broadband internet access to low income families and especially kids. In Chicago, newly elected mayor, Rahm Emanuel is providing free internet service along with netbooks and laptops to poor kids in the city. The FCC forced Comcast, the Chicago internet provider, into providing the free internet service and computers in part of their deal when they wanted to buy NBC-Universal. And since Comcast has been forced into this free service, guess where they intend to get their money from to pay for it? That’s right, their paying customers will be paying more so the poor can have their new civil rights as defined by the socialists in our government.

In the meantime, there are millions of Americans that are struggling to make ends meet that make too much to qualify to receive the same civil rights, but not making enough to enjoy the same rights given to the poor. And if they were able to afford cell phones and internet service, they would be forced to pay more for them so the poor could have them.

I ‘m not against helping the poor and believe in charity, but I am against being forced to help the poor when I myself struggle to pay my way. Even with my own financial struggles, I do give and help the poor in various ways, but let me choose how and to whom I want to give. That’s like going to a restaurant and when you get your bill it already as a 15%-20% ‘gratuity’ added to the total. A gratuity is something that is graciously given. What the bill should say is ‘surcharge’.

I’m also concerned when the government starts declaring such things as free cell phones and internet service a civil right. What’s next, the right to have free electricity, indoor plumbing, cable TV, and transportation? Where does it end?

Lastly, this just adds to the problem of keeping the poor poor. The more free benefits and rights they have given to them, the less incentive they have to find a job and become a contributing member to society. They can lose more in benefits than they gain by working, especially at or near minimum wage jobs.