The $100,000 Obamaphone for Millionaires
The FCC spends billions subsidizing high-end golf and ski developments.
The Obamaphone lady is moving up in America: She isn’t a rabble-rouser in Cleveland anymore, but a real-estate developer in Maui, a ski-resort owner in Breckenridge, and a dedicated golfer in Scottsdale — and, more important, the telephone companies that serve them. And she isn’t costing taxpayers a couple hundred bucks a year in subsidies, but more than $100,000 per household.
>>> The fund has spent some $64 billion on carrier subsidies since 1998, and while there is some dispute about how many additional households have phone connections thanks to those outlays, the highest estimates run around 600,000, meaning a cost of more than $100,000 per household.
The program was originally developed to help extend basic communications to poor people in remote rural areas without telephone service. But the United States ran out of poor people in remote rural areas without telephone service a good long while ago. The administrators of federal programs fear nothing so much as looking for a job in the private sector, so the program found new products to subsidize, such as broadband internet, and new places to subsidize them: No more dirt farms in the sticks, but high-end developments — “mansion-lined gated golf communities” in the words of Dave Herman of the Alliance for Generational Equity, which sponsored the study. >>>
Those recent beneficiaries in Maui and Scottsdale do not include very many poor people. But the 16 percent tax that supports their subsidies is paid by a great many poor people >>>
The authors said they were “stunned” that the Obamaphone lady became such a national scandal when “wheelbarrows full of dole” were being directed at grasping telecoms and their affluent customers. If only people knew where the money is really being wasted.
President Eye Candy has destroyed the character of an entire generation in one presidency.