And he gets just a few facts wrong on his list:
Our federal government will spend more than $3.7 trillion this year. Replacing the sequester requires finding $84 billion in smart cuts to that budget. Here are a few things we could eliminate to begin replacing the sequester:What he's describing is something that's popped up recently (quite coincidentally, I am sure) on another of Richard Mellon Scaife's media holdings, Newsmax:
- $2.2 billion by ending the federal government's cellphone giveaway
Nearly half of the 6 million people who received free cellphones and communications services through the government-funded Lifeline program last year apparently were ineligible or did not respond to certification requests, a new report shows.The only problem with this is that eliminating the program won't save the gov'ment any money. Here's why (and this is from the WSJ piece referenced above):
The U.S. government spent about $2.2 billion on the program last year alone, reports The Wall Street Journal, which conducted a review of the program's funding.
The Lifeline program—begun in 1984 to ensure that poor people aren't cut off from jobs, families and emergency services—is funded by charges that appear on the monthly bills of every landline and wireless-phone customer.Factcheck already has something on this program:
Lifeline is funded by telecom customers who pay a universal service fee as part of their phone bills. The fee technically is not a tax but a cross subsidy, the rules of which are determined by the Federal Communications Commission.And:
As we explained [in 2009], the FCC requires phone companies to fund “universal service” programs such as Lifeline that improve telecommunications access to all Americans. The companies pass the cost along to consumers in the form of a universal service fee, which is listed on a monthly phone bill.And:
The fees go into the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company, an independent, not-for-profit corporation. USAC manages Lifeline and three other programs that provide telecommunications services to rural areas, schools, libraries and places where it’s more expensive to provide access.
Lifeline does not “give away” “government phones.” The program reimburses phone companies with a monthly subsidy of $9.25 for each low-income customer who uses a landline or a cell phone.So however leaky the program is, eliminating it would not reduce guv'ment debt in anyway - it would only reduce everyone's cellphone bill by a little bit AND reduce access to the global telecommunications network by poor people a lot. But it won't reduce the debt.
That's something Keith Rothfus got wrong.