osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Is "Obama Phone" Unfair To Bush or Obama?

At the lowest end of the mobile phone market is Tracphone. Tracphone in 2008, under the Bush Administration, Tracphone was recognized as an "Eligible Telecommunications Carrier" and is therefore subsidized by the Universal Service Fund lifeline/linkup fund. That is to say, if you meet your state's poverty requirement, you can get a cheap voice-only Tracphone.

As a result of this, Tracphone has experienced phenomenal growth, particular among African Americans and others with disproportionate percentages of the population below the poverty line.

I am told that Tracphone is referred to by its detractors as the "Obama phone." This is rather amusing. It should really be called the "Bush Phone" (or better, the Kevin Martin phone). But is it unfair to Obama to credit him with making cheap phones available, or unfair to Bush. (I should add that the fund is capped for wireless, so the number of people getting a Tracphone doesn't make a whit of difference for what folks pay into USF; you all will pay the exact same amount on your phone bill whether Tracphone is an ETC or not).

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