According to Fox News, Carlos Slim’s company nets $10 every time a low-income American receives a phone from Lifeline, a government program. Slim has a controlling stake in TracFone and is the richest man in the world. The CEO of the company, Frederick Pollak, also profits from the data plans and minutes beneficiaries of the program buy. Pollak is a major donor to the Obama campaign.
The program has come under fire recently when a video came about featuring a supporter of Obama who said that she was going to vote for the president in the November election because he gave her a free phone. In the video, the woman said, “Everybody in Cleveland, every minority, got an Obama phone. Keep Obama as president. He gave us a phone. He gonna do more.”
Even though Lifeline has caused some controversy with Obama, it was created back in 1984, when Ronald Reagan was the president. At the time the program was for landlines only. The program was expanded to include cell phones in 1996 by President Bill Clinton.
The FCC describes the program as, “Lifeline is a government benefit program supported by the Universal Service Fund that provides a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers. Lifeline helps ensure that eligible consumers have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family, and emergency services.”