Dialing Right

Why do Democrats have such a hard time cutting budgets?
Last fall, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched SafeLink, a program that provides eligible people with a free cellphone and 68 minutes a month of free airtime for the period of one year. It includes texting, voicemail, call waiting and caller ID.
If you cut budgets, some Americans might not get their free phones!
The program is up and running in Florida, Tennessee and Virginia, where more than 2 million households qualify for the service, and is scheduled to go into nine other states, including New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
They cut budgets for teachers, buses, the mentally retarded or the blind - anything to avoid going after the programs they hold near and dear.
"A telephone service, just in general, is not a privilege, it's a right, and we feel it's a corporate responsibility to provide it," says José Fuentes, TracFone's director of government relations. "Everyone should be in contact, should have the opportunity to get a phone call, especially if it's an employer."
Telecommunications is a right?  Sounds crazy, but that mantra works with healthcare, doesn't it?
Those eligible for SafeLink must already be on a federal welfare program – Medicaid, public housing, food stamps and so on. But people making under a certain annual income can also qualify: The ceiling for a single person is $18,000; for a family of four, $26,000.
I know it's a new program, but how come no member of Congress has called for expanding it in the Stimulus Package?