RUSH: Big Bear City, California. This is Steve, and I’m glad you waited, sir. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush! Thank you for having me. This is the formerly the highest paid dishwasher in Big Bear. (laughing)
RUSH: What a great honor that is.
CALLER: (laughing) Yes, it is. Yes, I was listening to your show earlier this year where you mentioned this Obama phone program.
RUSH: We first talked about that in June, so you’ve been with us for at least a couple of months here.
CALLER: Well, actually I’ve been trying to get through since Bush 41. Because of my circumstances I researched it, got online, and found out how to get it. It was one heck of a three-ring circus trying to get through the phone call bureaucratic BS until I got my little pink envelope which I could send off and get my phone. Which is a little Motorola POS refurbished, whatever, basic communications only.
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! May I…? Hang on just a second here. The only people that know what “POS” means are in Rio Linda.
CALLER: I’m sorry. It’s a Point of Stress or a Piece of… You know.
RUSH: Oh, yeah. The Obama phone is a POS phone, basically?
CALLER: It’s basic communications. You can’t do much with it. The one I have, if I don’t have the right charger, it doesn’t hold a charge, and that’s why I’ve been on my charger all the time sitting here waiting for you (chuckles) waiting to get through so I don’t lose my call.
RUSH: Well, why did you get an Obama phone? Did you need one? I mean, financially you needed to go that route to have a phone?
CALLER: Yes, sir. Financially I did have to go that route. It’s just a temporary situation. After a year, they have to renew your contract anyway. Hopefully I’ll be off the thing; I can donate it to some shelter somewhere and they can get use out of it.
RUSH: Have you signed up additional people to get additional free minutes? Have you used that part of the program?
CALLER: Never heard of it, don’t care about it. I was wanting… I get unlimited minutes. I signed up for the unlimited minutes and texting so I don’t have to worry about when my clock runs down. So that covers that. See, before, I worked eight years as a dishwasher — well, not just a dishwasher, but a dishwasher — and worked in other jobs when I worked six days a week.
RUSH: I’m curious though. I’m curious. Did you say you have unlimited minutes?
CALLER: Yes, unlimited minutes, texting and minutes. It’s $26 a month.
RUSH: Unlimited texting and minutes on the Obama phone. Now, we heard… Here, grab the Obama phone lady in Cleveland. I want to listen to this again ’cause she tells us here how you qualify for one of these things.
REPORTER: You got an Obama phone?
WOMAN: (screaming) Yes! Everybody in Cleveland, low minorities, got Obama phone. Keep Obama in president, you know? He gave us a phone!
REPORTER: He gave you a phone?
WOMAN: He gonna do more!
REPORTER: How did he give you a phone?
WOMAN: You sign up. If you’re… If you on food stamps, you on Social Security, you got low income, you disability…
REPORTER: Okay, what’s wrong with Romney, again?
WOMAN: Romney, he sucks! Bad!
RUSH: Okay. So food stamps, low income, disability, there was one other thing. How did you prove your income in order to qualify? How hard was it to get the phone, other than the bureaucratic business?
CALLER: Not very hard if you actually got somebody who could speak decent English. Just fill out the paperwork and send proof of my unemployment and off it went, and then it’s just a matter of time for them to process it, send it directly to the house, pick it up, call, activate, good to go.
CALLER: So that’s pretty much what it took. It didn’t take much. But I sure would prefer to have a better economy so I could afford a better phone that has the stuff on it that I want.
RUSH: And use it when I want to, and enjoy it, ’cause before I lost my plan and all the other phones, I had my stuff on there.
RUSH: So you got your Obama phone when you’re on unemployment?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: Yeah. Okay. But it’s not feature packed? It doesn’t have a lot of goodies to it, just basically phones and texts?
CALLER: Yeah. Well, you can upgrade, but you can upgrade to what they allow you.
RUSH: Listen to this! (laughing) You can upgrade? Can you send e-mails on your phone?
CALLER: Excuse me?
RUSH: Can you send e-mails on your phone?
CALLER: No, sir. I can barely send texts on it.
RUSH: Well, what a cheapskate this Obama is.
CALLER: (wild laughter) Yeah, no kidding. I can’t even send picture mail.
RUSH: You can’t?
RUSH: On your free Obama phone, you can’t even send pictures or photos? What?
CALLER: It’s a shame, don’t you know? Gosh.
RUSH: It is a shame. You’re getting the screwed. You know, most people pay $60 a month for unlimited minutes and testing.
RUSH: If they get away that cheaply.
RUSH: So you have a deal there. So this never ends? You keep this phone as long as you want it?
CALLER: They have to renew the policy, or whatever the forms after a year from the date of your initial signup, and if it’s changed then you either continue or you drop the thing.
RUSH: Have you ever had your service turned off?
CALLER: On this thing? No. I’ve just run out of my time or minutes and then I just have to get on line and put more time on and that’s about it.
RUSH: I was, most of them get renewed. I can’t imagine them ever turning off any Obama phone. I know what they say you have to do, but I can’t imagine them ever turning it off.
CALLER: Well, they don’t get turned off. You just have to wait ’til you put more minutes on. California, it’s like I think the only state where you actually have to pay for your time. But even that at a reduced rate, you still have to pay. Everybody else gets a freebie. I don’t really care about them. And that’s not no problem right now. My problem is I want to have a job so we can actually get back on my own phone plan.
RUSH: What do you want to do? What do you want to do?
CALLER: Oh, right now? My buddy and I just picked up a one-ton farm truck from a camp that we’re gonna try and get running. It’s a diesel four-by with an eight-foot plow. So if we can get that running for winter, then we have another extra income where we can go and do snow removal. Or, worse comes to worse, we can scrap it. But we have other things to do. One of the other one is one of our other mutual acquaintances has a chimney sweep business, but he’s off the hill, and he’s not doing much with that. So he’s allowing us to use his equipment and pick up extra cash.
RUSH: See, the problem, though, is you sound like you have entrepreneurial characteristics. You’re gonna going to do a truck and trying to find work. You didn’t answer with a specific kind of job when I asked you. But most people do. The problem with the Obama phone is most people would rather have the free phone than a job. You are unusual. You’d rather get a job and be able to get your own phone. The woman in Cleveland wouldn’t even think of that.