You work hard, pay your bills on time, try to raise your kids to know right from wrong, and if you’re lucky you can even stash a few bucks in the bank every month.

What the hell is wrong with you? This is not the way to get ahead in the America of 2012.

Remember that free government cell phones scam we wrote about last year? Well, it turns out people loved that freebie so much, the Federal Communications Commission has now approved cheap internet for the downtrodden, the deadbeats and the drug dealers.

Please allow us to repeat that in case you have been stricken catatonic by the mere thought of another government freebie:

The FCC just approved an extension of the free government cell phone program that will offers cheap, high-speed broadband internet service to the downtrodden, the deadbeats and the drug dealers.

Yes, the same high speed broadband for which you have to pay $49 or $69 or more per month, is now being offered to society’s losers for just $9.95 per month.

The curse of the FCC: Internet Basics and Internet Essentials

Be happy -– very happy –- if you never need to get the approval of the Federal Communications Commission.

Comcast, a company better known for its cable TV business, is entering the cheap internet fray with a program called Internet Essentials. CenturyLink, one of the nation’s largest phone companies, it offering its version of cheap broadband and calling it Internet Basics.

But whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of assuming that either company wanted to give away internet access for almost nothing. No, they were both strong-armed into the cheap internet business by the Federal Communications Commission.

When Comcast wanted to acquire NBC and when CenturyLink wanted to acquire Qwest, the FCC said no-go unless you agree to “increase broadband deployment in low income households.”

In other words, we’re going to hold up two reasonable corporate acquisitions that will benefit all four companies’ customers unless you agree to governmental blackmail.

So what, exactly, did they agree to give away?

Both programs offer high-speed Internet for just $9.95 a month plus a personal computer for just $150. (Yes, a mere $150 for something suckers like us pay much more for.) The programs also offer free or nearly free computer instruction classes and tech support.

Holy freakin’ moly. These are your tax dollars.

Coming soon: Connect to Compete and Lifeline Internet

Ahhh, you’re probably thinking, those are two unique situations that will only apply to a few people. Wrong. This is the government we’re talking about.

Other companies have seen the writing on the wall and have begun their own programs before the FCC forces them to participate.

One program, Connect To Compete, is a combination of private companies and non-profit organizations such as Cablevision, Charter, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Bend Cable, Bright House Networks, Eagle Communications, GCI, Insight, Mediacom, Midcontinent, Sjoberg’s Cable and Suddenlink.

And on the last day of January, 2012, the FCC extended its controlling tentacles just a little further by introducing a new program called Lifeline Internet that will offer deeply discounted internet service. It’s the evil offspring of the Lifeline free government cell phone program and will supposedly be funded by savings that result from an FCC crackdown on fraud in the cell phone program.

We’ve tried to remember a case of the government saving money by finding and prosecuting fraud in one of its bloated programs, but our memories fail.

Lord, give us strength.

All these government-mandated cheap and free internet services are similar. They each offer similar cheap high-speed broadband internet service for just $9.95 per month, ultra-cheap home computers, classes, the whole shebang.

And to no one’s surprise, you don’t qualify. Forget it. These programs were not designed for responsible, hard-working people.

What does it take to qualify for these freebies?

If you’re downtrodden, a deadbeat or a drug dealer, qualifying is a piece of cake.

You are eligible for Comcast’s Internet Essentials and Connect To Compete if you (1) have at least one student enrolled in the Free School Lunch Program; (2) if you’re not a current
 subscriber to broadband (or have subscribed in the last 90 days); and (3) if you don’t have an overdue bill or if you’re not holding on to any unreturned equipment that belongs to the participating service provider.

You’ll be eligible for CenturyLink’s Internet Basics and Lifeline Internet if you also participate in other government giveaways (such as food stamps (SNAP), public housing assistance, Medicaid, Section 8 housing, Supplemental Security Income, various Home Energy Assistance Programs, National School Lunch and other programs.

In most states you can also qualify if your household income is no more than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. (It’s 150% in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas.)

Bend over and relax. This won’t hurt a bit

There’s no doubt in our mind that the bureaucrats will soon say it’s unfair to charge the poor for Internet service. “IT MUST BE FREE!”

You know it’s coming. We know it’s coming. Anyone with half a brain knows it’s coming.

We can hear the plaintive bleating of the government sheep now, “It’s not fair that we give them free government cell phones, but expect them to pay for cheap Internet service. It should all be free.”

Free to them, that is. Not so free for you because you’re not only paying for your own internet access, you’re paying for their’s.