Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Bill Halter, who was acting head of the Social Security Administration at the end of the Clinton administration, says his Republican opponent, Jim Holt, wants to do away with Social Security.
"My opponent supports a political party that advocates eliminating Social Security and calls Medicare 'socialized medicine'," Halter said in a press release. "Holt’s association with the Constitution Party raises serious questions about his position on such state-funded services such as Medicaid and whether he believes that it is also 'socialized medicine.' I disagree with Jim Holt and his allies and their belief that Social Security should be eliminated. Social Security provides benefits to roughly 540,000 Arkansans and is a vital part of our state. As Lt. Governor, I will continue to fight to protect Social Security.”
Halter also said, "Social Security is not a typical issue in a race for Lt. Governor, but this major difference in opinion is one that voters should understand when casting their ballots."
Full press release after the jump.
UPDATE: Holt sent us a response:
It's unfortunate that my opponent has been obviously misinformed.
We are applying for Lt. Governor which doesn't ordinarily deal with Social Security. He should be focused on real state solutions that will put more money back in the hands of Arkansans. Arkansas has the 4th highest tax burden in the Nation. We must reduce the tax burden in this state so the elderly can have more buying power and we each can save for our own retirement - in addition to Social Security, not feed an ever growing, bloated bureaucracy. Unfortunately for our people that is all my opponent has advocated - more spending and more taxes.
Now, in relation to Social Security: this has been my position on this issue all along and the people of Arkansas know this, for I have lived here my whole life (other than my @ nine years in the military intelligence field).
1. Social Security MUST remain rock solid. If the Government makes a promise they should keep it. I wonder what my opponent did in his short time as acting interim? Because Social Security has been suffering more and more after each decade.
2. To do this, I have advocated STRONGLY from the beginning that we must put ALL government elected officials and bureaucrats on ONLY Social Security Retirement - no more of their excessive, cushy retirement plans. That way we will know they will finally start doing what's right by we the people - the servant should never be better than those he/she serves. By the way, I wonder if my opponent's millionaire retirement plan is ONLY from Social security like mine and so many millions of other Arkansans?
3. We must not allow the politicians: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike, to dip into the budget for Social Security any longer. This puts a huge strain on the system year after year. If business owners raided their employees' retirement accounts, they would be thrown into jail for stealing. This practice must stop.
4. I am for making sure that we will protect social security since we have made that promise to our people. 79% of the people of this nation, do not believe Social Security will be around when they retire. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It is WE the people's money in the first place and if we can get a better return on our money with greater security for our Social Security supplemental retirement plan being rock solid, then I'm all for it.
As far as the Constitution Party, I did speak with them in 2003 and would do so again - they are mainly disenfranchised Democrats and Republicans. I also speak with Democrats, Independents, Liberals, Libertarians, Union members and others as well. I want to represent ALL Arkansans (where does he get most of his money from?) I receive help from all and am not ashamed of my friends. We have people who are members of the Democrat party that are involved at extremely high levels of our campaign. We are trying to bring all the people of Arkansas together and the diversity of our campaign is proof of that. Of course my opponents will try to say ridiculous statements when they are trying to win an election. When I disagree with my own party and side with the Democrats on an issue does that mean I'm an extremist as well?
Social Security Turns 71; Jim Holt Wants to Stop It from Seeing 72
Holt’s Ties to “Extreme” Constitution Party Also Highlighted
(Little Rock) – Seventy-one years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, thus creating a guaranteed financial safety net for millions of retired Americans aged 65 and over. Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor Bill Halter, a former Deputy Commissioner and former Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today highlighted his experience leading this program and contrasted that with Jim Holt’s support of privatizing Social Security. Halter also noted Jim Holt’s close ties to the Constitution Party which advocates eliminating Social Security along with the Food and Drug Administration and, calls Medicare “socialized medicine”.
“For seventy-one years, Social Security has paid retired Americans without fail and I was honored to lead this important program. Social Security also provides vital disability and survivor benefits. Social Security has lifted Arkansans out of poverty and has been a safety-net for millions of Americans,” said Bill Halter. “On the anniversary of its creation, it is important for voters to note that I, unlike my opponent, am opposed to the privatization of Social Security. Social Security is not a typical issue in a race for Lt. Governor, but this major difference in opinion is one that voters should understand when casting their ballots.”
Bill Halter served as Deputy Commissioner and later as Acting Commissioner of Social Security leading one of our most important and effective government programs -- an agency with 1,500 offices and 65,000 employees that delivers more than $500 billion in benefits to over 48 million Americans, including almost 540,000 Arkansans.
In his 2004 race for U.S. Senate, Jim Holt voiced support for privatizing Social Security. [Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 9/20/04] Privatization proposals would either significantly cut Social Security benefits or add trillions of dollars of U.S. federal debt. Privatization proposals would also increase financial risks for our state’s retirees.
Holt’s close ties to the Constitution Party expose his true thoughts on Social Security. The Constitution Party believes that there is no constitutional authority for Social Security and that it should be eliminated. The “extreme” Constitution Party also believes that Medicare is “socialized medicine” and the FDA should be eliminated. [www.constitutionparty.com] Further, Jim Holt was the 2003 keynote speaker at the Arkansas Constitution Party convention and Holt’s former campaign manager, Mark Moore, and his 2004 campaign manager, Jason Sheppard, have both served as chair of the Arkansas Constitution Party, [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 6/22/03, 10/26/04; Springdale Morning News, 10/28/05]
Chuck Banks, one of Holt’s opponents in the Republican primary this year, criticized Jim Holt for his ties to the Constitution Party when he said: “The public can then decide if these two gentlemen [Mark Moore and Jim Holt] are Republicans or, in truth, are espousing the dialogue of the Constitution Party, a party whose views are extreme, ill-advised and outside the mainstream of conservatism, especially Reagan Republicans.” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 4/25/06]
“My opponent supports a political party that advocates eliminating Social Security and calls Medicare “socialized medicine”,” said Bill Halter. “Holt’s association with the Constitution Party raises serious questions about his position on such state-funded services such as Medicaid and whether he believes that it is also “socialized medicine”. I disagree with Jim Holt and his allies and their belief that Social Security should be eliminated. Social Security provides benefits to roughly 540,000 Arkansans and is a vital part of our state. As Lt. Governor, I will continue to fight to protect Social Security.”