Talk Business reports that a new ad attacking Bill Halter for supporting a plan that would invest Social Security revenues in the stock market was paid for by Arkansans for Common Sense, a group run that was incorporated by (see below) Mitchell L. Berry, son of Rep. Marion Berry. Daily Kos has now picked up the item and has done a little extra digging. According to Kos, Halter wasn't supporting anything but explaining then President Clinton's plan to fix Social Security.
This wasn't "privatizing" social security, as Republicans were trying to do. This wasn't taking a portion of each individual's contributions to the system and investing them in the stock market. This was taking a portion of the social security surplus and sticking it in the market. That was still a stupid idea that didn't go anywhere, but again, was not "privatizing" it as the GOP was fighting to do.
But here's the thing -- maybe Mitchell Berry and his merry band of corporatist stooges should've done a little more digging on the issue. Because, it turns out, Blanche Lincoln was in favor of Bill Clinton's plan. From the October 11, 2000 edition of the Lincoln Journal Star:
"We should look at possible ways of investing some of the trust fund to bring us higher earnings, but not allow individuals to take a percentage of their payroll tax out of the fund," Lincoln said. "That could cause collapse of the system."
I'm sure we haven't heard the end of this one.
UPDATE: I just got a call from none other than Mitchell Berry. Berry serves as the attorney for the group Arkansans for Common Sense, he does not "run" the operation as I incorrectly noted. He said he has not even seen the ad in question. "All I did was organize the entity for them as their attorney."
Another interesting twist though, Berry is a registered lobbyist for Scientific Games, the Georgia-based company that has an instant-ticket contract with the Arkansas Lottery. You may remember Bill Halter had quite a part in getting the lottery going, so what does Berry say to that?
"I don't have anything to do with what the entity does or any of its practices. [Scientific Games] may have a question about that but I do not make any decisions for this organization," Berry says.