PNS Daily Newscast - April 23, 2018 

The Waffle House shooter had an earlier weapons arrest near the White House. Also on our Monday rundown: new eviction data underscores America’s affordable-housing crisis; plus we will take you to a state where one county is putting juvenile justice under public health.

Daily Newscasts

Social Security Note for Labor Day: $8.8 Billion for AR

PHOTO: Social Security is being heralded for Labor Day. A report finds the benefits bring nearly $9 million a year to Arkansas. Photo credit:
PHOTO: Social Security is being heralded for Labor Day. A report finds the benefits bring nearly $9 million a year to Arkansas. Photo credit:
August 29, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Labor Day Weekend is a salute to working people, and a report from the group "Social Security Works" shows how the federal program helps keep Arkansans who have spent a lifetime working out of poverty - as well as boosting local economies with an influx of nearly $9 billion each year.

Pensions have changed, jobs have been lost and home equity has eroded," said Eric Kingson, co-director of Social Security Works, yet Social Security is still strong despite political campaign talk of privatizing the program.

"Like our highway system, occasionally it has to be adjusted," Kingson said. "You run into some bumps into the road, but you don't start talk about ripping up the system. But the folks who want to destroy it, who want to pull it apart piece by piece, they do start talking about 'the sky is falling.' "

More than 600,000 Arkansans receive the earned benefit each month, and the report credits Social Security with keeping 315,000 people above the poverty line. Most receiving Social Security are retirees. Other beneficiaries include people with disabilities, children and surviving spouses.

This year's Social Security Trustees report projects that the program can pay all benefits in full for nearly two decades. After that, Kingson said, it could still pay 77 cents on every dollar of earned benefits without any program changes - so he concluded that the discussion should focus on ways to strengthen it.

"Social Security is not about financing - that's the means," he said. "The end is the well-being of the American people and the kind of society we want. And I think we all want a system where we all work hard together and provide this kind of protection."

One idea of reform that Kingson likes is requiring equal payroll contributions for everyone. Currently, those making more than $117,000 a year don't make contributions beyond that ceiling. Part of the reasoning for that is that they would pay much more into the system than they could collect during retirement, based on distribution formulas.

The report, "Social Security Works for Arkansas," is online at

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - AR