The Social Crisis in America

Merchants of Death: The pharmaceuticals, Congress and the US opioid epidemic

By Genevieve Leigh, 19 October 2017

A recent investigation by the Washington Post and “60 Minutes” has exposed the complicity of the pharmaceutical giants and the Democratic and Republican parties in the worst drug epidemic in US history.

African American man attacked by white supremacists in Charlottesville charged with felony

By Shelley Connor, 12 October 2017

A magistrate issued an arrest warrant on Monday charging DeAndre Harris with unlawfully wounding one of his attackers during the “Unite the Right” rally in August.

For one in four US women: Nearest abortion facility over 30 miles away

By Zaida Green, 6 October 2017

In many counties, women must travel dozens or hundreds of miles to reach an abortion facility and are often forced to travel to another state.

The Las Vegas massacre the day after

By David Walsh, 4 October 2017

US politicians and the American media are displaying their usual obtuseness and ignorance in the face of this terrible tragedy, that has ruined hundreds, if not thousands of lives.

More than 52 million Americans live in economically distressed communities

By Sandy English, 28 September 2017

Census data shows the so-called economic recovery under Obama was an unmitigated catastrophe for the 20 percent of the population that live in the poorest areas of the US.

The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills

The “disease” of social inequality sends thousands to a premature death

By Benjamin Mateus and George Marlowe, 25 September 2017

A new book by Chicago doctor David Ansell reveals the profound ways in which social inequality in the US creates “death gaps” and disparities in life expectancies.

Rural New York schools grapple with declining population, increasing poverty

By Jason Melanovski, 20 September 2017

A new report documents the crisis of rural school districts.

Alleged Nashville shooting brings social relations into relief

By Warren Duzak, 19 September 2017

Gerald Melton, was shot August 26 after he allegedly objected to the sound of loud music and exhaust fumes coming from a Porsche driven by Katie Quackenbush, 26.

Two million in Florida still without power nearly a week after Hurricane Irma

By Trévon Austin, 16 September 2017

In Highlands County in south Florida, an area with a 19.4 percent poverty rate, nearly three-quarters of residents were still without power Friday.

New York governor postures at bridge dedication while transportation infrastructure crumbles

By Philip Guelpa, 16 September 2017

The ostentatious opening of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement is being used to obscure decades of neglect.

Small median income gain offset by debt and living costs

US Census report shows increasing social inequality

By Eric London, 15 September 2017

While the New York Times claims the Census data shows “a brighter picture” for the working class, nothing could be further from the truth.

New details highlight criminal neglect in death of Florida nursing home residents

By Niles Niemuth, 15 September 2017

The deaths in Hollywood, Florida have exposed the incompetence and indifference of the American ruling class, which bears ultimate responsibility for this social crime.

A social crime: Eight elderly dead in Florida nursing home after days without air conditioning

By Niles Niemuth, 14 September 2017

Police evacuated 115 remaining residents from a nursing home north of Miami after they spent days in suffocating heat after the power was knocked out by Hurricane Irma.

From hurricanes to tax cuts: The ruling class gets down to business

By Joseph Kishore, 13 September 2017

Even as the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is still being tallied, the US political establishment is moving rapidly to push through a massive handout for the corporate and financial elite.

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey: Natural disaster and political breakdown

By Patrick Martin, 9 September 2017

In its response to Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and other natural disasters, American capitalism has demonstrated its bankruptcy as a social system.

Why aren’t trains evacuating people from the path of Hurricane Irma?

By Jeff Lusanne, 9 September 2017

Hundreds of thousands need to flee the path of Hurricane Irma. Instead of fleets of trains carrying them away, residents are left to fend for themselves in their own cars on congested roads.

Long-term threats to public health follow in Hurricane Harvey’s wake

By Gary Joad, 7 September 2017

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina points to the long-term threats to public health which will follow in Hurricane Harvey’s wake in the greater Houston area and throughout southeast Texas.

Study highlights health epidemic: More than one in four US adults is obese

By Kayla Costa, 6 September 2017

Adult obesity rates for 2016 hit over 30 percent in 25 US states, and, in five states, topped 35 percent, the highest levels in the world.

Media and political establishment begin to move on as Houston residents return to devastated city

By Tom Hall, 5 September 2017

As the floodwaters begin to recede, the ruling class is moving to bury the social disaster that has only begun to unfold in Southeast Texas.

The Houston flood, the anarchy of the capitalist market and the case for socialist planning

By Niles Niemuth, 30 August 2017

Twelve years after Katrina, nothing has been done to strengthen flood control systems and build up the social infrastructure to limit the impact of major storms.

Nurses lack knowledge of postpartum health risks

US maternal mortality highest among industrialized nations

By Trévon Austin, 25 August 2017

An estimated 700 to 900 women die in the US every year from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes, the highest rate among industrialized nations.

New York Mayor De Blasio makes token gesture against evictions

By Philip Guelpa, 21 August 2017

The Democratic mayor is making token moves in response to a mounting housing crisis and growth of homelessness.

Study documents sharp increase in alcohol abuse in the US

By Trévon Austin, 14 August 2017

A recent study published by JAMA Psychiatry found a large increase in diagnosed alcohol use disorders and abuse since 2001, with one in eight Americans now suffering from alcohol abuse.

As Americans die younger, corporations to reap billions in pension costs

By Kate Randall, 11 August 2017

Shortened life expectancy is the result of deteriorating conditions of life, exacerbated by the deliberate policy of both big business parties to restrict access to affordable health care.

US health catastrophe: Drug overdose deaths approach 60,000 a year

By E.P. Milligan, 10 August 2017

More Americans have died from drug overdoses since 2000 than in all the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries combined.

Thousands attend free health care event in Detroit

By a WSWS reporting team, 10 August 2017

Like other free clinics throughout the US, the Motor City Medical Mission revealed the deep health care crisis in America.

Devastating toll of hunger on US school children

By Patrick Martin, 8 August 2017

A new report finds that as many as 13 million children go to school hungry in the United States.

Manhattan couple commit suicide due to “financial spiral”

By Isaac Finn, 31 July 2017

Glenn Scarpelli and Patricia Colant jumped to their deaths from a building in mid-town Manhattan on Friday. In their suicide notes, the couple explain they “cannot live with” their “financial reality.”

Study on food stamp distribution and theft underscores hunger crisis in Illinois

By Jessica Goldstein, 28 July 2017

The study, published earlier this month, points to widespread desperation among those struggling to survive on meager state assistance.

American nightmare: Nine immigrants suffocate to death in trailer left in Texas parking lot

By Eric London, 24 July 2017

The 30 survivors of the horrific tragedy will likely be thrown into detention centers and promptly deported without the right to appear before a judge.

US: Growing danger of children overdosing from opioids

By Kathleen Martin, 24 July 2017

Accidental contact with fentanyl, heroin or carfentanil—difficult to trace in small amounts—is exposing another dangerous aspect of the opioid epidemic in the US.

Fifty years since the Detroit rebellion

Part three: Liberal promises and capitalist reality in “New Detroit”

By Barry Grey, 24 July 2017

The WSWS is posting a three-part series originally published in July of 1987 under the title “Twenty years since the Detroit rebellion.” This is the third and final part. Part one was published on July 21, part two on July 22.

New York and New Jersey transit woes mount

By Alan Whyte, 21 July 2017

A series of incidents in the last number of days and weeks have revealed a deepening crisis in transit in the New York and New Jersey area.

The opioid epidemic in the US: A national health emergency

By Genevieve Leigh, 18 July 2017

The drug epidemic is a symptom of a diseased social system, the product of nearly four decades of social counterrevolution overseen by the ruling class and its political representatives, Democratic and Republican.

Michigan researchers investigate connection between Flint water crisis and high infant mortality rate

By Carlos Delgado, 18 July 2017

The city of Flint saw a significant increase in rate of infants who died before their first birthday in 2015, when the lead-in-water crisis was at its height.

One month since the UK Grenfell Fire:

Three die in Honolulu high-rise without sprinkler system

By Andre Damon, 17 July 2017

The disaster in Honolulu makes clear that the London fire was no aberration. All over the world, the lives of working people are treated as expendable in the pursuit of wealth and profits by the financial elite.

Low birth weights, high stress levels among immigrant population in the US

By Genevieve Leigh, 17 July 2017

New studies show a link between severe health problems among immigrants, and anxieties caused by the US anti-immigrant policies under the Bush, Obama and now Trump administrations.

US Justice Department arrests over 400 in health care fraud crackdown

By Brad Dixon, 17 July 2017

The crackdown is aimed at distracting attention from the main culprits in the opioid crisis—the pharmaceutical companies and drug distributors.

Michigan attacks assistance for state’s unemployed and vulnerable residents

By Debra Watson, 13 July 2017

Michigan is being forced to pay back tens of millions of dollars in food benefits illegally denied even as changes in law and policy curtail food benefits and unemployment assistance for millions.

A generation of orphans

The impact of US opioid epidemic on foster care and social services

By Genevieve Leigh, 12 July 2017

Social service workers, health care workers, and nonprofit organizers spoke to the WSWS about the devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic on children.

Number of New York City street homeless grew by nearly 40 percent in one year

By Philip Guelpa, 11 July 2017

Deteriorating economic conditions combined with inadequate social services lead to sharp rise in New York’s homeless population.

The police murder of Iraq War veteran Brian Easley

By Eric London, 10 July 2017

The murder of Easley exposes the establishment’s ritual worship of veterans as nothing more than propaganda, aimed at building support for wars fought by the poor to enrich the wealthy.

Missouri rolls back minimum wage increase in St. Louis

By Matthew MacEgan, 8 July 2017

Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a law that reverses the city of St. Louis’s 2015 hourly minimum wage increase, lowering it from $10 back to the state’s standard of $7.70.

Hepatitis A on the rise in California

By Kevin Martinez, 4 July 2017

The disease, which affects the liver, has already claimed four lives in San Diego, making it the largest outbreak in the state in almost 20 years.

Ohio councilman proposes “three strike policy” to let opioid overdosers die

By Genevieve Leigh, 3 July 2017

Like hundreds of cities and towns across the US, Middletown, located in southwestern Ohio, has been wracked by the opioid epidemic.

Affordable housing shortage hits Nashville, Tennessee

By Keisha Gibbs, 30 June 2017

Even as Nashville has experienced a population boom, the largest city in the state has lost more than 20 percent of its affordable housing stock since 2000.

Concentration of poverty in New York City neighborhoods on the rise

By Philip Guelpa, 27 June 2017

Both the absolute rate of poverty and the degree to which the poor are segregated into effective ghettos have increased since the 2008 crash.

Health care and the fight for socialism

By Barry Grey and Kate Randall, 24 June 2017

The most significant feature of both the Senate and House plans is their effective dismantlement of Medicaid as a guaranteed benefit—a milestone in the ruling class drive to destroy what remains of the social reforms of the 20th century.

US hospital visits due to opioid issues top one million a year

By Genevieve Leigh, 21 June 2017

Visits to emergency rooms and inpatient stays for opioid-related issues are skyrocketing, straining treatment facilities in rural areas and urban centers alike.

Notorious New York City landlord Steve Croman sentenced to jail

By Katy Kinner, 21 June 2017

The real estate mogul, who has forcibly evicted hundreds of people, was sentenced to a year in jail for crimes against the banks, not tenants.

Michigan health director named in latest round of charges over Flint water crisis

By Shannon Jones, 15 June 2017

The director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the highest ranking state official yet to be named in the ongoing official investigation, is facing manslaughter charges.

The Sessions hearing: Another anti-Russian diversion while the social counterrevolution in America deepens

By Patrick Martin, 14 June 2017

Not one Democratic senator sought to question Sessions about the actual policies of the Trump administration toward immigrants or victims of police violence.

Flint, Michigan home fire kills father and two children

By Carlos Delgado, 14 June 2017

A father in his 50s and two teenage children are the latest victims of fatal house fires in the economically ravaged city.

Drug crisis pushes up mortality rate for Americans in their prime

By Shelley Connor, 10 June 2017

Amid a continuing economic downturn, mortality rates have risen for Americans between the ages of 25 and 45, with a surging opioid crisis claiming lives daily.

US surpasses most of the world in health care inequality

By Kate Randall, 9 June 2017

While poor and working-class Americans have access to substandard care, if they can get health care at all, a growing number of health care companies are catering to the rich.

Two charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in Oakland Ghost Ship fire

By Evan Blake, 9 June 2017

While the two men clearly bear responsibility, their prosecution is meant to deflect blame from equally culpable city officials and others responsible for creating the housing crisis in the Bay Area.

Homelessness sharply increases in Los Angeles County

By Thomas Gaist and Marc Wells, 9 June 2017

The number of homeless living in Los Angeles County grew by 23 percent over the last year, rising to 58,000.

Deaths from drug overdoses see largest increase in US history

By Genevieve Leigh, 7 June 2017

New data analyzed by the New York Times reveals that the number of people killed by drug overdoses increased by 19 percent in 2016, largely due to the growing opioid epidemic.

Fired worker, an army veteran, kills five in workplace rampage in Orlando, Florida

By Kate Randall, 7 June 2017

Monday’s deadly attack came a week before the city marks one year since the Pulse nightclub massacre, when a lone gunman shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

Indebted New York City Housing Authority plans to lease public housing land to private developers

By Katy Kinner, 5 June 2017

Plans for luxury housing to be built on NYCHA property in Manhattan will leave hundreds of prospective low-income tenants in “affordable” units without sunlight.

One third of American households cannot afford water bills

Mass water shutoffs continue for Detroit households

By Kathleen Martin, 29 May 2017

Recent reports show major sustainability issues, with rising costs of water and affordability for millions of US households.

Trump calls for $1.7 trillion in social cuts

By Kate Randall, 23 May 2017

The budget proposal marks a new stage in the bipartisan assault on what remains of programs to fight poverty and hunger and provide health care for millions of workers.

“We’re being punished for not being able to pay the city for the poison”

Flint residents speak out on water crisis

By Jerry White, 19 May 2017

With popular anger reaching a boiling point, city officials passed a temporary moratorium of foreclosure threats against residents not paying for the poisoned water.

Flint workers denounce foreclosure threat over water bills

By Jerry White, 18 May 2017

Angry workers on Wednesday confronted the Flint City Council, which voted to temporarily halt plans to put tax liens on homes with unpaid water bills.

The working class must intervene with its own program in the political crisis in Washington

By Joseph Kishore, 17 May 2017

A conflict is unfolding across the United States of a very different character than the crisis gripping Washington—a conflict between the working class and the capitalist class.

Water bill deadline looms for 8,000 Flint households

By James Brewer, 17 May 2017

Despite the fact that the water is still not safe to drink three years after the city began pumping foul, improperly treated water from the Flint River into homes, authorities are forcing residents to pay up or face eviction.

Trump administration seizes on Aetna pullout from ACA to push Republicans’ health plan

By Shelley Connor, 16 May 2017

If insurers are unable to make an adequate profit under Obamacare, they either hike their prices or pull out of the insurance market.

US hepatitis C infections triple amid opioid epidemic

By Brad Dixon, 15 May 2017

According to new reports, the rate of new hepatitis C infections in the United States nearly tripled between 2010 and 2015, largely due to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Detroit water shutoff crisis intensifies under bill repayment scheme

By Kathleen Martin, 10 May 2017

One in six residential units in the city of Detroit are facing immediate shutoffs while national projections estimate that one third of the US will not be able to pay their water bills by 2020.

Three years after the lead poisoning of Flint, residents face water shutoffs, home foreclosures

By Jerry White, 10 May 2017

Three years after the decision to switch Flint’s water supply to the polluted Flint River, nothing has been done to address the catastrophic health consequences of the lead poisoning of tens of thousands of working-class residents.

One of eight people in US is food insecure

New report documents pervasive hunger in America

By Shelley Connor, 6 May 2017

A report by Feeding America issued on Thursday documents the pervasive scale of hunger in America and a growing “food budget gap” for millions of working people.

“After compromising our health, they want to kick us out of our homes”

8,000 Flint residents face foreclosure for failing to pay for poisoned water

By Jerry White, 5 May 2017

Letters sent out by the city said outstanding bills would have to be paid by May 19 or tax liens would be put on homes that could result in residents losing them next year.

New study details correlation between tornado deaths and social inequality

By Eric London, 4 May 2017

Though storms do not select their victims, capitalism does. A new report shows a close correlation between poverty, inequality, mobile home residency and tornado fatalities across the US.

Death toll rises to 18 as floods and tornadoes devastate impoverished US South

By Trévon Austin, 2 May 2017

That storms could wreak such havoc on largely impoverished sections of the United States exposes the catastrophic divide separating rich and poor in the world’s richest country.

Floods, tornadoes kill 13 across US South as Trump plans major cuts to disaster relief

By Eric London, 1 May 2017

Entirely preventable, this weekend’s tragic deaths were caused by the lack of public infrastructure, planning and spending on disaster relief.

Poverty among Michigan children greater in 2015 than during “Great Recession”

By Debra Watson, 1 May 2017

Michigan had an official poverty rate of 22.2 percent in 2015, more than at the end of the first full year of the 2008 recession.

“The politicians in Flint, Lansing and Washington—they’re all for capitalism”

Retired GM worker speaks on three years of the Flint water crisis

By Lawrence Porter, 27 April 2017

A retired autoworker reflects on three years of the Flint water crisis.

“What they did to this city is criminal”

Flint residents march on third anniversary of lead poisoning

By Larry Porter, 26 April 2017

Hundreds of Flint residents marched to City Hall Tuesday to protest the failure of federal, state and local officials to address the disaster they all had a hand in creating.

Life expectancy on the rise in US, but only for the rich

By Kathleen Martin, 26 April 2017

A recent study shows the growing gap between life expectancies for the rich and poor is 12.7 years difference on average.

Backdrop to Trump’s speech: The social disaster in Kenosha, Wisconsin

By Christopher Davion, 19 April 2017

President Trump chose Kenosha for the location for his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order

Suspect in Cleveland Facebook murder kills himself as police close in

By Patrick Martin, 19 April 2017

Steven Stephens died in Erie County, Pennsylvania less than 48 hours after posting a video on Facebook of the killing of a 74-year-old stranger, Robert Godwin.

Three dead in San Bernardino, California school shooting

By Ben McGrath, 11 April 2017

The poverty and declining social conditions found in cities like San Bernardino are major contributing factors in now routine outbursts of mass violence.

Super-rich in America live 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent

By Kate Randall, 11 April 2017

Income-based disparities in US life expectancy are worsened by the for-profit US health care system.

East Chicago mayor refuses to reveal plan for lead-poisoned housing complex

By Jessica Goldstein and Benjamin Mateus, 10 April 2017

The US Environmental Protection Agency determined that the relocation of West Calumet residents was unnecessary.

Civil engineers’ report details decrepit state of US infrastructure

By Matthew Taylor, 5 April 2017

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the US a D- in its latest report card on the state of the nation’s schools, bridges, roads, water systems and other critical infrastructure.

Children in California show elevated lead levels at rates higher than Flint, Michigan

By Glenn Mulwray, 3 April 2017

A recent report revealed that children in working class neighborhoods across California have tested for elevated lead levels as high or higher than children in Flint.

More than 52,000 in the US died from drug overdoses in 2015

By E.P. Milligan, 1 April 2017

Drug overdoses now account for more deaths than from guns or car accidents; 63 percent of overdoses were due to opioids.

Flint, Michigan begins water shutoffs

By James Brewer, 25 March 2017

:Residents suspect that the announcement that lead levels have improved is now being used by authorities to sweep the water crisis under the carpet.

Rising death rate for middle-aged US workers driven by “deaths of despair”

By Niles Niemuth, 24 March 2017

The latest research by economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton provides new insights into the social crisis which has devastated the American working class since the year 2000.

Wealth of world’s billionaires soars amid stock market surge

By Shannon Jones, 22 March 2017

In 2016 the combined wealth of the world’s richest individuals rose 18 percent to a staggering $7.67 trillion.

New York mayor’s shelter plan will not reduce the city’s growing homeless population

By Philip Guelpa, 21 March 2017

Bill de Blasio’s latest housing proposal would merely shift homeless people from one form of temporary and thoroughly inadequate shelter to another.

Chicago schools and water infrastructure plagued by lead contamination

By our reporter, 16 March 2017

Chicago schools and the city’s water infrastructure contains lead piping that expose the population to the danger of lead poisoning.

The Michigan power outages and the case for the nationalization of the utility industries

By Jerry White, 15 March 2017

At its peak last week, more than a million homes, schools and businesses in the metropolitan Detroit area and outstate areas had no electricity.

US ruling elite moves to repeal the 1960s

By Patrick Martin, 14 March 2017

With only token opposition from the Democrats, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are eviscerating what remains of the gains of the working class dating from the last period of social reform.

One-third of San Diego residents without basic needs

By Norisa Diaz and Renae Cassimeda, 8 March 2017

WSWS reporters recently spoke with homeless residents on the difficulties of getting by in one of the nation’s most expensive cities.

Trump proposes huge hike in military and police spending

By Patrick Martin, 28 February 2017

A budget outline presented by the White House Monday calls for a $54 billion increase in military and police spending, offset by an equal cut in domestic social spending.

Capitalism and America’s addiction epidemic

By Andre Damon, 25 February 2017

The precipitous rise in drug overdoses is among the sharpest expressions of the profound social crisis gripping the United States.

Tenants of Detroit’s Russell Industrial Center subject to mass eviction

By Kathleen Martin, 23 February 2017

Artist tenants at the century-old Russell Industrial Center are scrambling to find new work and gallery spaces due to a last-minute eviction notice from the city of Detroit.

Ohio couple arrested after eight-year-old son overdoses on heroin

By Naomi Spencer, 22 February 2017

The genuinely tragic outcomes of so many children caught up in the drug crisis are compounded by official indifference.

Federal reserve report reveals exploding levels of US household debt

By Tom Hall, 20 February 2017

Total US household debt is expected to surpass levels reached just prior to the subprime mortgage crisis that triggered the 2008 Recession.