The Social Crisis in America

Kansas City health officials, police destroy food meant for homeless

By Josh Varlin, 14 November 2018

Footage of Kansas City Health Department officials and police pouring bleach on food being distributed by Free Hot Soup KC for homeless people sparked national outrage.

Merrimack Valley disaster, National Grid lockout highlights dangers of profit-driven gas system

By John Marion, 9 November 2018

As Columbia Gas cuts corners in the restoration of service to Merrimack Valley communities, more than 1,200 skilled gas workers are still locked out by National Grid.

What is to be done about the plutocrats?

By Patrick Martin, 2 November 2018

A new report documents the colossal role of inherited wealth in perpetuating social inequality in America.

Nearly 40 percent of New Jersey households struggle to make ends meet

By Erik Schreiber, 31 October 2018

A United Way report documenting the rising number of working poor in New Jersey provides concrete evidence of the intensified assault on workers' living standards.

Hundreds of bodies and other remains hidden in Detroit funeral homes

By Lawrence Porter, 27 October 2018

With an average cost for a funeral with cremation at $6,800 and burial at $10,000, the phenomenon of unclaimed bodies and burial crises is nationwide.

$1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot

Lottery fever: A symptom of social desperation

By Kayla Costa, 25 October 2018

The top 24 lottery jackpots in United States history have all occurred since the 2008–09 financial crash.

Nearly 150,000 New York City public school students are homeless

By Philip Guelpa, 24 October 2018

The rate of homelessness among public school students in America’s largest city and financial center is the highest ever recorded.

Detroit's reality: Infant corpses found piled up in funeral home

By Lawrence Porter, 22 October 2018

Police raids following an anonymous tip and a lawsuit have uncovered dozens of fetuses, several children’s bodies and hundreds of containers of human remains.

Record high income in 2017 for top one percent of wage earners in US

By Gabriel Black, 20 October 2018

In 2017, the top one percent of US wage earners received their highest paychecks ever, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute.

Seventh New York taxi industry driver commits suicide

By Leslie Murtagh and Daniel de Vries, 18 October 2018

The suicide shines a spotlight on the dire conditions facing drivers of the approximately 80,000 cars in New York City affiliated with ride-sharing app companies.

Death toll from Hurricane Michael continues to climb

By Matthew Taylor, 15 October 2018

Hurricane Michael is now considered to be the third most powerful storm to impact the US.

Lead at some Detroit schools 50 times the allowable federal level

By Lawrence Porter, 12 October 2018

A new report on lead and copper in Detroit schools reveals the acute health dangers facing working class families due to the massive deterioration in education funding.

The fifth death in two years

Eighteen-year-old found hanged in northern Wisconsin jail

By Jacob Crosse, 8 October 2018

The tragic and preventable deaths in Wisconsin Rapids reflect an upward trend in suicides throughout the United States’ overcrowded, backlogged and brutal jail and prison system.

Chicago police officer convicted of second-degree murder in 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald

By Jessica Goldstein, 6 October 2018

The trial and guilty verdict followed an attempted cover-up of the murder by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department.

New York City affordable housing crisis continues to worsen

By Philip Guelpa, 3 October 2018

Nearly half a million affordable housing units were lost over the last dozen years, while there was a fourfold increase in high-end units during the same period.

New Census Bureau report details poor conditions in New York’s Public Housing

By Mark Witkowski, 28 September 2018

The latest triannual US Census report on New York City housing reveals worsening conditions for the poorest New Yorkers.

Dopesick by Beth Macy

Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America

By Gary Joad, 25 September 2018

Author Beth Macy paints a searing and heartbreaking portrait of the Appalachian victims of the current opioid epidemic in the United States.

As Trump stages photo-ops in the Carolinas

Hurricane flooding exposes mass poverty, class oppression in America

By Ed Hightower and Barry Grey, 20 September 2018

President Trump staged photo ops and offered empty promises and lies to a region struck twice in two years by deadly storms.

Ten years after the financial crash

Wall Street pay up 13 percent while workers’ wages stagnate

By Barry Grey, 19 September 2018

The average pay of Wall Street traders and brokers rose to $422,500.

California: Fire exposes conditions at Oakland homeless encampment

By Adam Mclean and Evan Blake, 15 September 2018

Homelessness is a chronic and widespread social problem in the United States, with California being the worst hit state, due primarily to extremely high real estate prices.

Fifteen prisoners die in a month in Mississippi

By Aaron Murch, 8 September 2018

The sharp spike in prisoner deaths in Mississippi underscores the brutality and inhumanity of the prison system, which now holds over two million poor and working class people throughout the US.

Life under capitalism for an American youth

Injured Texas Wal-Mart worker describes how and why she switched to socialism

By Eric London, 5 September 2018

Ashley represents a new wave of workers who are not content with their oppression and are drawing broader political conclusions.

As classes begin, Detroit schools shut off drinking water due to high levels of lead and copper

By Eula Holmes and Patrick Martin, 31 August 2018

The pollution of the water supply is particularly devastating for children, whose brains and bodies are especially at risk from toxins.

A tragedy born of inequality: Ten children die in Chicago house fire

By Kristina Betinis, 29 August 2018

The horrific fire in Chicago is a crime of capitalism, for which the ruling class and its political representatives are responsible.

As city officials seek to shift blame onto parents

Chicago house fire claims ninth victim

By Kristina Betinis, 28 August 2018

As the dilapidated condition of the property came to light, including a lengthy list of complaints from prior tenants, city and state officials sought to shift the blame onto the victims’ families.

Eight children killed in house fire on Chicago’s West Side

By Jessica Goldstein, 27 August 2018

According to the fire department, if working smoke detectors had been in place, the victims would have been woken by the alarms and could have all escaped to safety.

US service workers who rely on tips more susceptible to depression

By Alex Johnson, 25 August 2018

A recent study found that the uncertain nature of tips and irregular schedules contributes to higher rates of stress and depression among service workers.

Studies: US life expectancy drops as mortality rises among younger adults

By Kate Randall, 21 August 2018

While many other countries saw a rebound in life expectancy in 2016, the US and the UK saw declines for two consecutive years.

Horizon Air worker dead after stealing airplane, crashing near Tacoma, Washington

By Alec Andersen, 14 August 2018

Asked why he stole the plane, Russell told air traffic controllers, “Minimum wage, we'll chalk it up to that. Maybe that will grease some gears a little bit with the higher-ups.”

Tragic house fire takes three lives in Lincoln Park, Michigan

By Niles Niemuth, 14 August 2018

The victims of the fire that engulfed a house in the early morning hours Saturday include a woman two months pregnant, a family caretaker and a four-year-old boy.

Bankruptcy filings surge among older Americans

Dwindling income, medical bills, debt push seniors into financial ruin

By Kate Randall, 7 August 2018

A new study suggests that the surge in bankruptcies is being driven by a three-decade-long shift of financial risk from the government and employers to individuals.

Trump administration cuts in rent subsidies compound US housing crisis

By Kate Randall, 6 August 2018

With rents rising and construction of affordable apartments lagging, Trump is implementing a punitive policy that will exacerbate the already dire housing crisis.

Hepatitis A outbreak worsens in West Virginia, Kentucky

By Naomi Spencer, 4 August 2018

Over 1,900 people across West Virginia and Kentucky have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A in the past few months, and at least 10 people have died. Hepatitis C and HIV are likewise on the rise.

Bottom 40 percent of Americans have a negative net income

By Gabriel Black, 3 August 2018

A report by Reuters shows that nearly half of the US population does not earn enough money to cover expenses and is increasingly dependent on unsustainable levels of debt to survive.

Town hall fails to ease concerns over industrial toxins found in Parchment, Michigan drinking water

By Joseph Lorenz, 2 August 2018

In a tightly controlled meeting, local and state officials sought to dispel the anger of residents who learned last week that their water has dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals.

Trump plans a $100 billion tax bonus for the rich

By Niles Niemuth, 1 August 2018

The Trump administration is preparing to change the calculation of the capital gains tax so as to funnel billions more to the top 10 percent.

High levels of toxic chemicals found in drinking water of west Michigan community

By Carlos Delgado, 28 July 2018

City officials announced to residents of Parchment, Michigan Thursday that their water contained dangerously high levels of PFAS chemicals.

Claiming that the war on poverty has been won, Trump administration works to gut social programs

By Shelley Connor, 19 July 2018

The White House report doubles down on the one consistent theme of the Trump administration: that the poor are imagining their poverty, and that all they lack is self-sufficiency and the impetus to work.

Pharmaceutical distributors flooded Missouri with opioids

By Shelley Connor, 17 July 2018

A Senate report found that three pharmaceutical companies shipped a total of 1.6 billion doses of opioids into Missouri between 2012 and 2017.

Woman dies after New Jersey utility cuts off her electricity

By Mark Ferretti, 16 July 2018

The shutoff occurred as temperatures climbed above 90 degrees, despite the family’s payments and written notifications to the utility company of the woman’s medical condition.

Latest volley aimed at gutting health care for workers

Trump administration freezes “risk adjustment” payments to health insurers

By Kate Randall, 11 July 2018

Over the last year, the White House has issued executive orders and undertaken administrative actions to undercut the program popularly known as Obamacare.

National Grid cuts off healthcare for locked-out workers in Massachusetts

By Kate Randall, 10 July 2018

The company is continuing operations with management personnel and contractors, threatening public safety due to the dangerous nature of working with live gas lines.

Detroit water shutoffs to resume in midst of punishing heat wave

By Debra Watson, 7 July 2018

Detroit water shutoffs will resume this week, after a one-week pause, though extremely high temperatures and heat advisories in Detroit are expected to continue throughout the summer.

Report: Lower-income New Yorkers suffer the greatest mass transit hardships

By Alan Whyte, 5 July 2018

An independent study by two Federal Reserve Bank of New York economists concludes that the city’s lower income residents experience more transit interruptions and delays than those with higher incomes.

“This is a day to honor Coby”

Family of Jacoby Hennings to celebrate young autoworker’s life

By Jerry White, 5 July 2018

Family and friends are holding a memorial picnic on July 8 in the Detroit suburb of Eastpointe to honor the young Ford worker who died on October 20, 2017.

Two XPO Logistics workers killed near Buffalo, New York

By Steve Filips, 4 July 2018

Two warehouse workers unloading 800 pound slabs of Dupont countertop material were killed when the slabs toppled over onto them.

Attacker stabs nine people at apartment complex housing refugees in Boise, Idaho

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 2 July 2018

According to the Boise police department, the number of victims was the most in a single incident in the city’s history.

After years of neglect, New York City public housing headed for privatization

By Philip Guelpa, 26 June 2018

The abysmal conditions in which 400,000 tenants are forced to live are the result of decades of disinvestment.

Millions of Americans face poverty in retirement

By Kate Randall, 25 June 2018

More than four in 10 Americans have less than $10,000 in savings, while 14 percent have absolutely nothing saved for retirement.

US House approves massive reductions in food stamp benefits

By Dan Conway, 25 June 2018

The Farm Bill’s main aim is to slash food assistance to the more than 42 million people currently receiving aid.

Another New York City taxi driver commits suicide

By Clare Hurley, 21 June 2018

Abdul Saleh’s suicide is the sixth among the city’s livery drivers in the last six months.

The oligarchy rules: Amazon and corporations veto Seattle homelessness tax

By Will Morrow, 13 June 2018

It took just four weeks for the Democratic Party-controlled city council to completely capitulate to the campaign by Amazon and other corporations.

Memphis, Tennessee: A portrait of inequality and social crisis in the southern US

By Jimmy Smith and Naomi Spencer, 13 June 2018

The headquarters of global shipping giant FedEx, Memphis also holds the dubious distinction of being number one in the country in child poverty.

Mental health, substance abuse, life stresses and economic despair fuel crisis

US suicides increased by 25 percent from 1999 to 2016

By Kate Randall, 9 June 2018

The dramatic increase in suicides shows that, despite claims of the end of the Great Recession in mid-2009, increasing numbers of people are facing incredible personal and financial hardships.

Cincinnati, Ohio area fentanyl overdoses increase by one thousand percent over the last five years

By Matthew Taylor, 9 June 2018

The surge of fentanyl related deaths in Ohio’s third largest city exposes the depth of the social crisis which continues to rage across the United States.

Youth suicide rate up 56 percent from 2007 to 2016

Government report shows sharp rise in US teen deaths

By Kate Randall, 2 June 2018

The new statistics on deaths among US children and teens expose the social crisis confronting America’s youth in the form of gun violence, suicide, the opioid crisis, poverty and war.

Impoverishment pushes another New York City taxi driver to suicide

By Philip Guelpa, 1 June 2018

In the five months from the beginning of the year, five taxi or livery drivers have committed suicide due to dramatic income declines caused by competition from ride-share companies.

New effort to cover up impact of lead poisoning in Flint

By James Brewer, 30 May 2018

A resolution reportedly passed by doctors at Flint Hurley Medical Center puts forward the false narrative that no one was lead poisoned in Flint, but lead-exposed.

As CEO compensation soars to new heights

Fifty-one million US households cannot afford “survival budget”

By Kate Randall, 26 May 2018

Four in 10 US adults are a $400 expense away from financial ruin, and the typical employee would have to work 275 years to earn the average compensation of a top-200 CEO.

Destruction of Nashville, Tennessee public housing advances

By Keisha Gibbs, 22 May 2018

As older, smaller homes are torn down and replaced with homes triple in size and price, current residents of many Nashville neighborhoods are being priced out of the city.

Police engaged in 25-minute shootout with Texas high school gunman

By Kate Randall, 21 May 2018

According to the Galveston County sheriff, it is unclear whether some of the Santa Fe High School victims were in fact shot by police officers responding to the shooting.

Ten killed in mass shooting at Texas high school

By Trévon Austin, 19 May 2018

The horrific frequency of mass shootings in the US is indicative of a diseased society, combining extreme levels of social alienation with the endless promotion of militarism by the ruling class.

Louisiana: 20,000 nursing home residents face eviction as state legislature slashes Medicaid

By Matthew Taylor, 11 May 2018

Recent budget cuts passed by the Louisiana House of Representatives would force tens of thousands of elderly and disabled citizens onto the streets.

The case for expropriation

Amazon halts construction in Seattle to protest tax hike

By Eric London, 4 May 2018

Amazon’s market capitalization is $757.9 billion. Conditions of life for billions of people could be drastically improved by expropriating this wealth.

As CEO pay, corporate profits and corporate cash hit new highs

US housing secretary proposes tripling of rent for the poor

By Kate Randall, 30 April 2018

The Trump administration’s latest proposal would impose even greater suffering on families already beset by hunger, poor housing and lack of medical care.

Some unionized Alaska Air workers earn less than minimum wage

By our reporter, 25 April 2018

Workers who unload and load cargo planes start at a measly rate of only $11.74 per hour for work that is backbreaking and grueling and quite frequently done under adverse weather conditions.

US federal, state governments wage war on workers and the poor

By Kate Randall, 24 April 2018

While Trump and corporate boardrooms celebrate the “booming” economy and the rising stockpiles of cash for the super-rich, they are seeking ways to gut what remains of the social safety net.

No money for teacher pay or textbooks, but…

US CEO pay, bank profits, corporate cash set new records

By Barry Grey, 18 April 2018

A series of reports released over the past week reveal that corporate America and the financial oligarchy are wallowing in record levels of wealth.

Seven killed, 17 injured in South Carolina prison riot

By Kayla Costa, 17 April 2018

The worst US prison riot in a quarter-century reveals the brutal conditions of inmates, who often live for years without mental health treatment and quality social interaction.

More US states imposing Medicaid work requirements

By Kate Randall, 14 April 2018

Some states are considering expanding Medicaid while at the same time imposing work requirements, premium payments and drug testing of recipients.

Trump signs executive order attacking US social programs

By Matthew Taylor, 13 April 2018

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday requiring his cabinet to target for destruction any social programs that do not have work requirements.

Nor Any Drop to Drink previewed to Flint audience

By James Brewer, 13 April 2018

Central Michigan University sociology professor Cedrick Taylor presented his new documentary at the University of Michigan in Flint.

Nashville parents, teachers and students decry public school cuts

By Keisha Gibbs and Warren Duzak, 9 April 2018

Public schools in Nashville, Tennessee face cuts to free food programs and elimination of funding to schools with impoverished students.

Lawsuit accuses Washington, D.C. of destroying personal belongings of the homeless

By Harvey Simpkins, 9 April 2018

Plaintiffs allege that their tents, mattresses, food, clothing, electronics and identity documents were either lost or destroyed during numerous city-led clearings of their encampment in 2016 and 2017.

City of Detroit resuming brutal policy of mass water shutoffs

By Debra Watson, 5 April 2018

Amidst talk of Detroit making a “comeback” the city is preparing to once again carry out the mass disruption of water service to thousands of low income residents.

One dead, three injured in shooting at YouTube HQ in Northern California

By Norisa Diaz, 4 April 2018

While the motive for the shooting remains unclear, what is certain is that American society continues to produce mass shootings on an almost daily basis.

Homeless cleared from Anaheim, California encampment remain in limbo

By Adam Mclean, 31 March 2018

While the long-term future of the Anaheim homeless is still uncertain, the about-face by the county will strand them for the immediate term.

Another New York City taxi driver commits suicide due to financial ruin

By Sandy English, 26 March 2018

Nicanor Ochisor killed himself after a dramatic decline in his income due to the deregulation of Uber and other e-hailing services in the city.

Officials call for more police in schools after shooting in suburban Maryland

By Nick Barrickman, 22 March 2018

The most recent school shooting comes just days before Saturday’s scheduled “March for Our Lives” protests in Washington, DC and across the United States.

Homeless family of four found dead in van in Orange County, California

By Kimie Saito, 19 March 2018

The tragic incident further exposes the housing crisis in Orange County, California where police have recently been working to clear out hundreds of people from homeless encampments.

Death toll rises to six in Miami bridge collapse as new information emerges about contractors

By Matthew Taylor, 17 March 2018

As rescue operations continue, new information has emerged about the companies responsible for the Miami bridge collapse on Thursday

Trump administration approves punitive work requirements for Arkansas Medicaid program

By Shelley Connor, 12 March 2018

Arkansas’ new eligibility requirements, scheduled to begin on June 1, are some of the strictest since CMS began granting waivers this year.

Four dead following hostage situation at Northern California veterans home

By Alec Andersen, 10 March 2018

The hostages were employees of the nonprofit organization Pathway House, which provides services to veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

US emergency departments report significant increase in opioid overdoses among all age groups, including infants

By Shelley Connor, 8 March 2018

Recent studies demonstrate that emergency department visits for opioid overdose increased by 30 percent across the United States in 2017.

Parasitism and “tax reform”: Trump’s corporate tax cuts fuel stock buybacks, not investment

By Gabriel Black, 6 March 2018

Catalyst Capital predicts that 2018 will be the biggest stock buyback year on record, with corporations spending $1.2 trillion to push up their share values.

Trump proposes cuts to heating aid while US house fire deaths spike

By Steve Filips, 1 March 2018

This season’s severe winter and frigid temperatures is exacting a brutal toll in fire fatalities.

US Senate report details funding of patient advocacy groups by opioid manufacturers

By Brian Dixon, 27 February 2018

The manufacturers of five major opioid products donated nearly $9 million to 14 supposedly independent patient advocacy organizations between 2000 and 2017.

Los Angeles report on homelessness reveals widening funding gap

By Adam Mclean, 23 February 2018

Homelessness in LA is growing at a much higher rate than was previously thought, outstripping the already limited funding allocated to programs aimed at aiding the homeless.

The coal slurry disaster of 2000

The story behind the water crisis in Martin County, Kentucky

By Carlos Delgado, 19 February 2018

The water crisis in eastern Kentucky can be traced back to the bursting of a coal slurry dam owned by Massey Energy in 2000.

Funerals begin in Florida as details emerge of prior warnings about school shooter

By Patrick Martin, 17 February 2018

The FBI admitted that it had received two separate warnings about the Nikolas Cruz, the second, only six weeks ago, suggesting he was likely to target a school.

Trump budget proposes massive cuts in food stamps and other social programs

By Shelley Connor, 17 February 2018

The proposed cuts would mean starvation for large numbers of poor Americans.

Trump war budget calls for sweeping cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps

By Patrick Martin, 13 February 2018

The White House urged congressional Republicans to proceed with the military spending proposed in a bipartisan budget deal last week, but renege on promises to increase spending on domestic social programs.

Kentucky residents face water shutoffs as UK study exposes health dangers from leaking pipes

By Warren Duzak, 13 February 2018

After losing service due to collapsing infrastructure, Martin County residents now face shutoffs and a 50 percent rate hike for contaminated water.

Puerto Rico blackout exposes the precarious state of the island’s electrical grid

By Matthew Taylor, 13 February 2018

An explosion ripped through the Monacillo power plant outside of San Juan Sunday night, leaving 175,000 residents without power for several hours.

Studies connect Medicaid work requirements to poor health

By Shelley Connor, 12 February 2018

While the Trump administration heralds Medicaid work requirements as a path towards better health and prosperity for America’s poor, recent studies reveal the opposite.

US: Food insecurity may be twice as common as previously estimated

By Mark Ferretti, 10 February 2018

A clear class division separates those who can buy healthy food easily from those who cannot.

Falling US life expectancy: The product of a deliberate ruling class policy

By Kate Randall, 9 February 2018

The US is wracked by record social inequality, a catastrophic health crisis, and a government health policy aimed at deliberately lowering life expectancy while catering to corporate profit.

New York City limousine driver kills himself in protest over poverty wages

By Sandy English, 8 February 2018

Schifter’s suicide note blamed corporations and Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo and former Mayor Bloomberg for destroying his livelihood.

Notes from Puerto Rico

Thousands of workers in Puerto Rico continue to live without running water

By Antonio Castro, 8 February 2018

This is the second in a series of updates from a local Puerto Rican worker on the unfolding crisis on the island in the wake of Hurricane María.

San Diego mayor outlines impending crackdown on homeless

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 30 January 2018

Mayor Kevin Faulconer combined praise of the city’s meager response to the recent hepatitis A outbreak with a thinly veiled threat that homelessness would no longer be tolerated.