The Social Crisis in America

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.

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.

“This could be anyone tomorrow”

Anaheim, California: Homeless encampment residents speak on their conditions

By Adam Mclean, Kevin Martinez and Kimie Saito, 29 January 2018

Rather than offering assistance to those living on the riverbed, the city has started a “slow and methodical” drive to shut down the encampment.

Federal shutdown ends as Democrats cave in to Trump

By Patrick Martin, 23 January 2018

Hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients still face possible deportation in six weeks as the supposed “resistance” to Trump by Senate Democrats lasted less than three days.

Officials begin clearing out homeless encampment in Anaheim, California

By Kevin Martinez, 23 January 2018

The estimated 1,000 people living in tents along the Santa Ana riverbed will be cleared out by Orange County sheriffs. The vast majority have no place to go and authorities have no plans to house them.

“The water is milky white and smells like bleach”

Kentucky residents told it may take a decade to get clean, safe water

By Jerry White, 22 January 2018

Working class residents of the former coal mining area have had no water or only intermittent service for weeks.

US house fires kill 320 since Christmas, up 50 percent from last year

By Steve Filips and Matthew Richter, 20 January 2018

The total of fire deaths in the US due to intense winter weather has increased dramatically since Christmas.

As US government shutdown looms, Democrats push punitive immigration deal

By Barry Grey, 18 January 2018

The latest version of the bipartisan plan proposes even more billions to militarize the US-Mexico border, including funds earmarked for Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

Kentucky becomes first state to impose Medicaid work requirements

By Shelley Connor, 18 January 2018

Within five years, state officials estimate, the new initiative will result in 100,000 fewer Medicaid enrollments in Kentucky, saving the state $2.4 billion.

Twelve arrested outside San Diego for feeding the homeless

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 18 January 2018

On January 14, 12 members of the activist group “Break the Ban” were arrested in the city of El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego, California, for providing food to a homeless community.

Cost of hookworm treatment beyond reach of many Alabama residents

By Warren Duzak, 17 January 2018

Working class and poor residents in the southern US state face an outbreak of the hookworm parasite due to unsanitary conditions.

Cold-related deaths in Wisconsin expose abysmal social conditions

By Christopher Davion and Matthew Verhoven, 15 January 2018

Nine people died in Wisconsin due to exposure to freezing temperatures that began in the final week of 2017.

Rental costs rising beyond reach in Nashville

By Warren Duzak, 11 January 2018

Hedge funds and other big investors are transforming private homes into rental properties, driving housing costs beyond the reach of working class and lower-middle class families.

Deadly influenza outbreak spreads throughout US, most severe in California

By Dan Conway, 9 January 2018

Over the past few weeks, cases of influenza and influenza-related illnesses have skyrocketed, reaching near epidemic level proportions.

San Diego homelessness crisis remains after hepatitis A outbreak

By Emanuele Saccarelli, 9 January 2018

Official reports indicate that more than 9,000 homeless people live on the streets of San Diego, with over a thousand of them being concentrated in the downtown area.

Rising rents put low income US renters in severe jeopardy

By Debra Watson, 8 January 2018

Rent burdens have increased in the US over the past 15 years, putting workers at the lower end of the pay scale in severe housing jeopardy.

Over 20 dead in winter storm as US cold wave continues

By Kathleen Martin, 6 January 2018

While media reports are conflicting, the winter storm emerging from the ‘bomb cyclone’ on the eastern coast of the US has directly claimed at least 22 lives, with the number expected to rise over the weekend.

America’s poor and homeless freeze in winter storm

By Kate Randall, 5 January 2018

As in all weather-related disasters, society’s most vulnerable are the worst affected, with the poor and homeless bearing the brunt.

Deaths continue to mount amid freezing temperatures across much of the US

By Trévon Austin, 4 January 2018

The rising number of deaths from cold at the beginning of this year has exposed the severity of the affordable housing crisis in the United States.

Record low temperatures kill at least nine people in US

By Trévon Austin, 3 January 2018

The wave of cold weather has exposed the disastrous state of social conditions in the US, affecting the most vulnerable: the homeless, impoverished elderly and youth.

Second Bronx fire in less than a week injures 23

By Philip Guelpa, 3 January 2018

New York City officials have tried to obscure inadequate fire prevention measures by blaming the victims.

More low-income Michigan workers set to lose food assistance

By Debra Watson, 3 January 2018

Some 16,000 Michigan food stamp recipients could lose benefits this year due to the imposition of work requirements.

Deadly Bronx fire: A tragic product of inequality and social crisis in America

By Fred Mazelis and A. Woodson, 30 December 2017

In every sphere of life, New York remains what newly reelected Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio hypocritically promised to change four years ago: two worlds in one city.

Cold wave, house fires prove lethal for US homeless, poor

By Patrick Martin, 29 December 2017

The current bout of severe weather has created conditions for an upsurge in fatal house fires, accidents and deaths due to exposure.

No decline in Michigan poverty since the Great Recession

By Debra Watson, 28 December 2017

Despite a drastic fall in the official unemployment rate since the Great Recession, the same percentage of households in Michigan are living below the poverty line.

Health care threatened for nine million low-income US children

By Patrick Martin, 27 December 2017

The temporary “fix” to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, applied by Congress in legislation passed December 21, could actually speed the program’s collapse.

Nashville, Tennessee: Homelessness at record levels despite pledges from politicians and business leaders

By Warren Duzak, 23 December 2017

On an average night in January 2015 there were 2,365 homeless in Nashville, with 1,124 in emergency shelters, 560 in transitional housing and 470 living on the street.

US fire death toll in 2017 reaches 2,152

By Steve Filips, 23 December 2017

A heart wrenching increase in the deaths of children in fatal house fires highlights the substandard housing conditions and poverty widespread within the US.

Drug deaths drive down US life expectancy for second year

By Eric London, 22 December 2017

The fall in US life expectancy reflects the social devastation wrought on the lives of millions of people by decades of bipartisan policies aimed at enriching the wealthy.

Alabama announces freeze on children’s health program

By Shelley Connor, 21 December 2017

On Monday, Alabama became the first state to announce an enrollment freeze for its Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as plans to end the program altogether by February 1.

US Congress set for Wednesday passage of multi-trillion-dollar tax cut for the rich

By Barry Grey, 20 December 2017

Legislation that will transfer trillions of dollars from the working class to the richest 10 percent of the population will be made the law of the land within less than two months of its initial release and without a single congressional hearing.

Hepatitis A outbreaks hit Southeast Michigan and San Diego

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 December 2017

San Diego, with the fourth largest community of homeless in the US, has seen 567 cases of Hepatitis A, with 382 hospitalizations and 20 deaths.

Homeless man found dead in donation bin in San Diego, California

By Kevin Martinez, 19 December 2017

The bin where the man was discovered was located in a shopping center parking lot one block away from the San Diego Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter.

UN rapporteur “shocked” by deep poverty in US

By Eric London, 18 December 2017

A statement by UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston details the nightmarish conditions faced by tens of millions of impoverished Americans and condemns the US government for human rights abuses.

The United States of Inequality

By Andre Damon, 18 December 2017

As Congress rushes to pass a tax bill that will transfer trillions of dollars to the financial oligarchy, it is becoming impossible to overlook the all-pervasive scale of social inequality in the United States.

West Virginia governor orders National Guard to Huntington after drug-related killings

By Naomi Spencer, 16 December 2017

After three homicides in the span of as many hours Thursday night, the city at the heart of West Virginia’s heroin epidemic stands on the verge of military occupation.

After ten days, largest of Southern California wildfires continues to rage

By Dan Conway, 15 December 2017

As the massive wildfires that engulf Southern California continue, a fire that consumed portions of Los Angeles’ wealthiest neighborhood is being blamed on the city’s homeless.

UN special rapporteur on poverty visits LA’s Skid Row

By Adam Mclean, 15 December 2017

Alston spent his time in the impoverished LA neighborhood notorious for homelessness, drug abuse and police brutality.

Portland billionaire attacks city’s homeless

By Hector Cordon, 14 December 2017

An effort has begun to shift the city’s response toward the homeless crisis to a more open policy of criminalization.

UN rapporteur reports extreme poverty “unseen in the first world” in Alabama

By Shelley Connor, 13 December 2017

Residents of Alabama’s Black Belt region are suffering in social conditions most frequently encountered in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

US homeless total increases for the first time in seven years

By Trévon Austin, 8 December 2017

Nearly 115,000 children under 18 are homeless, including nearly 9,000 living on the streets.

The US Senate tax bill: The financial oligarchy on the rampage

By Patrick Martin, 2 December 2017

There is an element of desperation in the frenzy in Washington to engineer one more transfusion of financial resources from working people into the sclerotic veins of the Wall Street addicts.