The Social Crisis in America

Pew report shows decline in retirement security for most Americans

By Ed Hightower, 18 May 2013

The study predicted increasing wealth inequality for each of five successive age groups as they approach retirement.

Four children and two adults killed in Pennsylvania house fire

By Samuel Davidson and Tom Eley, 18 May 2013

Water service had been shut off two weeks before a tragic Mother’s Day house fire took the lives of four children and two adults in the small town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

Spending on medicine dips in 2012 as Americans cut back on health care

By Kate Randall, 13 May 2013

Spending on prescription medicines fell in 2012, as growing out-of pocket costs forced more people to go without needed doctor visits, medicines and other treatments.

US surpasses other industrialized countries in infant death rate

By Naomi Spencer, 9 May 2013

More than 11,000 American babies die on the day of birth, a number 50 percent higher than all other industrialized countries combined.

Seniors face eviction in Detroit gentrification plan

By a WSWS reporting team, 8 May 2013

Retired workers living in a rent-subsidized senior housing building in downtown Detroit are facing eviction.

Detroit residents speak out against mass evictions

By a campaign team, 1 May 2013

Residents of the Henry Street apartments, located in Detroit’s Cass Corridor, held a tenants meeting on Sunday to fight the eviction from their homes on May 20.

Con Ed lavishes bonuses on top executives

By Philip Guelpa, 1 May 2013

Consolidated Edison is giving its top executives bonuses for “exemplary” work in 2012, a year marked by a month-long lockout of 8,000 workers and a collapse of electrical power during Superstorm Sandy.

Study finds nearly half of New Yorkers living in or near poverty

By Philip Guelpa, 30 April 2013

A new report by the New York City Commission on Economic Opportunity finds that over 20 percent of the residents in America’s most populous city live in poverty.

Eight children dead in fires in the US south

By Nick Barrickman, Rosa Shahnazarian and Matthew MacEgan, 29 April 2013

Two devastating house fires claimed the lives of nine people in Georgia and South Carolina last week.

New report finds increase in social inequality during US “recovery”

By Ed Hightower, 25 April 2013

A Pew report found that the poorest 93 percent of US households saw a four percent decline in net worth between 2009 and 2011, while the wealthiest seven percent saw a 28 percent increase.

Child poverty in US among the highest in developed world

By Nick Barrickman, 18 April 2013

A new report by the United Nations details the growing levels of poverty facing children in the major capitalist countries, with the US ranking near the bottom on all metrics.

North Carolina bill requires background checks for public assistance

By Matthew MacEgan, 15 April 2013

The North Carolina House has approved a bill requiring background checks for those seeking welfare assistance or food stamps.

Low-income students six times more likely to drop out of high school

By Khara Sikhan, 10 April 2013

Rising numbers of US teenagers feel compelled to join the workforce to supplement strained household budgets.

Steubenville, Ohio: Portrait of a rust belt city

By Phyllis Scherrer and Samuel Davidson, 8 April 2013

Steubenville recently gained notoriety because of a tragedy last August which resulted in the conviction of two teenage boys for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

Augusta, Georgia: Police hold back crowd in near-food riot

By Eric London, 1 April 2013

The crowd of 300 watched in anger as the large pile of fresh groceries was thrown into dumpsters and carted away to rot in a nearby landfill.

Stock markets and food stamps at record highs

The two sides of the US economic “recovery”

By Kate Randall, 30 March 2013

The growth of social inequality since the 2008 financial crash is the product of definite policies pursued first under Bush and then under the Obama administration.

US food stamp use swells to a record 47.8 million

By Kate Randall, 29 March 2013

Enrollment in the food assistance program has increased by 70 percent since 2008, driven by a stagnating job market and rising poverty levels.

Increasing number of US seniors living in poverty

By Niles Williamson, 26 March 2013

Many elderly Americans are being forced out of retirement or are working well into their retirement years to cover their debts, living expenses, and health care needs.

US corporate executives cash in

By Andre Damon, 22 March 2013

As the US government prepares to furlough one million federal workers and slash tens of billions in social spending, corporate executives in the United States are taking some of the highest payouts in history.

The collapse of Detroit: An indictment of American capitalism

By Jerry White, 7 March 2013

Wall Street’s financial elite celebrated a new record Dow Jones Industrial Average this week, even as the city of Detroit plunged towards bankruptcy.

New York City homeless population reaches Great Depression levels

By Fred Mazelis, 7 March 2013

The Coalition for the Homeless reports an average nightly total of more than 50,000 in New York’s shelters, a record “since modern homelessness emerged three decades ago.”

Sequester cuts boost corporate assault on American workers

By Kate Randall, 5 March 2013

The media presentation of the sequester as a symptom of “gridlock” and bitter policy differences between the Democrats and Republicans is a cynical fraud.

Washington, DC shelter residents speak on living conditions

By our correspondents, 4 March 2013

The hearing held to address conditions facing DC homeless people was an attempt at damage control.

New York to use public housing and school property for luxury high-rises

By Sandy English, 1 March 2013

The move is aimed at beginning the privatization of public housing stock in New York City

New York City homelessness continues to set new records

By Fred Mazelis, 26 February 2013

Mayor Michael Bloomberg dismissed complaints that the city had turned away homeless families from municipal shelters.

Inequality and American democracy

By Joseph Kishore, 16 February 2013

The latest figures on inequality in the US expose the vast transfer of wealth that has occurred during the first years of the “economic recovery.”

600 children living in Washington, DC homeless shelter

By Naomi Spencer, 14 February 2013

A single homeless shelter in the nation’s capital is crowded with nearly 1,000 residents.

Another Detroit child dies in house fire

By Lawrence Porter, 30 January 2013

Early Tuesday morning, a six-year-old child died in a house fire on Detroit’s southwest side. His brother, 4, was hospitalized in critical condition.

Detroit house fire kills nine-month-old child

By Bryan Dyne and Lawrence Porter, 28 January 2013

The Wayne County Medical Examiner issued a report stating that the child, Akira Perkins-Williams, succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Ranks of US working poor grow dramatically

By Kate Randall, 18 January 2013

More than 47 million people in the US live in families where their jobs do not pay enough to lift them out of poverty.

Growing share of US workers forced to tap retirement accounts

By Kate Randall, 16 January 2013

Workers are depleting their 401(k) retirement plans to pay their mortgages, medical bills, college tuition and credit card debt.

California prison overcrowding set to worsen as governor raises state cap

By Julien Kiemle, 16 January 2013

The barbaric conditions that characterize California's prison system will only worsen as Democratic Governor Jerry Brown announces his plan to raise the cap on the state's prison population.

Columbia geophysicist Klaus Jacob on Hurricane Sandy

“Disasters always amplify pre-existing inequities”

By Daniel de Vries, 14 January 2013

The WSWS spoke with Columbia research scientist Klaus Jacob about the lessons of his research into climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Thousands line up for aid

Police shut down housing voucher distribution in Detroit suburb

By Shannon Jones, 14 January 2013

Thousands seeking housing assistance overwhelmed the human services center in the Detroit suburb of Taylor early Saturday morning.

Billionaires gain as living standards fall

By Patrick Martin, 11 January 2013

The world’s 100 richest people increased their wealth by $241 billion in 2012.

Tens of thousands of distressed Michigan families losing welfare benefits

By Debra Watson, 9 January 2013

Thousands more Michigan families who are unemployed or underemployed will abruptly lose welfare under a new law.

California jobs report underscores deepening inequality

By Karl Eisner, 8 January 2013

The most populous state in the US, with the largest number of billionaires, is plagued by joblessness and poverty.

Homelessness soars among US Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans

By Shannon Jones, 31 December 2012

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 62,619 veterans are homeless on a given night.

Fear of food scarcity hits US capital, outlying suburbs

By Nick Barrickman, 31 December 2012

In the areas surrounding Washington DC, students qualifying for free or subsidized meals face a difficult period ahead.

Report details massive growth of social inequality across US

By Nick Barrickman, 24 December 2012

Since 1989, inequality has grown in 49 of 50 US states, and 28 states have seen inequality increase simultaneously by measurements of education, income and poverty.

Uninsured in Detroit speak on health care crisis

“It is like they are trying to find a way to kill us off”

By a WSWS reporting team, 14 December 2012

A WSWS reporting team recently spoke to medically uninsured Detroit residents participating in a free health screening.

Michigan woman killed in blaze near closed fire station

By David Brown and Andre Damon, 7 December 2012

A 73-year old Alabama woman visiting relatives in Taylor, Michigan burned to death in a mobile home Thursday morning in a fire rescuers believe could have been ignited by a space heater.

New study details growth of income inequality across US

By Clement Daly, 4 December 2012

Income gaps between the richest and poorest US households have widened significantly since the late 1970s and continue to grow at a dizzying pace.

US birth rate falls to lowest since 1920

By Kate Randall, 3 December 2012

Among wide layers of the US population, increasing numbers are putting off parenthood due to poverty, job loss and other economic stresses.

Nearly 50 million living in poverty in US

By Kate Randall, 16 November 2012

The news that nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty received little attention in the media or from the Obama administration a little more than a week after the 2012 elections.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy: Aid for Coney Island too little and too late

By Sandy English, 3 November 2012

New York City’s Coney Island was badly hit by Hurricane Sandy on Monday night and has received minimal aid from government agencies.

New York City public housing without lights, heat or water after storm

By a WSWS reporting team, 1 November 2012

Three days after Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, thousands of residents of public housing remain without electricity, heat or running water and, in many cases, are living in flood-like conditions, particularly in lower Manhattan.

New York City housing crisis reflects record inequality

By Fred Mazelis, 23 October 2012

The city’s homeless shelter population hits new records every month, while the billionaire mayor reports a net worth of $25 billion.

Poverty rises sharply in Illinois

By Marcus Day, 16 October 2012

New data released by the Census Bureau reveals that greater numbers of Illinois workers and unemployed are falling into poverty.

Family protests after officials call off search for trapped worker in Florida garage collapse

By Eric London, 15 October 2012

Just 13 hours after three workers were killed and ten others were injured in a garage collapse in Miami, Florida, officials called off a search for the missing.

Detroit man killed in attempted copper theft

By Naomi Spencer, 13 October 2012

The electrocution of a Detroit man during an attempted copper theft gives an indication of the desperate social conditions in the city.

Federal home heating cuts spell hardship for US families this winter

By Shannon Jones, 12 October 2012

The return of seasonably cold weather this winter means higher home heating costs at a time when assistance programs are being cut.

Wall Street vs. workers—the class gap widens

By Jerry White and SEP candidate for president, 11 October 2012

Wall Street pay and profits have hit record levels since the 2008 crash.

Poverty grows in Washington DC suburbs

By Nick Barrickman, 27 September 2012

The Washington DC area, including 7 of the 10 wealthiest counties in the United States, has witnessed a growth of poverty in the wake of the 2008 financial disaster.

Romney’s “47 percent” video and the bipartisan assault on social reform

By Barry Grey, 25 September 2012

In all of their criticisms, the Democrats have carefully avoided the basic issue: Romney’s flat-out assertion that people do not have the right to food, health care and a roof over their heads.

Net worth of richest Americans soars by 13 percent in 2012

By Shannon Jones, 21 September 2012

According to a survey just published by Forbes magazine, the net wealth of the richest Americans rose by 13 percent in 2012 at the same time that median wealth for households is plummeting

More than 50 million face hunger in the US

By Kate Randall, 7 September 2012

A USDA study shows that one in six people in the US lives in a household that is at risk for hunger.

New York’s Woolworth building to be turned into luxury apartments

By Philip Guelpa, 31 August 2012

The $150 million deal to create new apartments in one of New York’s first skyscrapers is an index of inequality, which continues to widen in the midst of the growing economic crisis.

US “Fifty Wealthiest Lawmakers” list: A Congress of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich

By Eric London, 27 August 2012

Last week’s report by Washington D.C. political blog The Hill details the vast wealth of House and Senate members.

Legal Aid forced to lay off 750 workers in US

By Alan Gilman, 27 August 2012

Eight percent of the lawyers and support staff will be laid off from the federal legal services nonprofit due to congressional budget cuts.

Survey shows continuing hunger across US as Congress prepares to cut food stamps

By Peter Daniels, 25 August 2012

A Gallup poll shows many parts of the country with more than 20 percent of families facing hunger, while drought conditions push food costs further beyond the reach of millions.

The Queen of Versailles: American “royalty” seeks to build its own palace

By Fred Mazelis, 11 August 2012

A new documentary tells the tale of a Florida billionaire and lifts the lid on a portion of American social reality.

GE executive to be paid $89,000 a month for not working

By David Walsh, 7 August 2012

In return for agreeing not to go to work for any of GE’s rivals for three years, company executive John Krenicki will be paid a “retirement allowance” of $89,000 a month for ten years, or some $10.7 million.

Child poverty in US capital increases sharply

By Nikolai Barrickman, 3 August 2012

D.C. Kids Count reports that as of 2010, nearly 31,000, or 1 in 3 children in the District of Columbia lives in poverty.

$129 million pay package for new Yahoo CEO

By Barry Grey, 24 July 2012

The obscene compensation package for Marissa Mayer—at a time when manufacturing workers are being told their new wage benchmark is $13 an hour or less—is but one more expression of the decay of capitalism and the decadence of the new aristocracy that presides over it.

Massive growth of executive pay in US capital

By Nikolai Barrickman, 12 July 2012

A recent report by the Washington Post shows the massive growth of executive pay in the US capital as part of their attempts to skirt regulatory measures.

Billionaires bid for “trophy homes” in New York while homelessness rises

By Fred Mazelis, 29 June 2012

The greed and arrogance of the super-rich knows no limits, as shown by the continuing rise in luxury home prices in New York City, in the midst of deepening crisis.

The new aristocracy

By Andre Damon, 28 June 2012

As governments throughout the world close schools, lay off workers and slash support to the poor, old and sick, the financial oligarchy that rules the world increases its wealth and power.

Billionaire Oracle CEO buys Hawaiian island

By James Brewer, 22 June 2012

Larry Ellison, America’s third richest man, is closing the deal on the purchase of the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands.

Young people in US face bleak job prospects

By David Brown, 9 June 2012

The continuing jobs crisis in the US presents youth with few options for making a living.

AIG chief executive complains: Workers are living too long

By David Brown, 6 June 2012

The CEO of one of the biggest US insurance companies has called for raising the retirement age as much as 80.

US CEO pay continues to climb

By David Brown, 28 May 2012

Two recent studies on executive compensation show a marked increase in the pay of America’s top business figures.

More US states pursuing drug testing for welfare recipients

By Naomi Spencer, 18 May 2012

Oklahoma and Tennessee join a growing list of states that will require drug testing of welfare applicants.

Survey finds 23 percent rise in street homelessness in New York City

By Ali Ismail, 16 May 2012

The number of homeless people living on the streets of New York City increased by 23 percent in one year according to an annual survey conducted by the city’s Department of Homeless Services.

Water contamination in Maywood, California

By Marc Wells, 14 May 2012

Maywood, California in Los Angeles County is one of many US cities suffering from a lack of access to one of the most basic requirements of modern society: clean drinking water.

Hunger Stalks America—Part 3

Metropolitan Detroit’s staggering need for food

By Lawrence Porter, 4 May 2012

The WSWS spoke with an administrator from the Gleaners Food Bank of Southeast Michigan at the Feeding America, Unity 2012 conference last month.

Hunger Stalks America—Part 2

Arizona, Arkansas and Texas: “What is the face of hunger?”

By Lawrence Porter, 3 May 2012

Delegates from South Central and Southwest US spoke to the WSWS at the Feeding America, Unity 2012 conference in Detroit last month.

Hunger stalks America—Part 1

Unity 2012: The Feeding America Network Summit

By Lawrence Porter, 2 May 2012

Feeding America, the leading hunger-relief charity in the US, sponsored the Unity 2012 conference in downtown Detroit last month.

Spate of fires kills eight in Philadelphia

By Naomi Spencer, 18 April 2012

Three fires in less than a week have claimed eight lives in Philadelphia. Behind the tragedies looms a spiraling social crisis in the United States.

Michigan Sierra Club: 200,000 DTE Energy shutoffs in 2011

By Lawrence Porter and Shannon Jones, 16 April 2012

The Michigan Sierra Club reports that DTE Energy shut off nearly 200,000 customers in 2011.

The case of Amber Alvarez: An indictment of conditions in the working class

By Christopher Davion, 13 April 2012

Amber Alvarez, a US armed forces veteran and mother of three, has been locked up in jail since last summer due to inadequate legal services.

The Obama recovery: Rhetoric and reality

By Andre Damon and Barry Grey, 12 April 2012

Having devoted his entire tenure to protecting and expanding the wealth of the financial elite at the expense of the working population, Obama is now presenting himself as the partisan of the common man and opponent of greed and privilege.

Wall Street speculators continue to rake in billions

By Andre Damon, 6 March 2012

Three and a half years after the eruption of the financial crisis, the Wall Street speculators responsible for the crash continue to rake in billions of dollars while benefiting from ongoing government bailouts and a de facto amnesty for their crimes.

Extreme poverty in US has more than doubled since 1996

By David Walsh, 25 February 2012

According to the National Poverty Center, the number of households in the US living in extreme poverty—on less than $2 a day per person—has increased by 130 percent since 1996.

Telephone industry pushes to end landline service in Kentucky

By Naomi Spencer, 21 February 2012

Telephone companies in Kentucky are pressing the state to allow for the discontinuation of basic landline service in “less profitable” areas.

California hunger striker dies as prison conditions deteriorate

By Jack Hood, 21 February 2012

Christian Alexander Gomez, a 27 year-old inmate, died last week at the Corcoran State Prison in California after four days on a hunger strike to protest poor conditions.

Tent camp reveals social inequality in Ann Arbor, Michigan

By Mitch Marcus and Janel Flechsig, 20 February 2012

Last week, a WSWS team visited Camp Take Notice, a homeless encampment in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to speak with residents and document conditions. The tent camp is home to about 35 people.

Chicago’s Hull House closes after 120 years of service

By Shane Feratu and Scott Martin, 8 February 2012

The Jane Addams Hull House Association, one of the largest non-profit social service organizations in Chicago, abruptly shut down on Friday, January 27, after 120 years.

Third police killing in one week in New York City

By Peter Daniels, 6 February 2012

New York City police kill an unarmed teenager in his Bronx home, the latest example of targeting of working-class youth.

Study reports that New Yorkers struggle to put food on the table

By Ali Ismail, 4 February 2012

Four years after the onset of the economic crisis, long-term unemployment is fueling hunger in the financial capital of the US.

US CEO pay reaches new heights

By David Walsh, 28 January 2012

One report notes that 2011 was “the year of the $50 million-plus CEO” in the US. Another study points to executives who have received “golden parachutes” worth more than $100 million. CEOs of bankrupt firms do all right too.

Republican presidential candidate Romney reports income of $21 million a year

By Patrick Martin, 25 January 2012

The Republican presidential candidate collected as much in a single day as the average American family makes in a full year.

New studies show growth of poverty, class tensions in US

By Kate Randall, 14 January 2012

Two new studies document the growth of poverty in America and a heightened awareness of the social tensions arising from the conflict between the rich and poor.

Detroit-area CEOs rake in millions while city prepares further cuts

By Shannon Jones, 11 January 2012

The fat paychecks of top CEOs in the Detroit area stand in obscene contrast to the desperate state of the city’s finances and much of its population.

US unions aid in corporate wage-cutting campaign

By Joseph Kishore, 31 December 2011

A New York Times article leading the newspaper’s business section on Friday praises the role of the trade unions in promoting an unprecedented decline in manufacturing wages in the US.

Christmas of crisis in America

By Patrick Martin, 23 December 2011

Poverty, unemployment and inequality are the dominant features of American society at the end of 2011

The lamentations of the rich

By Alex Lantier and David North, 22 December 2011

Recent months have seen the eruption of popular anger throughout the United States at the staggering levels of social inequality, with the Occupy Wall Street protests gathering broad popular sympathy and support.

US hunger, homelessness soar amid cuts in social spending

Half of Americans either poor or low-income

By Andre Damon, 16 December 2011

Amid continuous attacks on social services in the United States, hunger and homelessness are growing at epidemic rates.

“A Third World in our own backyard”

US child homelessness soars

By Barry Grey, 15 December 2011

More than 1.6 million children in the United States, or one in 45, are homeless, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Center on Family Homelessness.

Childhood poverty and hunger deepen in Oregon

By Hector Cordon, 5 December 2011

Two recent Census Bureau reports highlight the growing distress facing working class and poor children in Oregon.