The Social Crisis in America
By Andre Damon, 21 January 2010
Nearly 100 tenants at the Casamira Apartments in Detroit have been without electricity since Thursday, after their landlord refused to repair the electrical system after a power failure.
By Tom Eley, 13 January 2010
The economic crisis has spread poverty to millions more US children, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institute.
Homelessness, utility shutoffs lead to house fires, freezing deaths
By Kate Randall, 7 January 2010
A cold snap in the US has been blamed for at least seven confirmed deaths, as homeless shelters struggle to keep up with demand.
By Jerry White, 7 January 2010
Some six million Americans—one in 50 people in the US—are living on no income other than $100 or $200 a month in food stamps, according to an analysis of state data by the New York Times.
By Tom Eley, 6 January 2010
New economic surveys released on Tuesday illustrate the economic distress confronting millions in the US and the fragility of its economic “recovery.”
By Tom Eley, 5 January 2010
The new decade finds the US working class suffering a level of social misery not seen since the Great Depression. Unemployment, poverty, hunger, utility cutoffs, homelessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies have become common experiences for millions.
By Barry Grey, 5 January 2010
An article published in the business section of the January 1 New York Times notes in passing that the three top Wall Street banks will pay out an estimated $49.5 billion in cash bonuses and stock awards.
By Alexander Fangmann, 23 December 2009
A survey shows that more than 8.2 million US households received utility assistance through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program for fiscal year 2009, about 2.1 million households more than fiscal year 2008.
By a reporting team, 23 December 2009
Several hundred high school students demonstrated Monday against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) decision to eliminate free bus and subway fares for nearly 600,000 students in New York City.
By Andre Damon, 22 December 2009
David Tepper, manager of the hedge fund Appaloosa Management, is set to pocket more than $2.5 billion this year after successfully gambling that the Obama administration would provide unlimited public funds to bail out the banks.
By Tom Eley, 15 December 2009
Obama's Monday meeting with top finance CEOs, presented as a means of promoting lending to small business, in fact aimed to placate popular anger over the Wall Street bailout.
By Peter Daniels, 15 December 2009
Speaking in New York City last week, Governor David Paterson went out of his way to praise Wall Street and celebrate the tens of billions of dollars in bonuses that the banks are preparing to hand out this month.
US Conference of Mayors report:
By Jerry White, 10 December 2009
Over the course of the past year, US urban areas have seen the largest increase in demand for food assistance since 1991 and a sharp increase in family homelessness, according to a report issued Tuesday by the US Conference of Mayors.
By Naomi Spencer and Kristina Betinis, 5 December 2009
A journalism class at Northwestern University has become the target of an intimidation and smear campaign by the Cook County state attorney’s office in Chicago after they uncovered compelling evidence suggesting the wrongful conviction of an Illinois prisoner.
Food stamp usage at record levels
By Patrick Martin, 30 November 2009
A report in Sunday’s New York Times, detailing the sharp rise in food stamp use, gives a much different picture of America at the end of 2009 than the complacent assurances of economic “recovery” voiced by Wall Street and the Obama administration.
By Tom Eley, 28 November 2009
Responses from local food charities to a survey by Feeding America show that hunger has increased rapidly across the US. They paint a devastating portrait of a nation in the throes of a social crisis without parallel since the Great Depression.
By Sandy English and Ali Ismail, 21 November 2009
The number of homeless housed by the city is 11 percent more than last year and is the highest number of people seeking shelter on record, even before cold weather has started.
Interviews with homeless families in New York City
By Sandy English and Ali Ismali, 21 November 2009
WSWS reporters went to an office run by New York City’s Department of Homeless Services in the Bronx.
By Barry Grey, 17 November 2009
A yearly survey on hunger released Monday by the United States Department of Agriculture reported that a record 49.1 million Americans in 17 million households lacked dependable access to adequate food in 2008.
By Tom Eley, 7 November 2009
While Americans wait in line for H1N1 shots and schools close due to outbreaks, major private firms—including Citigroup and Goldman Sachs—have secured for themselves a share of the scarce vaccine.
More Americans have to work past 65
By David Walsh, 4 November 2009
Workers in the US are increasingly giving up on the idea of retiring at 65, or even 67, while top CEOs are planning to quit their positions and live like royalty.
By Naomi Spencer, 28 October 2009
Five children died from abuse or neglect every day on average in the United States between 2001 and 2007, according to a new report. Over the period, 10,440 child deaths were linked to abuse or neglect.
By Naomi Spencer, 23 October 2009
As the economic crisis deepens, Atlanta, Georgia, emergency providers are straining to accommodate more than 7,000 homeless people, including many newly homeless families.
22 October 2009
A selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.
As unemployment and poverty rise
By Bill Van Auken, 21 October 2009
Under conditions of deepening social misery throughout the US, President Barack Obama came to New York Tuesday to raise millions of dollars in campaign cash from America’s financial elite.
By Andre Damon and Joe Kishore, 19 October 2009
Two reports in the media last week point to the interconnected phenomena of surging pay for bankers and record declines in the wages of the working class.
By Barry Grey, 15 October 2009
According to the Wall Street Journal, the major US banks and financial firms are on track to hand out a record $140 billion in compensation this year.
By Nancy Hanover, 14 October 2009
A section of business has turned the growth of poverty into a gold mine. Standing behind the big banks are several layers of an increasingly complex and parasitic finance industry. At the bottom are the collection agencies, the scavengers who relentlessly pursue individual workers.
By Jerry White, 9 October 2009
Wednesday’s lineup of tens of thousands of people seeking housing assistance in Detroit is one of those events that suddenly reveals the social reality in America that is ignored and concealed by the media and the political establishment.
By Jerry White, 8 October 2009
An estimated 50,000 residents of Detroit filed into Cobo Hall convention center on Wednesday seeking assistance to pay utility bills and keep from being evicted from their homes.
Detroit residents line up for housing assistance
By Andre Damon, 8 October 2009
Tens of thousands of people waited for hours Wednesday in Detroit to get applications for housing assistance. The turnout overwhelmed the event's planners, who thought no more than several thousand people would attend.
By Tom Eley, 3 October 2009
The 400 richest Americans have so far weathered the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression with a combined $1.27 trillion, according to Forbes magazine’s annual list.
By Kate Randall, 30 September 2009
The overall poverty rate in the US rose to 13.2 percent in 2008 as more workers lost their jobs across all sectors of the economy.
25 September 2009
Several thousand Detroit residents attended an event hosted by DTE Energy to provide assistance to customers with difficulties paying their utility bills.
By Shannon Jones, 25 September 2009
In a sign of the immense social crisis in the United States, thousands of Detroit residents lined up Wednesday seeking assistance with utility bills.
By Jerry White, 23 September 2009
The US Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey Data provides a picture of the social distress produced by the worst economic recession in decades.
By Shannon Jones, 11 September 2009
Data released by the US Census Bureau Thursday show a sharp rise in poverty in 2008 along with a fall in median income and an increase in the number of Americans without health insurance.
By Bill Van Auken, 19 August 2009
The social chasm separating America’s financial oligarchy from working people is wider than at any time since 1917, according to the latest statistics from the Internal Revenue Service.
By Barry Grey, 11 August 2009
An article in Sunday’s New York Times sheds a measure of light on the corrupt relationship between government officials and the banks which underlies the multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street.
By Ali Ismail, 10 August 2009
As the economic crisis continues to intensify, scores of US cities are enacting undemocratic laws that criminalize homelessness and trample on the rights of the growing number of homeless individuals and families.
By Tom Eley, 8 August 2009
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will start the congressional recess with a two-day long meeting, unfolding at two of her multi-million dollar California residences, for top donors to the Democratic Party
By Kate Randall, 7 August 2009
The Obama White House has acknowledged it made a deal with drug makers to block moves in Congress to obtain any cost savings beyond the $80 billion already agreed to by the pharmaceutical lobby.
By Patrick Martin, 1 August 2009
Nine Wall Street banks that were among the biggest recipients of the US government bailout paid nearly $33 billion in bonuses last year, including awards of $1 million or more to nearly 5,000 people.
By Kristina Betinis, 1 July 2009
As unemployment rises and the state of Illinois experiences yet another budget crisis, a growing number of working people are falling into poverty.
By Andre Damon, 25 June 2009
Executives at Goldman Sachs were told last week that they could expect to receive their highest-ever bonuses this year.
While workers’ wages fall
By Patrick Martin, 11 June 2009
The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it opposed any government-imposed limits on the salary and bonuses of the CEOs and other top officials of major banks that have received trillions of dollars in federal handouts and guarantees over the past eight months.
By Rosa Lexington, 23 May 2009
Unemployment in North Carolina remained at 10.8 percent in April, one of eight US states with double-digit jobless rates last month.
21 May 2009
Both Kettering High School students and parents were eager to speak to WSWS cameras in defense of their principal and their school.
By Naomi Spencer, 11 May 2009
More than 12 million children are threatened with the risk of inadequate food and hunger in the US, including 3.5 million children under five years of age.
By Barry Grey, 28 April 2009
The Obama administration is seeking to create conditions for the banks to make more money than ever and resume the semi-criminal policies that precipitated the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
By David Walsh, 4 April 2009
Executives in the health care industry led the way, with average compensation of $12.45 million, followed by technology CEOs at $8.83 million, those in consumer goods at $8.73 million, in oil and gas at $8.17 million and financial firm executives at $7.60 million.
By Patrick Martin, 19 March 2009
For the millions facing unemployment, foreclosure, poverty and homelessness there will be no bailout, and no million-dollar bonuses like those paid out to executives at AIG, with the consent of the Obama administration and Congress.
By Bill Van Auken, 11 March 2009
Elements of the Obama administration’s $3.55 trillion 2010 budget proposal are facing stiff opposition from leading congressional Democrats who are determined to defeat attempts to rescind tax cuts for the rich.
By Mike Bryan, 6 March 2009
For millions of Americans, the deepening recession has meant a dramatic drop in funds put aside for their retirement. Companies have stopped making matching 401(k) contributions, and many workers have been forced to tap into their already dwindling retirement funds.
“This is America—we don’t disparage wealth”
By Tom Eley, 5 February 2009
At a White House press conference on Wednesday, President Obama announced new measures that purport to limit executive pay. The central aim, however, is to prepare public opinion for a new and larger Wall Street bailout.
By Tom Eley, 30 January 2009
Amidst widening public outrage over the freezing death of 93-year-old Marvin Schur, municipal authorities in Bay City, Michigan have announced plans to temporarily suspend the utility shutoffs. Since Schur died, more frozen bodies have been found in Michigan.
29 January 2009
A selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to the death of a Michigan man who froze after his electricity was cut off.
By Tom Eley and Jerry White, 28 January 2009
The frozen body of 93-year-old Marvin E. Schur was found by neighbors at his home in Bay City, Michigan, several days after the municipal power company had restricted his access to electricity due to outstanding bills.
By Jeff Lassahn, 20 January 2009
The Labor Ready temp agency in Virginia offered $7.55 an hour for day laborers to work the inauguration festivities in Washington DC—picking up trash and horse manure in freezing cold weather for long hours.
By Kate Randall, 3 January 2009
Six people died in a New Year’s Day house fire in Washington DC. Authorities suspect “a catastrophic electrical failure” as the cause of the blaze.
By Kate Randall, 30 December 2008
Social service agencies across the US are seeing growing numbers of domestic violence and child abuse cases as the economic crisis deepens.
By Naomi Spencer, 29 December 2008
An intense house blaze has claimed seven lives in a working class neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
By Marge Holland, 29 December 2008
Local charities in the San Francisco Bay Area are seeing a sharp increase in those without shelter or food, as well as a change in the composition of the needy.
By Debra Watson, 11 December 2008
Thousands of children displaced from their homes by Hurricane Katrina are suffering serious illness or chronic conditions of ill health, according to a recent report by the Children’s Health Fund (CHF).
9 December 2008
The occupation of Republic Windows and Doors by 250 workers in Chicago, Illinois is an important step forward and one that deserves the full support of the working class throughout the country and internationally.
By Tom Eley, 6 December 2008
Conditions in Highland Park provide a microcosm of the rise and decline of heavy industry, and especially auto manufacturing, in the US. The city saw the deaths of three young children and their aunt on October 22 following the cutoff of utilities to their home.
By Barry Grey, 4 December 2008
New economic reports show that the severity of the US recession and the speed with which it is developing are greater than anticipated by economists and business forecasters. Data released Wednesday reveal a sharp rise in layoffs in virtually every sector of the economy.
By Tom Eley, 3 December 2008
The president-elect warned governors at the Philadelphia conference to be prepared to make sharp cuts in social spending in the months ahead.
By David Walsh, 27 November 2008
More than 30 million people in the US are now dependent on food stamps, a benefit available to the poor, according to figures soon to be released. The number of people using food stamps jumped 9.6 percent from August 2007 to August 2008.
17 November 2008
On Thursday, November 13, the World Socialist Web Site sent reporters to Cobo Center in downtown Detroit to interview young workers and social workers attending the Detroit Poverty Summit about the dire conditions that are rapidly worsening in that city and across Michigan.
Social workers at Detroit “poverty summit” describe impact of layoffs, foreclosures, utility shutoffs
By Tom Eley, 15 November 2008
A "poverty summit" at Detroit's Cobo Center attracted thousands of social workers and representatives of charities from throughout the state of Michigan.
By Ed Hightower, 12 November 2008
As the world financial crisis deepens, young workers and students in the US face increasing economic hardship and declining job prospects.
“More than an energy issue, a serious public health issue”
By Tom Eley, 6 November 2008
Utility companies are suspending heating and electrical service to customers at a far higher rate than in previous years, according to a recent Wall Street Journal story.
By the, 1 November 2008
WSWS reporter D'Artagnan Collier spoke to family members and a teacher of one of the victims of the fire in Highland Park, Michigan which killed four people on Wednesday, October 22.
30 October 2008
The following video is part of a series by the World Socialist Web Site reporters on the dire social conditions prevailing former auto production centers in Detroit.
By Daniel Douglass, D’Artagnan Collier and Tim Tower, 29 October 2008
Residents and firemen in Highland Park, Michigan have denounced the social conditions that led to the deaths of three children in a tragic house fire last week.
By Hiram Lee, 28 October 2008
Frozen River, set on the US-Canadian border in northern New York state, is a sincere effort and a compassionate portrayal of a working class family’s struggle to stay afloat.
By Patrick O’Connor, 27 October 2008
Mass layoffs in the United States have spread from the financial sector and automobiles to virtually every sector of the economy. But the response of the political establishment, including Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is to rule out any new programs to create jobs.
24 October 2008
The World Socialist Web Site sent a reporting team to Highland Park, Michigan, where a house fire killed four people in the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 22, 2008. Residents spoke to the WSWS about the terrible social conditions in the city.
By Tom Eley, 23 October 2008
Early Wednesday morning three children and their great aunt died in a house fire in Highland Park, Michigan. The likely cause of the fire was an electrical space heater the family was using for warmth after companies suspended gas service.
By A. Wood and Steve Light, 22 October 2008
Two hundred bakery workers, on strike at the Stella D’Oro plant in the Bronx, New York for more than two months, held a rally Saturday to oppose wage-cutting demands by the private equity firm, which took over the company in 2006.
By Debra Watson and Anne Moore, 21 October 2008
Dire conditions in a once prosperous East Side Detroit neighborhood underscore the impact the wave of home foreclosures is having on working people across the US.
21 October 2008
The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.
By a WSWS reporting team, 20 October 2008
Reporters for the World Socialist Web Site and SEP supporters spent Saturday morning at Eastern Market in Detroit speaking to residents about the economic crisis and the US presidential elections.
By Patrick O’Connor, 18 October 2008
A report issued Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that at least 28 other countries now have lower death rates for infants in the first year of life.
By Tom Eley, 16 October 2008
A report released Tuesday by the Working Poor Families Project reveals that more than 28 percent of American families with one or both parents employed are living in poverty.
By the Bill Van Auken, 14 October 2008
Two deadly fires that broke out in separate working class neighborhoods of New York City over the weekend claimed the lives of seven people, four of them children.
5 October 2008
While congress debated the $700 billion bailout of the Wall Street banks, the World Socialist Web Site spoke on the streets of New York to workers and young people who denounced the bailout of the banks and expressed a growing anger about the housing crisis, the loss of jobs and rising tuition for college.
28 September 2008
Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate Jerry White went with a team of supporters to speak with workers at a crowded farmers market in downtown Detroit on Saturday, September 27. Many spoke with the World Socialist Web Site and contributed to the campaign.
By Rafael Azul, 27 September 2008
Stagnating wages, increasing unemployment and rising food and fuel prices are driving a wave of foreclosures in California, forcing hundreds of thousands into destitution. The housing crisis has left many working class families homeless or forced to go to food banks to survive day to day.
By Barry Grey, 24 September 2008
There is nothing mysterious about the abject servility exhibited by the members of the Senate Banking Committee toward Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at Tuesday’s hearing.
As economic crisis deepens, rich get richer
By Tom Eley, 24 September 2008
Even as the US careens into its greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression, the financial aristocracy whose parasitism and criminality has brought on the crisis has held its own—and then some.
By Barry Grey, 23 September 2008
US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson opposed proposals from some Democrats as well as Republicans that the Bush administration’s plan for a massive taxpayer bailout of the most powerful banks and financial institutions include provisions limiting the pay of CEOs whose companies benefit from the government handout.
By Bill Van Auken and SEP vice presidential candidate, 19 September 2008
As hundreds of millions of people in the US and around the world confront the onset of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, with all of its implications for their jobs, livelihoods and the future of their children, the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate Barack Obama have seized upon Wall Street’s implosion as a means of reinvigorating their faltering campaign.
By Sandy English, 18 September 2008
Two new surveys issued by the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) highlight the increasingly bleak economic situation for New York State’s workers and professionals.
10 September 2008
The World Socialist Web Site interviewed Dwight Smith, director of Isaiah House, an emergency shelter in Santa Ana, California, about the rise in the number of homeless people, especially among the working poor.
By Peter Kloze, 9 September 2008
Hundreds of thousands of students in New York City’s public university system have returned to classes for the fall term to learn that the state legislature has approved drastic cuts in funding that pose a serious threat to their right to a decent education.
3 September 2008
On September 4, 2008, the World Socialist Web Site published, "High fuel prices impoverish New York City taxi drivers," a report featuring interviews on the difficulties facing cabbies working in the city. Taxi drivers in the US have been among those hit hardest by the steep rise of gasoline prices over the last year. Along with other workers and small business owners in the transportation industry around the world, taxi drivers are now facing a precipitous fall in their standard of living.
18 June 2008
The World Socialist Web Site interviewed workers and professionals in Detroit about the worsening social conditions as gas prices and food prices soar. Larry Porter speaks with Wayne Wells, the president of the Gleaners Food Bank, the largest food distribution organization in the city, about the sharp rise in the need for emergency food aid.
15 June 2008
For several weeks, the World Socialist Web Site has interviewed working people in Detroit about the worsening social conditions as gas prices and food prices skyrocket. In this segment, our reporters spoke with Ola Horne, 67.