The Social Crisis in America

Michigan attorney general asserts right to close dozens of Detroit schools

By Nancy Hanover, 1 October 2016

On Wednesday Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette ruled that dozens of “failing” public schools in Detroit could face closure at the end of the school year.

Research team hikes estimate: At least half of Flint, Michigan homes have lead pipes

By James Brewer, 1 October 2016

The unserious efforts being made in replacing lead service lines in Flint are further discredited by the revelation that even more homes have them.

Pittsburgh residents demand their water be tested for lead

By Samuel Davidson and James Brewer, 29 September 2016

Belated lead-in-water testing by Pittsburgh authorities showed dangerously high levels of lead in 43 percent of homes.

Puerto Rico hit by nationwide blackout

By Kevin Martinez, 24 September 2016

After a breakdown of a plant that had not been maintained for decades, authorities are trading blame for the failure to maintain the island’s outdated infrastructure.

Michigan governor secretly abolished Flint’s right to sue

By James Brewer, 22 September 2016

Six months ago, unbeknown to the public, a resolution from the governor’s office was passed, effectively preventing the city from suing the state over the water crisis.

Further considerations on the household income report: Poverty and inequality in America

By Patrick Martin, 15 September 2016

The Obama administration and the Democratic Party have seized on the latest Census Bureau report as support for their bogus claims of a genuine economic recovery.

Despite increase in 2015, US household income still lags behind pre-recession levels

By Kate Randall, 14 September 2016

Median household income is still 1.6 percent lower than the previous peak of $57,423 in 2007, before the economy sank into recession.

Hunger and the social catastrophe facing America’s youth

By Kate Randall, 13 September 2016

As two new reports document the shocking consequences of food insecurity, the social disaster in America is being ignored in the elections and the contest between Clinton and Trump.

Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

By Debra Watson, 13 September 2016

During the Great Depression of the 1930’s evictions in major American cities like Milwaukee were a fraction of what they are today. Meanwhile, in the US, post-2008 rental housing market rates continue to rise as working class incomes stagnate and even fall.

Zika virus spreads in Puerto Rico and Florida

By Julio Patron and David Brown, 12 September 2016

The spread of Zika in Puerto Rico and the mainland United States is driven by poverty and will impact the area for years to come.

Lead poisoning in Milwaukee provokes political crisis

By James Brewer, 10 September 2016

The mayor of Milwaukee has declared that all residents in older homes should use certified filters to remove lead from their drinking water.

Notes on the housing crisis

New York City surpasses London, Tokyo for highest rents

By Philip Guelpa, 10 September 2016

Extreme economic inequality in New York City is creating conditions that are unlivable for much of the city’s population.

ITT Tech shuts down after federal government withholds student funding

By Nick Barrickman, 8 September 2016

The closure of the for-profit school’s 130 US-based campuses came after an investigation questioned the institution’s organizational integrity, financial viability and academic standards.

Private security forces attack Native American protesters with dogs, pepper spray

By Janel Flechsig, 5 September 2016

Hundreds of members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have been peacefully protesting the construction of an oil pipeline that traverses burial grounds they regard as sacred.

SEP West Virginia candidate Naomi Spencer speaks on heroin epidemic

By Naomi Spencer, 5 September 2016

Overdoses, alcoholism and suicide are leading causes of death for young and middle-aged workers nationwide. Appalachia and the “rustbelt” of the Midwest are among the worst hit regions.

Hurricane Hermine causes massive flooding and power outages in Florida

By Matthew MacEgan and Kristina Betinis, 3 September 2016

Early Friday morning, a category 1 hurricane named Hermine made landfall in northwestern Florida, marking the first time in 11 years that the state has had such a storm.

Kafkaesque conditions facing homeless families in New York City

By Fred Mazelis, 1 September 2016

A major cause of the deepening homeless crisis is the lack of decent-paying jobs, combined with the even more dramatic decline of affordable housing.

Detroit professor advances “structural racism” theory of Flint water crisis

By James Brewer, 1 September 2016

A report submitted as evidence that the Flint water crisis was the result of racism is aimed at concealing the class issues and diverting popular outrage into establishment channels.

Millennium Tower: Boston’s latest playground for the filthy rich

By Mike Ingram, 31 August 2016

The Millennium Tower in Boston's downtown provides a playground in the sky for the wealthy, overlooking an increasingly polarized city.

EpiPen price gouging: Capitalism and the US health care crisis

By Kate Randall, 31 August 2016

The EpiPen scandal has become a focal point of anger over the subordination of health care to huge corporations driven by an insatiable quest for profit.

Indiana study finds high rate of opiate addiction in newborns

By Jessica Goldstein, 26 August 2016

The disturbing findings of the Indiana study point to the impact of the economic crisis on working people.

Mass water shutoffs continue in Detroit, Michigan

By Shannon Jones, 25 August 2016

Water shutoffs affecting 150 customers per day have proceeded without letup during the summer months.

As federal emergency funding ends:

Flint residents describe conditions of ongoing water crisis

By Carlos Delgado, 25 August 2016

Two residents recount their personal experiences in Flint and express their outrage at the system.

Obama offers pittance to flood victims in Louisiana

By David Brown, 24 August 2016

In perfunctory remarks in Louisiana, Obama told victims to look to private charities and volunteers.

“I don’t expect the government to do a damn thing”

Louisiana flood victims speak out

By Aaron Asa and Tom Hall, 24 August 2016

WSWS reporters traveled to Livingston Parish, Louisiana and spoke to flood victims who are stranded at an emergency shelter after historic floods destroyed more than 40,000 homes.

Twenty years since the Clintons gutted the federal welfare system

By Shelley Connor, 24 August 2016

The embrace of “ending welfare as we know it” marked a fundamental shift to the right in the Democratic Party and capitalist politics as a whole.

Majority of New York City residents cannot afford to buy their own homes

By Philip Guelpa, 23 August 2016

The rising price of homes coupled with stagnant or declining wages in the wealthiest city in the country means that only those with the highest incomes can afford to own their homes.

Twenty years since Clinton’s welfare “reform”

By Jerry White, 23 August 2016

The Clintons’ welfare bill marked the complete abandonment by the Democratic Party of the policy of liberal reform associated with Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s and Johnson’s War on Poverty in the mid-1960s.

Government indifference in the midst of historic Louisiana flooding

By Tom Hall, 20 August 2016

The federal government has promised only paltry sums to compensate flood victims, while Obama has delayed any visit until after his lavish vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

Huntington, West Virginia sees 26 heroin overdoses in four hours

By Naomi Spencer, 18 August 2016

Emergency responders revived 26 people Monday afternoon after an adulterated batch of heroin hit Huntington, West Virginia.

Motive unclear after arrest in killing of imam and assistant in New York

By Fred Mazelis, 18 August 2016

Muslims and others alarmed over growing scapegoating of immigrants see the murders as a threat to their own safety.

Affordable housing shortage in Detroit creates dire conditions for seniors

By a WSWS reporting team, 18 August 2016

WSWS reporters uncovered landlord neglect at a government-subsidized retirement building in Southwest Detroit.

The Louisiana flooding—a failure of American capitalism

By Patrick Martin, 17 August 2016

Eleven years after Hurricane Katrina, the social infrastructure and the US political system are no more prepared for a natural disaster.

Residents speak on the impact of education cuts in Boone County, West Virginia

By Clement Daly and Naomi Spencer, 17 August 2016

After twice rejecting directives from the West Virginia Board of Education to slash its budget, the Boone County school board voted to cut salaries for educators.

“If something doesn’t happen, Boone County will cease to exist”

Resident of West Virginia coal mining community speaks on economic crisis

By Naomi Spencer, 17 August 2016

A mother of public schoolchildren in Boone County, West Virginia spoke to the WSWS about the impact of budget cuts and the collapse of the coal industry in the region.

The social roots of unrest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

By Niles Niemuth, 16 August 2016

The growth of poverty and inequality, the eruption of social anger and the build-up of the police forces are interrelated components of the same class dynamic.

Gas explosion at Maryland apartment complex kills two, injures dozens

By Brad Dixon, 13 August 2016

Officials believe the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

US homeownership rate falls to lowest level in 51 years

By Gabriel Black, 3 August 2016

Declining household income and rising rent prices are preventing workers and young people from owning homes.

State of emergency declared in Maryland suburb after record-breaking flooding kills two

By Nick Barrickman, 3 August 2016

The storm is being called a “1-in-a-1,000-year rain event” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Democrats oversee record level of extreme poverty in Philadelphia

By Genevieve Leigh, 25 July 2016

The Democratic National Convention opens Monday in Philadelphia, a city where the Democrat's preside over extreme poverty, massive inequality and a dilapidated education system.

Virginia Supreme Court orders revocation of voting rights for 200,000 felons

By Shelley Connor, 25 July 2016

The ruling, which passed 4-3, struck down an executive order that would have reinstated the voting rights of Virginians who had completed sentences for felonies.

State officials work to obscure water crisis in Flint

By Carlos Delgado, 23 July 2016

The appointment of BP’s former spokesperson as Michigan’s new environmental director highlights the official cover-up in the Flint water crisis.

Notes on police violence in America

North Miami police shoot unarmed man as he lay on the ground

By Isaac Finn, 22 July 2016

Charles Kinsey, the caregiver to an autistic man, was shot as he attempted to calm his patient and explain the situation to officers.

California, sixth largest economy in the world, has highest poverty rate in US

By Marc Wells, 22 July 2016

Home to 131 billionaires, making it the third in the world for number of billionaires, California is also the US state with the highest poverty rate.

UnitedHealth cuts Obamacare options for tens of thousands

By Kate Randall, 20 July 2016

The largest US health insurer has indicated it is drastically scaling back its Affordable Health Care public exchange offerings despite a 13 percent rise in second-quarter profits.

Illinois health insurer announces liquidation as Obamacare co-ops collapse

By Kristina Betinis, 18 July 2016

Land of Lincoln Health insurance co-op is set to close after posting more than $1 billion in losses over the last year.

Housing crisis intensifies in Syracuse, New York

By Steve Filips, 13 July 2016

The housing situation for the working class in Syracuse belies the claims of economic recovery by the Obama administration.

Prison spending rises three times faster than education funding in US

By Nancy Hanover, 11 July 2016

Government policy—of both Democrats and Republicans—is to jettison the funding of public education while transferring vast sums to militarize the police and build prisons.

New York City takes major step in privatization of public housing

By Philip Guelpa, 11 July 2016

The de Blasio administration is moving forward with its NextGen program, which will lease open space within public housing complexes to private developers.

West Virginia flood highlights impact of budget cuts, decayed infrastructure

By Naomi Spencer, 5 July 2016

Federal and state agencies ignored warnings about inadequate flood protections, home-building standards and the impact of logging and mining.

Obama administration blames suicide hotline workers for veteran deaths

By Eric London, 4 July 2016

The architects of war are seeking to blame the working class for a veteran suicide crisis caused by the sadistic character of the wars themselves.

US insurers seek 10 percent Obamacare premium increase for 2017

By Kate Randall, 18 June 2016

Premiums under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are set to rise in 2017, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

Teachers’ union sanctions destruction of Detroit Public Schools district

By Nancy Hanover, 18 June 2016

The Michigan legislature uses debt crisis as the pretext to dissolve the district and rewrite the rules governing education in the nation’s largest poor city.

Worst-ever US mass shooting

Gunman massacres 50 in Orlando nightclub

By Bill Van Auken, 13 June 2016

The Democratic and Republican presumptive presidential candidates both issued statements making clear that the massacre will be exploited to promote war abroad and intensified state repression at home.

In the shadow of the Republican National Convention

Historic East Cleveland, Ohio: A city in decline faces bankruptcy

By Leah Jeresova, 13 June 2016

While millions are being spent for the Republican convention in Cleveland, nothing is being done to improve the lives of the devastated working class suburb of East Cleveland.

Wrongfully convicted Detroit teenager released after eight years in prison

By Tom Hall, 10 June 2016

Prosecutors refused to reopen Davontae Sanford’s case even after the real killer stepped forward only weeks after Sanford’s 2008 conviction.

New data exposes widespread lead poisoning of Michigan children

By James Brewer, 10 June 2016

Figures released Monday by state health authorities show that the lead poisoning in Flint is just the tip of the iceberg.

Mental health crisis mounts in Illinois amid budget impasse

By Jessica Goldstein, 7 June 2016

An 11-month budget impasse and funding cuts threaten basic mental health provision in Illinois.

Investigation reveals signs of nationwide US water crisis

By Genevieve Leigh, 6 June 2016

As many as 33 major US cities were found to have engaged in deceptive water testing procedures to hide high lead levels in drinking water, according to a Guardian investigation.

The dismantling of public education and Obama’s education legacy

Part 2

By Nancy Hanover, 6 June 2016

The past eight years have seen an unprecedented assault on the right to public education spearheaded by the Obama administration and the financial industry.

US economy adds fewest jobs in five years

By Evan Blake, 4 June 2016

The US economy added only 38,000 jobs in May, the fewest since 2010, in another indication of the persistent slump gripping the US economy.

Portrait of the social crisis in America: Rockford, Illinois

By George Gallanis and George Marlowe, 4 June 2016

After decades of robust industry and manufacturing, the city now faces rising unemployment, poverty and social misery.

The dismantling of public education and Obama's education legacy

Part 1

By Nancy Hanover, 3 June 2016

The past eight years have seen an unprecedented assault on the right to public education that has been spearheaded by the Obama administration and the financial industry.

US death rate rose in 2015

By Niles Niemuth, 2 June 2016

The mortality rate in the United States increased across the board last year, reflecting the impact of mass unemployment, austerity, stagnating wages and benefit cuts.

US media witch-hunts parents of boy nearly killed by gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo

By Eric London, 2 June 2016

Based on what is known about what took place the question must be raised: why has the coverage of the event been largely devoid of empathy for the child's parents?

Chicago's homeless speak on poverty, inequality and budget cuts

By Jeff Lusanne, 31 May 2016

WSWS reporters spoke to homeless people in Chicago about their living conditions and the budgetary cuts to critical social programs.

Financial parasitism and the global housing crisis

By Gabriel Black, 31 May 2016

Rent and housing costs in major cities have skyrocketed since the financial crisis, cutting into workers’ living standards and prompting concerns about a global housing bubble.

Record Illinois budget impasse deepens social crisis and increases homelessness

By George Marlowe, 31 May 2016

One year into a budget impasse, the state of Illinois is seeing a sharp reduction of social services and safety nets for the most vulnerable layers of the population

Young people in America: A lost generation stuck at home

By Niles Niemuth—SEP candidate for vice president, 26 May 2016

A Pew report released on the share of young people living with their parents sheds new light on the difficulties facing millions who are barely scraping by.

A pittance for Zika, $600 billion for the Pentagon

By Kate Randall, 20 May 2016

The priority of the ruling class and its political representatives is not the protection and wellbeing of the vast majority of Americans, but funding the gigantic US military apparatus.

America in the 21st century

Reports document growing income inequality, declining manufacturing pay

By Kate Randall, 14 May 2016

Middle-class household income has declined, while the gap between low- and upper-income households has grown along with income inequality across the US.

Obama in Flint: Let them drink lead

By Andre Damon, 6 May 2016

President Obama’s callous declaration that poisoned children in Flint, Michigan “will be fine” expresses the contempt felt by America’s financial oligarchy for the great mass of society.

Angry reaction to Obama’s speech in Flint

An interview with LeeAnne Walters

By our reporters, 6 May 2016

Walters, her husband, and another Flint resident, Keri Webber, angrily walked out of Obama's event Wednesday after he arrogantly declared, “The kids will be just fine.”

Detroit, Michigan resumes mass water shutoffs

By Nick Rodriguez, 3 May 2016

Detroit, which lies next to one of the largest bodies of fresh water on the planet, is resuming a policy that denies thousands access to one of the most basic requirements of life.

Poverty has become more concentrated under Obama

By Nancy Hanover, 2 May 2016

A new study reveals the dramatic increase in “high poverty” districts throughout the US in the wake of the 2008 crash.

Michigan residents protest contaminated water at community meeting

By Carlos Delgado, 26 April 2016

Residents from the Arbor Village Mobile Home Community described deplorable conditions and expressed frustration at officials’ lack of concern.

Life expectancy declines for white Americans

By Patrick Martin, 21 April 2016

New figures released by the Centers for Disease Control on declining life expectancy reflect the profound social crisis that is fueling the political convulsions in the US elections.

Research team confirms dangerous levels of lead still contaminate Flint water supply

By Carlos Delgado, 14 April 2016

While water quality has improved since switching from the Flint River to Detroit, for some households lead levels have actually increased significantly since 2015.

Class action lawsuit details destruction of Detroit Public Schools

By Nancy Hanover, 14 April 2016

Amid a continuing drive to dismantle Detroit Public Schools, a lawsuit charges that state officials have deprived students of a “minimally adequate” education.

Life expectancy gap between US rich and poor widens

By Jerry White, 12 April 2016

The social crisis reflected in this and other reports is the source of the immense anger and hatred for the political establishment revealed in the 2016 election campaign.

Photo essay: Contaminated water and hazardous conditions at Michigan mobile home park

By Carlos Delgado and Janel Flechsig, 11 April 2016

Despite intimidation from the community’s management, residents spoke with WSWS reporters at length about the brutal conditions of life inside the community.

Sanders’ primary victory and the social crisis in Wisconsin

By Niles Williamson, 6 April 2016

The result of Tuesday’s primary election in Wisconsin is yet another expression of the deep discontent and hostility of the working class to austerity and social inequality.

Family seeks answers after homeless man dies in New Hampshire jail

By Kate Randall, 5 April 2016

Pendleton’s death is a tragic consequence of the criminalization of the poor and homeless in America that is repeated in courtrooms and prisons across the US.

Democrats silent as one million lose food stamp benefits in the US

By Patrick Martin, 4 April 2016

None of the presidential candidates, including self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders, has made an issue of the food stamp cutoff.

Poverty among California seniors rising despite economic “recovery”

By Adam Mclean, 4 April 2016

The poverty rate among California seniors nearly doubled between 1999 and 2014.

Nearly 750 dead in US house fires in 2016

By Steve Filips, 31 March 2016

A leading cause of the tragedies is unsafe alternative heating and lighting methods resulting from utility suspensions.

Michigan Kids Count report shows drastic rise in child poverty over last decade

By Zac Corrigan, 28 March 2016

Eighty of Michigan’s 83 counties show an increase in child poverty, with the statewide rate increasing by 23 percent since 2006.

Legislative attack on Detroit Public Schools taking shape

By Nancy Hanover, 24 March 2016

With funding for Detroit schools in question, Judge Rhodes and Republican Governor Rick Snyder are backing legislation for an unprecedented reorganization of the impoverished city’s schools.

Hunger stalks US campuses

By Johanna Proust, 22 March 2016

Since the 2008 financial crisis, US colleges have opened food pantries due to increased tuition costs, reductions in grants and increased numbers of food-insecure students.

New York City affordable housing programs designed to benefit developers

By Philip Guelpa, 22 March 2016

A compromise over two affordable housing programs between Mayor de Blasio and the City Council will do nothing to ameliorate the city’s acute housing crisis.

Chief proponent of Flint water supply switch hosts public meeting

By James Brookfield, 21 March 2016

The CEO of the Karegondi Water Authority, Jeffery Wright, an individual centrally connected to the lead poisoning crisis in Flint, sought to place a rosy aura around his pet project.

As reports point to nationwide epidemic of lead contamination

Michigan governor, EPA head testify on Flint water crisis

By Andre Damon, 18 March 2016

The same day as Rick Snyder and Gina McCarthy testified before Congress, USA Today reported that up to one-fifth of America’s water systems may be contaminated with lead.

Washington DC forced to suspend all metro service due to electrical fires

By Nick Barrickman, 18 March 2016

In response to an electrical fire Monday, Metro officials suspended service on all lines Wednesday and Thursday morning for the second largest public transit system in the US.

Flint emergency manager, EPA continue to dodge responsibility for water crisis

By James Brewer, 17 March 2016

While federal, state and local officials tried to evade responsibility, Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards indicted the EPA for allowing the poisoning of Flint residents.

Hundreds of millions in cuts on the horizon in Louisiana

By Tom Hall, 15 March 2016

Education and health care, two areas of spending not protected from cuts by the state’s constitution, have faced years of budget-slashing.

Book Review

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

By Debra Watson, 15 March 2016

By 2011, 15 years after President Clinton’s 1996 welfare “reform,” the number of people in the US living in absolute poverty, defined as an income of less than $2.00 per day, had doubled.

New York City’s housing crisis deepens under “progressive” Mayor de Blasio

By Fred Mazelis, 12 March 2016

Nearly 10 percent of the city’s households now live in conditions defined as crowded, in apartments with more than one person per room.

Nearly one-third of US food stamp recipients rely on food pantries

By Kate Randall, 9 March 2016

A USDA study found that about 45 percent of SNAP clients limited food consumption, usually by skipping meals, to make it through the month.

Former Detroit mayor warns that city is “one incident” from a social explosion

By Jerry White, 3 March 2016

David Bing told an audience of corporate executives and politicians that “anger and frustration” in the city could lead to the eruption of civil unrest.

Poor evicted under nuisance laws by New York City police

By Steve Light, 1 March 2016

The NYPD is carrying out housing evictions without warning using a “nuisance” law, even when no crime was committed.