The Social Crisis in America

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.

More mass shootings in the US

By Niles Williamson, 27 February 2016

Mass shootings have occurred in Kansas, Arizona and Washington state since six people were killed last week in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

US social crisis overshadows 2016 presidential election

By Patrick Martin, 26 February 2016

The American media gives round-the-clock coverage to the minutiae of capitalist politics, but very little attention is paid to the catastrophe facing the working class.

Once again on Sanders and socialism

By Barry Grey, 20 February 2016

Outside of a mass struggle that directly challenges the bases of capitalist rule—private ownership of the corporations and banks and the system of wage slavery—no genuinely progressive changes can be achieved.

Despite lead poisoning, Flint water rates highest in US

By James Brewer, 18 February 2016

A report by a national water advocacy group surveys comparative rates in the country’s largest water systems.

Inequality, class and life expectancy in America

By Barry Grey, 15 February 2016

The widening disparity in life expectancy between the poor and the rich is a stark commentary on the growth of social inequality and class polarization in the United States.

Flint inmates forced to use contaminated water

By Sheila Brehm, 12 February 2016

Former inmate and Flint resident Jody Cramer brought the situation to public attention when he spoke out on a national radio program.

White House pushes ahead with plan to slash pensions for up to one million retirees

By Andre Damon, 9 February 2016

Retired truck drivers and delivery workers said in a hearing in Detroit Monday that they had been notified their pension benefits would be reduced by between 50 and 70 percent.

“This is a dog and pony show”

Retirees speak on Teamster pension cuts

By a WSWS reporting team, 9 February 2016

Retirees denounced both political parties along with the Teamsters union for the devastating pension cuts being demanded by the Central States Pension Fund.

Detroit and Chicago teachers fight to defend public education

By Jerry White, 8 February 2016

The struggle to defend the right to education poses political questions that are critical for the entire working class.

Recession risk on the rise

By Nick Beams, 6 February 2016

Falling yields in US and global bond markets point to a rising risk of recession as the IMF warns that commodity-exporting countries are coming under “severe stress.”

Report: Low-income households are low priority in US budget

By Brad Dixon, 6 February 2016

The increased funding for social programs benefiting low or moderate income households in the 2016 budget is substantially smaller than other areas of non-defense spending.

Hundreds attend University of Michigan talk on Flint water crisis

By Carlos Delgado, 6 February 2016

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha spoke about her work and the devastating impact of lead poisoning on Flint residents.

US Environmental Protection Agency administrator appears in Flint, Michigan to “rebuild trust” over water crisis

By James Brewer, 3 February 2016

The one-day visit was a politically orchestrated effort at damage control engineered from the highest levels of government.

More than 1 million in US face food stamps cutoff

By Kate Randall, 2 February 2016

The SNAP cutoffs loom as hunger and food insecurity continue to rise and more than a quarter of the unemployed have been jobless for more than six months.

Report reveals ongoing social crisis for Chicago’s youth and young adults

By George Gallanis, 1 February 2016

In the past decade, Chicago’s youth and young adults have seen a steady increase in unemployment, and with it social misery.

San Diego officials to fight ruling against pension cutback

By Kevin Martinez, 30 January 2016

A state labor board ruled against cutbacks to pensions last December, prompting the City Council to vote unanimously for an appeal.

Questions emerge over motives behind ending Flint’s ties to Detroit water system

By James Brewer and Jerry White, 29 January 2016

The official narrative, that Flint officials disconnected the city from the relationship from the Detroit water system simply to save money, has been undermined by recent revelations.

War and the destruction of social infrastructure in America

By Andre Damon, 28 January 2016

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan highlights the slashing of funds for public infrastructure to pay for war and the enrichment of the financial elite.

Wave of youth suicides in Oklahoma town

By Naomi Spencer, 26 January 2016

Four young people, the youngest just 11 years old, have killed themselves in the small town of Anadarko in the past few weeks.

Evidence mounts that poisoned Flint water caused deaths

By Andre Damon, 23 January 2016

At least 10 people have died from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which has been linked to the poisoning of Flint residents covered up for more than a year by the government.

Windfall affordable housing tax break for New York developers expires

By Philip Guelpa, 23 January 2016

Failure to renew the 421-a tax break for developers will have a negligible effect on the critical lack of affordable housing in New York City.

Drug overdoses in US drive sharp rise in mortality rates among white young adults

By Kate Randall, 19 January 2016

Rising mortality rates among young white adults, ages 25-34, have risen to levels not seen since the end of the AIDS epidemic more than two decades ago.

Kentucky Social Security recipients commit suicide after benefits cut

By Naomi Spencer, 19 January 2016

An attorney representing 1,500 disability recipients warns that “the suicide chatter is way up” as the state threatens additional budget cuts.

Obama White House declares state of emergency over Flint water crisis

By Thomas Gaist, 18 January 2016

In the face of an immense public health catastrophe, the American federal government has mustered the meager sum of some five million in federal funds.

More US drug price hikes in 2016

By Brad Dixon, 18 January 2016

Drug makers kicked off the New Year with a new round of drug price hikes despite growing public anger and political backlash.

Pennsylvania constable shoots dead 12-year-old girl during home eviction

By Tom Eley, 14 January 2016

The law enforcement officer was seeking to remove the girl’s family for being less than three months behind in payment for their rental apartment.

Obama’s final State of the Union: Lies, evasions and threats

By Patrick Martin, 13 January 2016

Neither the US president nor his bipartisan congressional audience were capable of dealing honestly or seriously with the social crisis in America.

The Detroit teachers’ fight to defend public education

By Jerry White, 13 January 2016

It is no accident that social opposition is taking the form of a rebellion against the trade unions, which have long served as industrial police for the corporations and government.

The US in 2016: No money for social programs, cash to burn for the military

By Andre Damon, 12 January 2016

The US will spend hundreds of billions of dollars this year on warships, nuclear warheads and supersonic fighters, even as there is “no money” for vital social programs like food stamps.