The Social Crisis in America

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.

“They’ve taken us back to the dark ages”

Outraged Flint residents protest water contamination

By Zac Corrigan and Shannon Jones, 12 January 2016

At a recent demonstration residents described the horrific conditions they are facing and demanded that state officials be held accountable for the man-made disaster.

The lottery and social despair in America

By Andre Damon, 9 January 2016

For millions of people, the dream of winning the lottery has replaced the “American Dream” of living a decent life.

“They just want to score some points with this incident and then leave us.”

Residents speak on social crisis in San Bernardino, California following mass shooting in December

By our reporters, 7 January 2016

Despite constant coverage of the recent San Bernardino shootings in the mainstream media, little attention has been given to the city’s widespread poverty and social distress.

CDC report: Worsening drug abuse epidemic across US

By Douglas Lyons, 6 January 2016

2014 has eclipsed all other recorded years as the most deadly, with nearly 48,000 drug overdose deaths.

America’s richest 400 households paid a 16.7 percent tax rate in 2012

By Tom Eley, 4 January 2016

America’s super-rich and giant corporations hide trillions of dollars in order to avoid paying taxes on their earnings.

Winter storms kill dozens across US South and Midwest

By Shannon Jones, 29 December 2015

As usual in such disasters, hardest hit were working class communities where less well constructed homes as well as trailers were flattened by unusual December tornadoes.

No “peace on Earth” in 2015

By Andre Damon, 24 December 2015

The official promotion of the “Christmas spirit” collides against the reality of ever-expanding war, violence and social misery that dominate capitalist society.

Idaho food service worker fired for giving hungry student free food worth $1.70

By George Gallanis, 24 December 2015

Following the incident, Dalene Bowden was placed on unpaid leave and then received a letter days later issuing the termination of her position.

State of emergency declared in Flint, Michigan over poisoned water supply

By Matthew Brennan and Lawrence Porter, 16 December 2015

Behind the declaration by the newly-elected mayor is a deep-going political crisis over the poisoning of nearly 100,000 residents.

The fate of Zuckerberg’s “gift” to Newark schools

By Fred Mazelis, 14 December 2015

A new book provides a case study on the nature of the “school reform” movement and the attacks on public education.

Social inequality and the disintegration of the American middle class

By David Walsh, 12 December 2015

The decline of the middle classes in America has profound and revolutionary implications.

The hourglass society: Middle-income households no longer the majority in the US

By Andre Damon, 11 December 2015

A study published Wednesday by the Pew Research Center called the collapse of middle-income households in the US “a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point.”

Mark Zuckerberg, philanthrocapitalism and parasitism

By Nancy Hanover, 8 December 2015

A closer look at the billionaire’s announcement that he and his wife are donating 99 percent of their Facebook shares reveals that the charitable emperor “has no clothes”—and says a lot about the financial elite, the media and the state of America.

Deadly fire destroys three apartments in Lynn, Massachusetts

By John Marion, 7 December 2015

The fire moved so quickly in the overcrowded building that four people, including a pregnant woman, were unable to get out alive.

Behind the struggle for affordable housing in New York City

By Philip Guelpa, 4 December 2015

A current museum exhibit looks at the history of housing for the working class, and leaves much unsaid or distorted.

Thousands laid off as employment crisis deepens in Appalachia

Ashland, Kentucky steel furnace idled

By Naomi Spencer, 26 November 2015

In Ashland, Kentucky, 1,100 employees of AK Steel received notice that they would be laid off in mid-December, just before Christmas.

More than 500,000 homeless in the US

By Kate Randall, 21 November 2015

In January 2015, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development counted 564,708 homeless in the US, a quarter of them children.

Liberal propagandists in US agitate for total war in Syria and Iraq

By Niles Williamson, 17 November 2015

Among the chief warmongers are the New York Times’ Roger Cohen and the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen, who jumped at the opportunity to call for the massive expansion of US-led military intervention.

Low-income housing complex in Jacksonville, Florida under investigation

By Matthew Taylor, 14 November 2015

Global Ministries Foundation has come under federal investigation for the deplorable living conditions at its Eureka Gardens housing complex.

Eight-year-old Alabama boy charged with murder

By David Brown, 13 November 2015

Increasingly, children in the United States are being charged and incarcerated for serious crimes they have no competency to commit.

Michigan political crisis over lead poisoning in Flint

By James Brewer, 11 November 2015

State and local officials ignored health warnings in regard to the water supply.

The ominous backdrop of California’s End of Life Option Act

By Norisa Diaz, 9 November 2015

The enthusiasm of the Brown administration for the legislation is based not solely on the autonomy and compassion it can grant the terminally ill, but on its cost-saving potential.

“Positive” US jobs report belied by mass layoffs

By Josh Varlin, 7 November 2015

While the US economy added more jobs in October than in previous months, the great majority of new jobs were in low-wage sectors of the economy.

Number of people killed by police this year in US surpasses 1,000

By Andre Damon, 5 November 2015

Police murders have continued unabated, as has the defense of killer cops by the political establishment, from local prosecutors to the Obama administration.

Capitalism and mortality: Death rate soars for middle-aged US workers

By Joseph Kishore, 4 November 2015

The mortality figures reflect a catastrophic decline in the social position of the working class resulting from the protracted decay of American capitalism.

Half of US workers make less than $30,000 per year

By David Brown, 29 October 2015

The decades-long stagnation of wages in the US has left millions of workers unable to start a family or buy a house.

West Virginia counties, school districts make drastic cuts as coal industry contracts

By Naomi Spencer, 27 October 2015

Local governments and schools across West Virginia are making deep reductions as the coal industry continues to contract and the state imposes a fresh round of cuts.

New York City mayor falsely hails sale of Stuyvesant Town complex as advance for affordable housing

By Fred Mazelis, 26 October 2015

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio’s concept of affordability applies, at best, only to the top 10 percent of the city’s population.

Collapse of West Virginia coal industry spurs growing inequality

By Naomi Spencer, 26 October 2015

As the coal industry has hemorrhaged jobs, state and local social services have been slashed and inequality has soared.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina: Part four

A legacy of poverty and austerity in New Orleans

By Tom Hall, 26 October 2015

The “rebuilding” process in New Orleans has left the city’s working class more impoverished than ever before.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina: Part three

The privatization of New Orleans schools

By Tom Hall, 24 October 2015

Charter school plans that were already well advanced were quickly acted upon in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina: Part two

Destruction of public housing and forced exodus of workers

By E.P. Bannon, 23 October 2015

New Orleans had a pre-hurricane population of 484,700. Today, it is 384,300, a 21 percent decline.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina: Part one

The catastrophe unfolds

By E.P. Bannon, 22 October 2015

Thousands of survivors remained trapped inside the flood-ravaged city without access to food, water or clothing.

Michigan governor belatedly orders change in Flint’s water supply

By James Brewer, 10 October 2015

The action by the state of Michigan is a tacit admission that the city’s population has been subjected to lead poisoning for 17 months.

New study documents California’s “Hidden Poor”

By Jill Lux, 10 October 2015

A new UCLA study reveals that more than 772,000 older Californians fall into the category of the “hidden poor.”

New York mayor promotes gentrification of Brooklyn neighborhood

By Philip Guelpa, 8 October 2015

Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a housing program that will benefit developers and lead to the displacement of working class residents.

Wealth of America’s super-rich grows to $2.34 trillion

By Nick Barrickman, 3 October 2015

The total net worth for the multi-billionaires on the list set new records, displacing last year’s all-time high of $2.29 trillion.

Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Tom Wolf proposes deeper cuts to pensions

By Douglas Lyons, 30 September 2015

Wolf proposes to eliminate pensions for workers making over $75,000 yearly.

Los Angeles officials declare “state of emergency” over homelessness

By Kevin Martinez, 28 September 2015

The city has pledged a paltry $100 million toward reducing homelessness, most of which will go to the police to drive out homeless encampments.

Flint, Michigan residents fight lead poisoning of water supply

By James Brewer and Lawrence Porter, 26 September 2015

The head of the Virginia Tech university team that conducted a survey of Flint’s water toxicity warned residents not to trust the government's claims that city water is safe to drink.

New York housing crisis impacts Brooklyn building workers and tenants

By Steve Light and Allen Whyte, 24 September 2015

Workers and tenants in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood are confronting a determined effort to drive them out of their building so it can be transformed into high-rent apartments.

GM ignition defect settlement: A wrist-slap for corporate criminals

By Shannon Jones, 18 September 2015

The settlement announced Thursday in the GM ignition recall scandal is a travesty that allows the company to get off virtually scot-free for the criminal cover-up of a deadly safety defect.

Family of GM accident victim speaks

“I believe GM murdered my daughter”

By Shannon Jones, 18 September 2015

The World Socialist Web Site spoke with Leo and Mary Ruddy, parents of Kelly Erin Ruddy who died in the crash of her Cobalt in January 2010

Minimum-wage workers cannot afford apartments in New York City

By Isaac Finn, 16 September 2015

According to a recent report, it is impossible for a worker making New York’s minimum wage to find an affordable apartment in any New York City neighborhood.

Major US cities report increased murder rates after years of decline

By Kevin Martinez and Fred Mazelis, 12 September 2015

Poverty and hopelessness are the main contributors to increases in violent crime.

New York Mayor de Blasio’s tale of two cities: Homeless routed out of encampments

By Clare Hurley, 9 September 2015

The Democratic mayor is taking more aggressive measures to close down homeless encampments.

Interviews with residents of Pamoja House Homeless Shelter in Brooklyn

By Clare Hurley, 9 September 2015

The WSWS spoke with several residents of Pamoja House Next Step Shelter, a 200-bed men’s shelter in Brooklyn.

Baltimore to pay family of Freddie Gray $6.4 million to avoid civil lawsuit

By Evan Blake, 9 September 2015

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, keenly aware that the city would lose a civil trial brought by the Gray family, is seeking to mitigate further exposures of the corrupt Baltimore Police Department.

After Detroit bankruptcy: Tax foreclosures threaten 30,000 residents

By Nick Rodriguez and J. Cooper, 7 September 2015

Nearly 30,000 homes will go to auction in the nation’s largest municipal property tax foreclosure.

Water shutoff moratorium in Flint as water crisis continues

By Shannon Jones, 1 September 2015

Residents of the Michigan city describe a continuing nightmare caused by astronomical water rates combined with foul smelling, discolored drinking water.

Report documents pervasive shortcomings in US mental health insurance

By Trent Novak, 29 August 2015

Individuals seeking mental health treatment are twice as likely to have their claims denied by insurers than patients filing claims related to traditional medical procedures.

A portrait of life in America’s Rust Belt: Part Three

Part Three

By Eric London, 29 August 2015

The following is an on-the-spot report on social conditions in working-class areas hit hard by deindustrialization in the US state of Indiana.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina

By Joseph Kishore, 27 August 2015

The tragedy that struck the city of New Orleans, along with coastal areas from Florida to Texas, was not simply a natural disaster, but a social and political crime.

Half a million California children are homeless

By Adam Mclean, 27 August 2015

About one in 20 children in California, home to over 100 billionaires, is homeless.

The New York City housing crisis and the $100 million penthouse

By Philip Guelpa, 26 August 2015

The acute shortage of affordable housing in New York City continues to worsen while the prices of luxury residences for the city’s elite rise to unprecedented heights.

Nearly 14 million Americans live in neighborhoods of extreme poverty

By Evan Blake, 24 August 2015

The growth of extreme poverty is rooted in decades of deindustrialization in America’s former manufacturing hubs.

Escalating heroin epidemic in Huntington, West Virginia

By Naomi Spencer, 21 August 2015

Central Appalachia’s largest city has seen at least 520 drug overdoses since the beginning of the year, and 34 people have died.

Amazon office workers subjected to brutal exploitation

By Gabriel Black, 20 August 2015

Amazon’s white-collar employees are routinely expected to work 80 hour workweeks and are penalized for any lost productivity, including from pregnancy or serious illness.

Need for food assistance rising in US despite claims of recovery

By Shannon Jones, 20 August 2015

Food banks and food pantries report that millions of families are still making difficult choices between eating and paying for other necessities

Chicago Public Schools announces hundreds of teacher layoffs, spending and pension cuts

By Kristina Betinis, 14 August 2015

The nation’s third largest school district has released an annual budget slashing jobs and spending, and demanding concessions from teachers.

Kids Count report: 22 percent of US children live in poverty

By Tom Hall, 22 July 2015

Three million more American children were in poverty in 2013 than at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

US heroin deaths triple in four years

By Gabriel Black, 21 July 2015

The enormous growth in heroin use, particularly among young people, reflects the depth of the social crisis in America.

“People deserve respect whether they can pay their bills or not”

Life without water in Detroit

By Seraphine Collins, 8 July 2015

In this video, Mamie Brown, a Detroit preschool teacher, describes the experience of having her water shut off.

Manhattan real estate prices hit record high

By Sandy English, 6 July 2015

The average sale price of an apartment in the New York City borough of Manhattan, the home of Wall Street, is now $1.87 million.