The Social Crisis in America

Top bankers’ pay rose 17 percent in 2014

By Andre Damon, 4 July 2015

The vast sums of money pocketed by bank executives are bound up with activities that range from borderline legal to flagrantly illegal.

American CEOs paid 300 times more than workers

By David Brown, 29 June 2015

While the average worker made the same in 2014 as they did in 2009, CEO compensation at top companies rose by 54.3 percent.

Legislative deal means further deepening of New York’s housing crisis

By Philip Guelpa, 29 June 2015

Democrats and Republicans agreed to a deal which leaves essentially unchanged existing rent regulations and tax breaks that favor landlords and developers.

With appointment of Kenneth Feinberg to oversee cuts

White House steps up assault on pensions

By Andre Damon, 20 June 2015

The White House said Wednesday that it will grant long-time Washington fixer Kenneth Feinberg the power to unilaterally slash the benefits of retirees in multiemployer pension funds.

The mass killing in Charleston, South Carolina

By David Walsh, 19 June 2015

The impact of endless war and militarism on backward layers of the population in the US is a central driving force behind horrific episodes like the Charleston bloodbath.

Berkeley, California balcony collapse kills six

By David Brown, 17 June 2015

Several observers have pointed to signs of dry rot in the wooden support beams exposed by the collapse, possibly due to inadequate waterproofing.

US Army simulates gun battles, sets off explosives in Flint, Michigan

By Thomas Gaist, 12 June 2015

The military drills come as US special operations forces prepare to conduct “Realistic Military Training” in American cities, towns and rural areas throughout the South and West.

The death of Kalief Browder

By Andre Damon, 10 June 2015

The young man’s imprisonment and torture stand as an indictment of America’s criminal “justice” system.

Social inequality and American politics

By Andre Damon, 8 June 2015

Despite polls showing overwhelming popular opposition to social inequality, these sentiments find no genuine expression in official US politics.

Police brutality and social inequality in Baltimore: An indictment of the Democratic Party

By Nick Barrickman and Trent Novak, 4 June 2015

The desperate conditions in Baltimore are the product of decades of pro-business policies pursued by the Democrats at every level of government.

Record storms, flooding continue to ravage Texas and Oklahoma

By Charles Abelard, 30 May 2015

The response of state and federal authorities has thus far been minimal, leaving thousands of the displaced to fend for themselves.

New York mayor de Blasio’s housing plan: An assault on the working class

By Philip Guelpa, 23 May 2015

Bill de Blasio’s housing proposal opens the door to privatizing public housing while squeezing more money from low-income residents.

New details undermine police account of deadly shootout in Waco, Texas

By Tom Hall, 21 May 2015

Questions are mounting over police claims that biker gangs were solely responsible for the gunfight that killed nine people.

The deindustrialization of Baltimore

By Nick Barrickman, 20 May 2015

While the police murder of Freddie Gray was the trigger, the scope of the social anger that erupted in Baltimore was fueled by decades of economic decay in the once booming industrial port city.

Nine killed, 170 arrested in Texas biker gang shootout

By Tom Carter, 19 May 2015

The bloody shootout between rival biker gangs and police in Waco, Texas on May 17 is a symptom of an unhealthy society.

The Baltimore upheaval: On race and class in America

By Jerry White, 12 May 2015

The relentless fixation on race is aimed at preventing any serious examination of the deep class divisions in American society, which are at the root of police violence.

York, Pennsylvania: Social service and education cuts hit workers and students

By Douglas Lyons and Samuel Davidson, 6 May 2015

Millions of dollars in state funding cuts to York schools have translated to over $1,000 lost per student, resulting in teacher layoffs and cuts to classes and programs.

Six years into “economic recovery”

York, Pennsylvania: Mass unemployment and temporary jobs

By Douglas Lyons and Samuel Davidson, 4 May 2015

Like many cities its size in the US state of Pennsylvania, York is mired in unemployment, low-paying jobs and poverty.

Majority of US public aid recipients are from working families

By Zaida Green, 25 April 2015

Some 73 percent of people enrolled in public welfare programs, including food assistance, come from families with at least one member who is employed.

Workers must mobilize to stop water shutoffs in Detroit!

By Jerry White, 21 April 2015

Detroit officials are getting ready to cut off water to as many as 73,000 households.

Two dead children found inside Detroit freezer

By Lawrence Porter, 21 April 2015

An impoverished single mother of four on Detroit’s east side was arrested after two of her children were found dead inside a freezer.

Kids Count director: Rising poverty and mental health cuts spawn child abuse and neglect

By Lawrence Porter, 21 April 2015

The Michigan Kids Count project director spoke to the WSWS about the devastating growth of child poverty throughout the state in the wake of the 2008 economic crash.

Eight dead in Maryland following utility shutoff

By Jerry White, 8 April 2015

Rodney Todd and his children were the apparent victims of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator they were using after the local utility company cut off power to the financially struggling family.

Detroit arts projects highlight brutal US prison system

By Seraphine Collins, 8 April 2015

Recent exhibitions and ongoing projects examine human rights abuses throughout the US prison system, focusing on the sentencing of juveniles to life in prison without parole.

Rising inequality, poverty in Ann Arbor, Michigan

By Naomi Spencer, 3 April 2015

Washtenaw County, Michigan is held up as a “knowledge economy” model for recovery in the state, but a new study finds 37 percent of residents cannot make ends meet.

Washington, DC homelessness rises to record levels

By Trent Novak, 25 March 2015

With the winter “hypothermia season” not set to officially end until April, the number of families requiring shelter has already exceeded official expectations.

Detroit’s water shutoffs and the aristocratic principle

By Andre Damon, 23 March 2015

In few places anywhere on the globe is the systematized, ruthless cruelty of the ruling class—facilitated by all factions of the political establishment—so flagrantly on display as in Detroit.

Tucson, Arizona, officials considering banning homeless from downtown park

By Kevin Martinez, 23 March 2015

After removing tents and shelters from the park, authorities also want to ban sleeping in boxes, tents and pods on city streets.

Detroit to resume mass water shutoffs

By Andre Damon, 21 March 2015

As many as 28,000 households in America’s poorest large city face having their water service shut off.

Alabama food stamp use doubles since 2007

By Shelley Connor, 17 March 2015

The surge in food stamp use coincides with a sharp decline in the percentage of people working full-time.

Report shows low-cost private housing in Washington, DC virtually eliminated

By Nick Barrickman, 16 March 2015

Without subsidies, the typical family of four in the bottom fifth tier of households spends 80 percent of its yearly earnings on housing.

US heroin overdose death rates nearly quadrupled since 2000

By Evan Blake, 10 March 2015

The findings of a new report serve as a barometer of the current conditions of life in America, and expose one of the many symptoms of the decay of capitalist society.

Record cold weather in the US leads to spate of deadly house fires

By Evan Blake, 21 February 2015

There have been 576 fatalities from house fires so far this year, often caused by the use of unsafe heating methods to reduce costs amidst record cold weather.

Freezing temperatures spell misery and danger to America’s poor

By Jeff Lusanne and Evan Blake, 20 February 2015

A record cold spell across the Eastern half of the United States has caused dozens of deaths among the most vulnerable sections of society: the homeless, the poor, and the elderly.

ACLU report documents horror of solitary confinement in US prisons

By Kevin Martinez, 20 February 2015

Over 80,000 people languish in solitary confinement in the country’s penitentiaries, sometimes for years or decades at a time.

House fire in Hamtramck, Michigan kills four, including two children

By Khara Sikhan, 19 February 2015

The source of the fire is not yet known, though house fires are often caused by space heaters or other unsafe heating devices.

Report documents growth of extreme poverty in Rochester, New York

By Jason Melanovski, 19 February 2015

16.2 percent of Rochester's population lives in extreme poverty, more than any other mid-sized city in the US.

Hazel Park, Michigan retiree dies of hypothermia after gas shutoff

By Shannon Jones, 18 February 2015

The 69-year-old Vietnam veteran was found huddled under blankets next to a space heater.

House fires kill 71 people in the US during the first week of February

By Samuel Davidson, 14 February 2015

The death toll is rising steadily as utility costs and cold temperatures force many people to use dangerous space heaters to keep warm.

New York Mayor de Blasio announces meager housing goals

By Daniel de Vries, 12 February 2015

Homelessness in New York City soared to an all-time high last year.

Official enthusiasm over January jobs report belied by economic reality

By Nick Barrickman, 7 February 2015

Media figures and politicians hailed the latest US jobs report as evidence of an economic turnaround, ignoring the thousands of store closings and layoffs announced in recent days.

People from wealthy families eight times more likely to graduate college

By Evan Blake, 5 February 2015

In the United States, seventy-seven percent of people from wealthy families obtain bachelor’s degrees by the time they turn 24, compared with only 9 percent of those from low-income families.

New England blizzard blamed for numerous deaths

By Mike Ingram, 31 January 2015

A number of deaths have been attributed to the storm that dumped record levels of snow across much of New England this week.

Income inequality soars in every US state

By Andre Damon, 30 January 2015

In the period between 1979 and 2007, every state in the US saw the income share of the top 1 percent grow by at least 25 percent.

The murder of Akai Gurley and police repression in New York City public housing

By Isaac Finn, 21 January 2015

The cop who killed Gurley last November was conducting a “vertical patrol,” a regular NYPD tactic, with his gun drawn.

New Orleans mayor announces “end” to veteran homelessness

By Tom Hall, 21 January 2015

Landrieu’s claim, part of a nationwide initiative by Michelle Obama, comes as the city government criminalizes the city’s homeless population.

Reports on deadly Metro accident show poor maintenance and negligence in Washington, DC transit system

By Joe Williams, 21 January 2015

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is facing a growing backlash as details emerge of its inept response to the terrifying accident.

Oxfam: Richest one percent set to control more wealth than the bottom 99 percent

By Andre Damon, 20 January 2015

As the global financial oligarchy descended on Davos, Switzerland this week, the Oxfam charity released new figures on the colossal growth of social inequality.

New York City’s housing and homelessness crisis intensifies under de Blasio

By Philip Guelpa, 16 January 2015

Amid rising homelessness and a dearth of affordable housing, de Blasio’s programs favor real estate interests and the wealthy elite.

Coal mine closures and layoffs continue throughout US

By Clement Daly, 13 January 2015

The wave of mine closures and layoffs in the US coal industry continued throughout the second half of 2014.

Headline figures in December jobs report mask worsening conditions for US workers

By Gabriel Black, 10 January 2015

Although the official unemployment rate fell in December, workers’ wages declined and the labor force participation rate fell to the lowest level in 38 years.

Freezing temperatures lead to dozens of deaths in the US

By Muhammad Khan, 9 January 2015

Cold weather across the United States this week has revealed the dire social conditions facing millions of Americans.

One in seven Detroiters threatened with eviction in wave of home foreclosures

By Zac Corrigan, 7 January 2015

More than 60,000 Detroit homes have been served foreclosure notices as part of a plan to squeeze more from the city’s low-income residents to pay off wealthy bondholders.

Figure hits $4.1 trillion

Wealth of world’s 400 richest billionaires rose $92 billion in 2014

By Andre Damon, 3 January 2015

The wealth of the global financial elite soared last year amid surging stock markets fueled by cash infusions from central banks.

Jacksonville, Florida residents speak on inadequate minimum wage increase

By Juan Rodriguez and Matthew Taylor, 3 January 2015

Florida’s minimum wage is increasing from $7.93 per hour to $8.05 per hour, a difference of merely 1.5 percent.

In the ten days before Christmas, 81 people killed in home fires throughout the US

By Samuel Davidson, 29 December 2014

Increasing numbers of working class families are forced to use unsafe electric or kerosene space heaters in an effort to save money.

The Dow at 18,000: Contradictions mount in world economy

By Nick Beams, 27 December 2014

The ever-widening gap between financial markets and the real economy is creating the conditions for economic turmoil and the eruption of social and political struggles.

At least 786 US children died while being monitored by child protection authorities

By Tom Hall, 27 December 2014

The AP report, which covers a six-year period, states that the government does a “terrible job” of accounting for child deaths.

US wealth gap largest on record

By Joseph Kishore, 19 December 2014

A new report from the Pew Research Center finds that the median net worth for low-income US families has fallen by nearly 50 percent since 2007.

San Jose, California: “The Jungle” homeless camp dismantled

By Evan Blake, 9 December 2014

Authorities in San Jose shut down the largest homeless encampment in the United States last Thursday.

Wages flat despite job growth in latest US employment report

By Niles Williamson, 6 December 2014

While the latest US jobs report continues the trend of moderate job growth, American workers’ wages remain flat, with wage increases barely outpacing inflation.

US retail sales plunge during “Black Friday” weekend

By Patrick Martin, 2 December 2014

The fall in sales reflects the fact that the disposable incomes of working-class households continue to stagnate and decline.

100,000 fewer US families receive housing aid due to budget cuts

By Tom Hall, 17 November 2014

The reduction in aid has taken place even as the need for assistance has increased.

Bloomberg report names Atlanta and New Orleans as the most unequal cities in the US

By E.P. Bannon, 6 November 2014

A recent report released by Bloomberg listed the 50 most unequal cities in the United States.

Top officials at New York City’s Rikers Island prison resign amid brutality scandal

By Sandy English, 1 November 2014

The resignations follow revelations of widespread violence, neglect and torture at the prison.

US child poverty remains at highest rate in 20 years

By Andre Damon, 27 October 2014

A report published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics found that nearly one in four US children lives in poverty, and a similar proportion do not get enough to eat.

No cause yet determined in Pennsylvania house fire

Hundreds mourn victims in a candlelight vigil

By Samuel Davidson, 25 October 2014

Fire officials have yet to release the cause of the tragic fire that swept through an old wood-frame house in McKeesport, killing four children and two adults.

Lawsuits allege Alabama prison inmates left to die of treatable diseases

By Tom Hall, 23 October 2014

Jailers in Madison County, Alabama deliberately denied health care to inmates with treatable illnesses in order to cut costs, according to three recently filed lawsuits.

Census report: Half of Americans poor or near poor

By Andre Damon, 22 October 2014

A related study found that “nearly two-thirds of New York City residents struggled to make ends meet.”

Six killed in Pittsburgh area house fire

By Evan Winters and Samuel Davidson, 20 October 2014

In the worst such tragedy in recent history, four children and two adults were killed in a fire early Saturday morning in the city of McKeesport.

Electricity base rates to double in Massachusetts this winter

By John Marion, 20 October 2014

The state’s Department of Public Utilities has caved in to National Grid, the main private supplier of electricity.

The American oligarchy

By Andre Damon, 18 October 2014

Whatever the pretense of “one person, one vote,” the fact is that the top 0.1 percent dictates policy and essentially selects the personnel tasked with carrying it out.

Police harass street performers in New York’s Times Square

By Mark Witkowski, 18 October 2014

Immigrant workers and others try to make a living in the city’s tourist mecca.

Richest one percent controls nearly half of global wealth

By Andre Damon, 17 October 2014

Hypothetically, if the growth of inequality were to proceed at last year’s rate, the richest one percent would control all the wealth on the planet within 23 years.

Majority of Buffalo, New York, children live in poverty

“The rich are getting richer and they don’t care about the poor”

By Michelle Ryan, 13 October 2014

The upstate New York city’s 50.6 percent child poverty rate ranks third worst in the nation, behind Detroit (59 percent) and Cleveland (54 percent).

The bank bailout and the Forbes 400

By Andre Damon, 8 October 2014

Six years since the 2008 bank bailout, the wealth of the 400 richest people in the United States has nearly doubled.

Wealth of richest 400 Americans surges to $2.29 trillion

By Andre Damon, 6 October 2014

The net worth of the Forbes 400 grew thirteen percent this year amidst a soaring stock market and record corporate profits.

Revelations of brutality deepen crisis over New York’s Rikers Island prison

By Philip Guelpa, 3 October 2014

Rikers Island is one of the most notorious examples of the national policy of mass incarceration.

Widening inequality intensifies New York City housing crisis

By Fred Mazelis, 27 September 2014

Cuts in the Section 8 voucher program are being used to threaten families and force them into substandard conditions.

US prison population increases for first time since 2009

By Kate Randall, 23 September 2014

While the US accounts for about 5 percent of the world’s population, it incarcerates about one-quarter of all prisoners on the planet.

Forty five million in poverty in the US

By Andre Damon, 17 September 2014

Figures released by the Census Bureau Tuesday showed that the number of people in poverty remained at the highest level on record, while household incomes stagnated last year.

Honolulu city officials vote to transfer homeless to former WWII internment camp

By Kevin Martinez, 15 September 2014

The City Council has moved to criminalize the homeless in order to maintain its beaches as a tourist attraction.

The collapse of household income in the US

By Andre Damon, 9 September 2014

The Fed report is only the latest in a series of studies on the continuing growth of poverty and social inequality in the midst of what is billed as a recovery from the crash of 2008.

New Federal Reserve report

US median income has plunged, inequality has grown in Obama “recovery”

By Andre Damon, 6 September 2014

The Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, released Thursday, shows that the income of a typical US household has fallen by 12 percent in just six years.

The official cover-up of social and political issues in the police murder of Michael Brown

By Andre Damon, 27 August 2014

Two weeks after the eruption of protests in Ferguson, Missouri in response to the police murder of Michael Brown, the Obama administration is hoping to bury popular opposition to its policies together with the young man’s body.

“Folks just can’t afford water, rent, lights, gas and food”

Detroit “water affordability fair” attendees denounce shutoffs

By Zac Corrigan and Tim Rivers, 26 August 2014

In this video, Detroit residents attending a sham “water affordability fair” denounce the city’s policy of cutting off water to those who are too poor to pay for it.

The homeless “problem” in Florida

By Matthew MacEgan, 23 August 2014

A recent study has shown that rehabilitating homeless people is actually more cost effective than keeping them on the streets and arresting them.

“Poor Door” for lower-income tenants underscores class divide in New York

By Steve Light, 22 August 2014

A 33-story luxury building under construction will have a separate back entrance for those who live in its “affordable” apartments.

One-third of the US population has no retirement savings

By Jake Dean, 22 August 2014

New reports continue to expose worsening economic conditions for millions.

New report details depth of hunger crisis in the United States

By Shannon Jones, 19 August 2014

Fourteen percent of Americans rely on food pantries to feed themselves and their families.

US farm fatalities: An unpublicized epidemic

By Naomi Spencer, 18 August 2014

Hundreds of agricultural workers, including many child laborers, die in farming accidents across the US each year, making it the most dangerous occupation in America.

Luxury goods sales soar amid global economic slump

By Josh Varlin, 13 August 2014

The rapid growth of economic inequality since the 2008 financial crisis is underscored by the growth in sales of multi-million-dollar yachts, luxury cars and other baubles for the super-rich.

Detroit mayor employs damage control as city prepares to resume water shutoffs

By Thomas Gaist, 13 August 2014

Mayor Mike Duggan's “10-point plan” is part of political maneuvers being orchestrated by Detroit’s political establishment to dampen popular outrage over mass water shutoffs

Obama’s “recovery” and the social crisis in America

By Andre Damon, 12 August 2014

While Obama and the political establishment proclaim economic “recovery,” new reports show that the majority of US households are worse off now than they were five years ago.

Washington plans for world war

By Patrick Martin, 6 August 2014

A new report proposes a much more aggressive Pentagon policy, including preparing for war against nuclear-armed opponents.

Contamination leaves 400,000 Ohioans without tap water

By Gabriel Black, 4 August 2014

An algae bloom caused by fertilizer run-off has poisoned Toledo, Ohio’s water supply, cutting 400,000 off from tap water.

Washington, DC workers speak out against social inequality and rising costs of living

By Todd Mason, 25 July 2014

A new report documents the steep rise in social inequality that has developed in Washington, DC since the economic crisis of 2008

Nearly one quarter of US children in poverty

By Andre Damon, 23 July 2014

A report published Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation notes that 16.3 million children live in poverty in the US.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The social crisis in America’s Rust Belt

By Niles Williamson, 17 July 2014

The destruction of manufacturing jobs in America’s “Rust Belt” has left Milwaukee’s workers fighting high unemployment, poverty and food insecurity.

Metro Washington, DC among the most unequal areas in US

By Nick Barrickman, 15 July 2014

Child poverty in the DC area has increased by nearly 25 percent since the recession began, from 8.2 to 10.7 percent today.