The Social Crisis in America

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.

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.