The Social Crisis in America

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.

Philadelphia house fire kills four children

By Sandy English, 7 July 2014

The fire was so fast-moving that neither neighbors nor firefighters, who arrived on the scene within three minutes, were able to rescue the four victims.

“We are talking about kids who are going to be affected, and the elderly”

Detroit residents call water shutoffs a “crime”

By Khara Sikhan and Zac Corrigan, 2 July 2014

The city’s drive to shut off water service to three thousand households every week is in full swing, spelling catastrophe for the approximately 150,000 Detroit households with overdue water bills.

Workers on Detroit water shutoffs: “They are making it so you can’t live”

By Shannon Jones, 30 June 2014

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is backing a brutal shutoff policy aimed at residents who are behind in their water bills.

How Bill Clinton cashed in after leaving White House

By Gabriel Black, 30 June 2014

Bill Clinton has made millions of dollars speaking before Wall Street bankers.

Inequality doubles in the US between 2003-2013

By Gabriel Black, 27 June 2014

A report by a group of University of Michigan researchers documents that inequality has nearly doubled in the US since 2003, with the median American household losing 36 percent of its wealth.

Multi-millionaire Hillary Clinton denies she is part of the “truly well-off”

By Andre Damon, 25 June 2014

Bill and Hillary Clinton have earned more than $100 million in speaking fees from corporations and business foundations.

House fire in Newark, New Jersey kills six family members

By Steve Light, 17 June 2014

The tragedy is the latest in a string of house fires claiming multiple lives in urban areas scarred by poverty, cuts to city services and poor housing conditions.

Workers killed on the job at online retailer Amazon

By Nick Barrickman, 17 June 2014

The deaths of two workers employed at warehouses owned by online retailer Amazon.com reveal the harsh working conditions faced by millions across the US.

One quarter of people in San Diego cannot make ends meet

By Marko Leone, 13 June 2014

The Center on Policy Initiatives published a report on the wages needed to subsist without public or private assistance in San Diego County.

Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage of little benefit to workers

By Hector Cordon and Patrick Martin, 10 June 2014

The measure adopted June 2, even more restrictive than the plan initially proposed a month before, legalizes a permanent sub-minimum wage for youth.

Wealth report shows deepening social polarization in US

By Patrick Martin, 7 June 2014

Federal Reserve figures show total US net worth rising to a record $81.8 trillion at the same time that the vast majority of working people are struggling to make end meets.

Median CEO pay in US tops $10 million

By Andre Damon, 29 May 2014

The median compensation of chief executives of US corporations listed on the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has grown by more than 50 percent since 2010.

The face of food stamp cuts: Chicago, Illinois

By Chris Davion, 27 May 2014

WSWS reporters recently spoke to Chicago-area residents about the impact of the tens of billions in food stamp cuts implemented over the past two years.

Report: US targets poor and working class with mass imprisonment

By Eric London, 26 May 2014

A report from the National Research Council details the devastating social impact of mass incarceration.

Inmate deaths reveal brutal conditions in New York City’s Rikers Island prison

By Philip Guelpa, 26 May 2014

An Associated Press investigation revealed that two inmates recently died from horrific squalor and neglect at the prison.

Fifty years since Johnson’s “Great Society” speech

By Andre Damon, 24 May 2014

This week marks the 50th anniversary of US President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” speech, the high water mark of post-war Democratic Party liberal reformism.

US public universities: Study finds link between growth of student debt and executive pay

By Nick Barrickman, 21 May 2014

A recent study details the link between rising executive pay, deepening student debt, and the reliance on low-wage adjunct faculty in US universities.

Unions stage one-day fast food protests

By Thomas Gaist, 17 May 2014

The protests were the latest in a series of stage-managed affairs aimed at shoring up the dues base of the unions and channeling opposition behind the Democratic Party.

What are the political forces behind Seattle’s minimum wage proposal?

By Hector Cordon and Jerry White, 12 May 2014

The Seattle City Council to consider a complicated $15 minimum wage ordinance.

Syracuse, New York housing in shambles

By Steve Filips and Don Barret, 12 May 2014

The low-income workers in Syracuse, NY are left little choice but to live in substandard housing.

Low-wage labor in America

By Andre Damon, 30 April 2014

The destruction of decent-paying jobs and employee benefits has radically changed American society.

US economic “recovery” dominated by low-wage jobs

By Andre Damon, 29 April 2014

While the jobs lost in the 2008 crisis were primarily higher and medium-wage, a disproportionate amount of new jobs pay less than about $13 per hour, according to a report issued Monday by the National Employment Law Project.

Exploitative practices exposed at McDonald’s restaurants

By Danielle DeSaxe, 28 April 2014

McDonald’s workers in Southern California spoke to the WSWS about the conditions they face.

Portrait of a modern-day plutocrat: Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle

By Julien Kiemle, 22 April 2014

Larry Ellison, the highest paid CEO in the US, exemplifies the parasitism of today’s super-rich.

Washington, DC region has worst year of jobs growth since 2008 crash

By Nick Barrickman, 22 April 2014

The Washington, DC region added only 4,800 jobs in the twelve months ending in February.

America’s hungry 21st Century

By Andre Damon, 21 April 2014

The pervasiveness of hunger in the United States is an indictment of the capitalist system.

One in five US children do not have enough to eat

By Andre Damon, 19 April 2014

Feeding America released its annual report on local food insecurity Thursday, showing that there are dozens of counties in the US where a third of children do not get enough to eat.

Employee pensions under attack in the US

By Andre Damon, 15 April 2014

The American financial elite has launched a sweeping nationwide assault on the pension benefits of US workers in both the public and private sectors.

US Senate passes token bill to restore long-term jobless benefits

By Barry Grey, 9 April 2014

The absurdly narrow scope of the measure, under conditions of near-record long-term unemployment in the US, reflects the cynical political calculations that underlie it.

Two-year-old killed in Pittsburgh-area fire

Deplorable housing for workers and poor leads to tragedy

By Samuel Davidson, 7 April 2014

The tragic death of a two-year-old girl in a house fire last month exposes the deplorable housing conditions for the working class and poor in the city of McKeesport, only 12 miles south of Pittsburgh.

While wages, jobs stagnate

Median CEO pay in US tops $10 million

By Patrick Martin, 5 April 2014

The median worker would have to work 257 years to earn as much as the typical top 500 CEO made in 2013 alone.

White House ally reveals anti-working class agenda behind Obamacare

By Kate Randall, 31 March 2014

Ezekiel Emanuel, former adviser to the White House on health care reform, predicts that few private-sector employers will still be providing health insurance to their workers by 2025.

One in three people in the US live “hand-to-mouth”

By Nick Barrickman, 27 March 2014

A paper published by the Brookings institution last week shows that economic distress is far more widespread than is shown in official poverty statistics.

Republican house speaker rejects US Senate deal to restore long-term unemployment benefits

By Andre Damon, 21 March 2014

Obama and the Democrats are in practice carrying out the same class-war policy as the Republicans, but seeking to mask it with demagogy and maneuvering.

Senate negotiators reach deal to extend jobless benefits by cutting pension funding

By Andre Damon, 15 March 2014

A group of bipartisan Senate negotiators said they had reached an agreement to extend federal emergency jobless benefits for five months, to be offset by cuts to pension funding and increased user fees.

Twenty-six died from the cold in Chicago area this winter

By Christopher Davion, 11 March 2014

The elderly residents and homeless people who died this winter lacked access to the most basic necessities.

Spike Lee, gentrification and the crisis of affordable housing

By Clare Hurley, 11 March 2014

The relentless gentrification of working class neighborhoods poses the urgent need to fight for housing as a social right.

Five years of Obama’s “recovery”

By Patrick Martin, 8 March 2014

In the five years since the stock market lows of March 2009, there has been a historic redistribution of wealth from the working class to the corporate and financial elite.

Anemic US jobs report shows growth in long-term unemployed

By Andre Damon, 8 March 2014

The US economy added 175,000 jobs in February, barely enough to keep up with population growth.

Forbes list of world’s richest people highlights growth of social inequality

By Ed Hightower, 5 March 2014

The number of billionaires worldwide increased by 268, the largest such increase ever, with a combined net worth of $6.4 trillion.

Homelessness on the rise in Boston

By John Marion, 1 March 2014

A long, cold winter leads to increased shelter use while families suffer from government funding cuts.

Report exposes denial of school lunches to children in Minnesota

By Mike Stapleton, 28 February 2014

A new report by Legal Aid exposes the widespread practice of denying or limiting access to hot lunches for children who cannot pay.