The Social Crisis in America

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.

Homeless population in US capital up 135 percent from last year

By Adam Soroka, 26 February 2014

The unprecedented rate of homeless families seeking shelter in the US capital is straining the family shelter system to capacity.

Detroit News feigns sympathy for Griswold tenants as evictions loom

By Tracy Montry and Betty Hayes, 25 February 2014

After months of remaining silent on the plight of the Griswold and other low-income residents being evicted from downtown, the Detroit News published a front page feature February 20 entitled, “Downside of upswing: Downtown Detroit squeeze forces out longtime tenants.”

The social chasm in America’s cities

By Andre Damon, 22 February 2014

A report published this week by the Brookings Institution documents the immense growth of social inequality in major US cities, including those that are supposedly economic success stories.

US bank CEOs rake in pay raises, bonuses

By Patrick Martin, 22 February 2014

The CEO of Bank of America received a raise greater than the lifetime pay for the average American worker.

Five die in North Minneapolis fire

By Mike Stapleton, 17 February 2014

A father lost five children in an apartment fire in the poverty-stricken neighborhood of North Minneapolis.

Report details housing crisis in Minnesota

By Mike Stapleton, 15 February 2014

Sequestration and other budget cuts have created a housing crisis for low- income Minnesotans.

The Workers Inquiry into the bankruptcy of Detroit

By <em>World Socialist Web Site</em> Editorial Board, 14 February 2014

On Saturday, the Socialist Equality Party in the US is holding an Inquiry to reveal the social and political roots of the Detroit bankruptcy and provide workers with the information they need to fight back.

Interview with director of homeless shelter in Long Beach

California’s homeless: Casualties of class warfare

By our correspondents, 14 February 2014

WSWS reporters recently visited a Long Beach, California homeless shelter.

Socialist Equality Party kicks off campaign on social inequality with meeting in Minneapolis

By our reporters, 10 February 2014

The SEP and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality began a series of meetings on the growth of social inequality with a talk and discussion in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 5.

US CEOs made tens of billions on stock market rally

By Andre Damon, 6 February 2014

The heads of Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other companies made billions of dollars due to a surge in stock values.

Detroit infant mortality rate worst among large US cities

By Khara Sikhan, 4 February 2014

Detroit’s infant mortality rate of 14.7 per 1,000 live births is worse than in many developing nations.

Rolls Royce sales reflect mounting global social inequality

By Dietmar Henning, 1 February 2014

Record luxury cars sales reflect the super-rich’s stranglehold on the global population.

Obama’s State of the Union address: An empty and reactionary charade

By Joseph Kishore, 29 January 2014

Obama’s address on Tuesday was characterized, perhaps even more than any of his previous addresses, by tired rhetoric and right-wing policies.

Obama poses as opponent of inequality ahead of State of the Union address

By Andre Damon, 25 January 2014

After presiding over a year of unprecedented attacks on working people, President Obama plans to make the question of economic inequality the centerpiece of his State of the Union address.

Obama’s phony campaign against inequality

By Andre Damon, 10 January 2014

Announcing his “economic promise zone” initiative on Thursday, President Obama gave a performance that expressed the cynical and contemptuous attitude of his administration and the entire ruling class to the plight of working people in America.

New York City’s homeless suffer in record-breaking low temperatures

By Isaac Finn, 10 January 2014

As with Hurricane Sandy in 2012, extreme weather has exposed the blight of extreme social inequality in New York City.

As 2014 begins, New York City’s homeless population continues to grow

By Elliott Vernon, 3 January 2014

According to the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, nearly 64,000 people, including 22,000 children, are homeless in New York City.

Hundreds of thousands face Christmas holidays without electricity in US and Canada

By James Brewer, 27 December 2013

Utility monopolies like DTE Energy and Consumers Power in Michigan continue to shut off service to hundreds of thousands of homes for late or non-payment of bills.

Food stamp cuts hurting poor and low-income workers in Syracuse, New York

By Steve Filips and Samuel Davidson, 18 December 2013

The social safety net is in tatters as unprecedented cuts to programs leave many poor and low-income workers without food for longer periods

US college executive pay soars along with student debt

By Matthew MacEgan, 18 December 2013

While over 40 college presidents took in more than $1 million each in 2011, today’s average college graduate shoulders $29,000 in student loan debt.

Homeless crisis deepens in Massachusetts

By John Marion, 16 December 2013

Homeless families are being moved to motels as the state refuses to fund their needs.

Union-organized fast food worker action promotes Democratic Party

By Philip Guelpa, 7 December 2013

On Thursday, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and affiliated groups organized over 100 protests and demonstrations in cities across the United States.

Obama postures as an opponent of inequality

By Andre Damon, 5 December 2013

Having presided for the past five years over an unprecedented growth of social inequality, President Obama in a speech on Wednesday adopted the unlikely pose of tribune of egalitarian values.

Illinois legislature passes bill to cut pensions

By Kristina Betinis, 5 December 2013

The passage of cuts in Illinois only hours after a bankruptcy court ruled that the pensions of Detroit city workers can be slashed points to a nationally coordinated attack on the working class.

New report documents “a living death” in US prisons

By Fred Mazelis, 3 December 2013

The United States leads the world in imprisonment, and a new report documents the unconstitutional use of cruel and unusual punishment.

Los Angeles moves toward restricting food distributions in public places

By Marc Wells, 30 November 2013

Members of the Los Angeles City Council have proposed a measure that targets the homeless population and threatens basic democratic rights.

Inequality and poverty on the rise in New Jersey

By Elliott Vernon, 30 November 2013

A recent report found that poverty in the state of New Jersey continued to grow in the years following the financial crash of 2008, and has now reached levels not seen since the 1960 census.

Record number of homeless students in the US in 2013

By Isabelle Belanger, 29 November 2013

According to the US Department of Education, the number of homeless students increased by 10 percent in 2013, from 1,065,794 in 2012, to 1,168,354.

Albuquerque voters reject anti-abortion measure

By D. Lencho, 29 November 2013

On November 19, Albuquerque voters defeated a reactionary measure to restrict abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, the first attempt to pass such a bill at the municipal level.

Thanksgiving in America

By Andre Damon and Barry Grey, 28 November 2013

Even as food banks across the country report increasing demand and dwindling supplies, the US media is obsessed with snowstorms, travel delays and Black Friday sales.

On eve of Thanksgiving holiday

Hunger rises in US capital

By our reporters, 28 November 2013

Nearly one in eight households in the District of Columbia has been classified as “food insecure.”

Cuts to federal food assistance hit Illinois workers

By our reporters, 13 November 2013

Two million people, or 16 percent of the Illinois population, are affected by the SNAP benefits cut.

Unarmed Iowa teenager fatally shot by police

By George Marlowe, 11 November 2013

An unarmed 19-year-old man was fatally shot last Monday by police on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Nearly one in five hit by food stamp cuts in Michigan

By Debra Watson and Mitch Marcus, 9 November 2013

Nearly one in five in Michigan, the 1.8 million people currently on food assistance, will see a substantial cut in their food stamp benefit this month.

California: Food stamp recipients speak about cuts

By Julien Kiemle, 8 November 2013

The WSWS interviewed food stamp recipients in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento about the cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program.

Food stamp cuts devastate New York City’s poor

By our reporters, 6 November 2013

The cut in food stamp assistance that took place on November 1 will have a devastating impact on New York City’s poor.

Food assistance cut for 48 million Americans

Inequality and the political vacuum in the United States

By Andre Damon, 4 November 2013

As the US government moves to slash food assistance for tens of millions, approval for the Obama administration has hit a record low.

Los Angeles area residents speak out against food stamp cuts

By Dan Conway, 4 November 2013

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to workers in the Los Angeles area about the impact of the cuts.

Detroit workers denounce food stamp cuts

By WSWS reporting team, 2 November 2013

A World Socialist Web Site reporting team found widespread anger over the reduction in food stamp benefits.

Wealth and poverty in America

By Andre Damon, 25 October 2013

The extreme growth of social inequality, expressed in this week’s CEO pay figures, exposes with ever greater clarity the historical bankruptcy of the capitalist system.

Study reports growing poverty in San Diego

By Norisa Diaz, 25 October 2013

Census figures show that more than one third of the population, including many of the working poor, suffer serious economic hardship.

Top ten American CEOs take home over $100 million each

By Andre Damon, 24 October 2013

The top ten highest-paid CEOs received a combined $4.7 billion in 2012, setting a new record.

New York City: Hundreds protest city agency’s order that tenants must move

By Alan Whyte, 22 October 2013

Hundreds of tenants demonstrated on Saturday in Manhattan against the decision by New York City housing officials to compel them to move from apartments deemed too large.

Detroit residents forced to wait hours for buses

By Debra Watson, 21 October 2013

The WSWS spoke to residents of Detroit about the disastrous state of the city’s public transportation system.

Nearly half of US public school children are poor

By Kate Randall, 19 October 2013

Poverty in US public schools grew by 32 percent from 2001 to 2011—an increase of more than 5.7 million children.

One in two children impoverished after “economic recovery” in upstate New York

By Steve Filips, 19 October 2013

Every other child in Syracuse and other upstate New York cities is growing up in poverty.

Washington, DC living wage bill fails after mayor’s veto

By Adam Soroka, 26 September 2013

Washington DC Council failed to override Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act.

Minnesota leads US in falling living conditions

By Eric London, 23 September 2013

Minnesota’s median household income has fallen by $13,000 since the mid-2000s.

The looting of America

By Andre Damon, 19 September 2013

Two reports this week show how the financial elite parasitically enriches itself through the impoverishment of the great majority of the population.

In fourth year of Obama “recovery”

US Census report shows entrenched poverty and declining living standards

By Thomas Gaist, 18 September 2013

The US Census Bureau report on poverty for 2012 provides a snapshot of a social system in mortal crisis.

Cook County Jail most crowded jail in the US

By Christopher Davion, 18 September 2013

Recent police crackdowns and the closure of half of all area mental health facilities have brought the Cook County Jail population at its highest level in six years.

The social chasm in America

By Jerry White, 13 September 2013

Recently released figures document the growth of social inequality in America to levels not seen in nearly a century.

US income inequality soars to highest levels on record

By Joseph Kishore, 12 September 2013

The top 1 percent of income earners in the US took in 95 percent of all income gains between 2009 and 2012.

Income inequality grows four times faster under Obama than Bush

By Nick Barrickman, 3 September 2013

Income inequality grew four times faster in the first three years of the Obama administration than under Bush, according to figures published Saturday in the New York Times.

US families affected by unemployment up by 33 percent

By Andre Damon, 29 August 2013

The US Census Bureau report found an increase in many forms of social distress and a decline in signs of economic well-being.

New York City high-rise to have separate entrances for rich and poor

By Sandy English, 23 August 2013

Developers of a new luxury condo have planned separate entrances for tenants who purchase million-dollar condos and workers renting lower-cost apartments.

Jobless rate rises in more than half of US states

By Kate Randall, 21 August 2013

A majority of states continue to experience significant job losses as a result of budget cuts and the impact of the sequestration order signed by President Obama in March.

Tampa, Florida criminalizes homelessness

By Matthew MacEgan, 1 August 2013

The city of Tampa has passed an ordinance that allows police to arrest anyone found sleeping or storing personal property in public.

State government retaliates against leaders of California prisons strike

By Richard Vargas and Toby Reese, 25 July 2013

As California's largest-ever hunger strike entered its third week, prison officials began targeting strike leaders.

Washington, DC legislature passes “living wage” bill

By Patrick Archer and Nick Barrickman, 24 July 2013

Legislators in the nation’s capital passed a living wage bill that will do little to lift the fortunes of the city’s workers.

New York University employs Wall Street-style compensation for top staff

By Fred Mazelis, 24 July 2013

NYU, the largest private university in New York, has recently attracted attention for its lavish spending on perks for “star” professors and top administrators.

California prison conditions behind largest hunger strike in state history

By Richard Vargas, Juan Verala Luz and Jake Dean, 13 July 2013

The ongoing hunger strike being carried out by nearly 12,500 California prison inmates is a response to torture and inhumane conditions in the prison system

US child poverty surged in 2011

By Debra Watson, 13 July 2013

The number of children living in families with incomes below the official poverty level rose to 16.4 million, or 23 percent, in 2011.

Detroit’s Henry Street apartment evictions placed on hold

By Lawrence Porter, 13 July 2013

After facing the threat of eviction, residents of the Berwin Apartments in Detroit, Michigan were informed by the owner that the sale of the property had fallen through.

30,000 inmates take part in California’s largest hunger strike

By Richard Vargas and Jake Dean, 11 July 2013

Nearly 30,000 inmates in California prisons are entering into their fourth day of what has become the largest hunger strike in California history.

Double-digit rise in American CEO pay

By Matthew MacEgan, 2 July 2013

A new report shows that the median compensation of the highest paid US executives in 2012 was $15.1 million, 16 percent higher than the previous year.

Authorities witch-hunt homeless families in Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey

By Nick Barrickman, 1 July 2013

The criminalization of the poor and the brutality of the justice system in the US know virtually no limit.

Study shows most Americans have inadequate savings

By Shannon Jones, 26 June 2013

Some 27 percent of American workers are living paycheck to paycheck, with no savings to fall back on in case of emergency.

While slashing city workers pensions

Detroit officials find $286 million to subsidize new sports arena

By Julien Kiemle, 21 June 2013

Billionaire developer Mike Ilitch will construct a new arena, largely with public funds, for his Red Wings hockey franchise

Rhode Island: Disabled students forced to work in sweatshop conditions

By John Marion, 20 June 2013

The US Department of Justice, the State of Rhode Island and the city of Providence reached an interim settlement regarding a school for developmentally disabled students who had been forced to work for as little as 14 cents per hour.

US Congress debates deep cuts to food stamps as need surges

By Kate Randall, 15 June 2013

While food stamp usage stands at record highs, the two big business parties are debating how many billions should be slashed from the SNAP program.

US Senate bill cuts $4 billion from food stamp program

By Kate Randall, 12 June 2013

The Democrats’ farm bill would cut $4 billion over a decade from SNAP, even as people are turning to the program in record numbers.

Trial begins for Detroit police officer who killed seven-year-old

By James Brewer, 8 June 2013

Joseph Weekley, the police officer who shot 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in a 2010 raid, is the defendant in the case.

Unemployment, lack of education lead to higher US mortality rate

By Jake Dean, 6 June 2013

A new report finds that unemployment is one of the leading factors behind the growing gap in mortality rates between educated and non-educated white women in America.

The 2008 crisis and the restructuring of class relations in America

By Andre Damon, 4 June 2013

The 2008 crisis was seized upon to restructure class relations in the United States, throwing millions into poverty and slashing wages and living standards to enrich the financial oligarchy.

Wealth from economic “recovery” has gone to the richest Americans

By Nick Barrickman, 3 June 2013

A new study from the St. Louis Federal Reserve documents the vast disparity in the fortunes of American families since 2007, the product of the policy of the Obama administration.

Trillions hidden in tax havens by super-rich, corporations

By Julien Kiemle, 30 May 2013

The ultra-wealthy, banks and corporations have some $32 trillion of wealth hidden in off-shore tax havens, according to a leaked cache of information.

Job seekers camp out for applications in New York

By Dan Brennan, 29 May 2013

Hundreds of desperate job seekers queued on the street in New York City for up to six days for the chance to file applications for elevator service and repair apprenticeships.

Washington, DC health firm buyout leaves thousands without medical coverage

By Nick Barrickman, 27 May 2013

Chartered Health Plan, the District of Columbia’s largest health management firm, has been bought out after spending the greater part of the past year in financial difficulty.

US farm bill proposals include huge cuts to food assistance

By Ruby Rankin, 27 May 2013

The House farm bill includes almost $21 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program program over the next ten years.

Apple’s tax dodge: The case for public ownership

By Andre Damon, 24 May 2013

As social services are slashed allegedly because there is “no money,” Apple, the most profitable company in history, has avoided paying taxes on over $70 billion in income.

Poverty skyrockets in US suburbs

By Marcus Day, 23 May 2013

According to a new report by the Brookings Institution, poverty rose more than 64 percent in US suburbs from 2000 to 2011.

Pew report shows decline in retirement security for most Americans

By Ed Hightower, 18 May 2013

The study predicted increasing wealth inequality for each of five successive age groups as they approach retirement.

Four children and two adults killed in Pennsylvania house fire

By Samuel Davidson and Tom Eley, 18 May 2013

Water service had been shut off two weeks before a tragic Mother’s Day house fire took the lives of four children and two adults in the small town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

Spending on medicine dips in 2012 as Americans cut back on health care

By Kate Randall, 13 May 2013

Spending on prescription medicines fell in 2012, as growing out-of pocket costs forced more people to go without needed doctor visits, medicines and other treatments.