The Social Crisis in America

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.

US surpasses other industrialized countries in infant death rate

By Naomi Spencer, 9 May 2013

More than 11,000 American babies die on the day of birth, a number 50 percent higher than all other industrialized countries combined.

Seniors face eviction in Detroit gentrification plan

By a WSWS reporting team, 8 May 2013

Retired workers living in a rent-subsidized senior housing building in downtown Detroit are facing eviction.

Detroit residents speak out against mass evictions

By a campaign team, 1 May 2013

Residents of the Henry Street apartments, located in Detroit’s Cass Corridor, held a tenants meeting on Sunday to fight the eviction from their homes on May 20.

Con Ed lavishes bonuses on top executives

By Philip Guelpa, 1 May 2013

Consolidated Edison is giving its top executives bonuses for “exemplary” work in 2012, a year marked by a month-long lockout of 8,000 workers and a collapse of electrical power during Superstorm Sandy.

Study finds nearly half of New Yorkers living in or near poverty

By Philip Guelpa, 30 April 2013

A new report by the New York City Commission on Economic Opportunity finds that over 20 percent of the residents in America’s most populous city live in poverty.

Eight children dead in fires in the US south

By Nick Barrickman, Rosa Shahnazarian and Matthew MacEgan, 29 April 2013

Two devastating house fires claimed the lives of nine people in Georgia and South Carolina last week.

New report finds increase in social inequality during US “recovery”

By Ed Hightower, 25 April 2013

A Pew report found that the poorest 93 percent of US households saw a four percent decline in net worth between 2009 and 2011, while the wealthiest seven percent saw a 28 percent increase.

Child poverty in US among the highest in developed world

By Nick Barrickman, 18 April 2013

A new report by the United Nations details the growing levels of poverty facing children in the major capitalist countries, with the US ranking near the bottom on all metrics.

North Carolina bill requires background checks for public assistance

By Matthew MacEgan, 15 April 2013

The North Carolina House has approved a bill requiring background checks for those seeking welfare assistance or food stamps.

Low-income students six times more likely to drop out of high school

By Khara Sikhan, 10 April 2013

Rising numbers of US teenagers feel compelled to join the workforce to supplement strained household budgets.

Steubenville, Ohio: Portrait of a rust belt city

By Phyllis Scherrer and Samuel Davidson, 8 April 2013

Steubenville recently gained notoriety because of a tragedy last August which resulted in the conviction of two teenage boys for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

Augusta, Georgia: Police hold back crowd in near-food riot

By Eric London, 1 April 2013

The crowd of 300 watched in anger as the large pile of fresh groceries was thrown into dumpsters and carted away to rot in a nearby landfill.

Stock markets and food stamps at record highs

The two sides of the US economic “recovery”

By Kate Randall, 30 March 2013

The growth of social inequality since the 2008 financial crash is the product of definite policies pursued first under Bush and then under the Obama administration.

US food stamp use swells to a record 47.8 million

By Kate Randall, 29 March 2013

Enrollment in the food assistance program has increased by 70 percent since 2008, driven by a stagnating job market and rising poverty levels.

Increasing number of US seniors living in poverty

By Niles Williamson, 26 March 2013

Many elderly Americans are being forced out of retirement or are working well into their retirement years to cover their debts, living expenses, and health care needs.

US corporate executives cash in

By Andre Damon, 22 March 2013

As the US government prepares to furlough one million federal workers and slash tens of billions in social spending, corporate executives in the United States are taking some of the highest payouts in history.

The collapse of Detroit: An indictment of American capitalism

By Jerry White, 7 March 2013

Wall Street’s financial elite celebrated a new record Dow Jones Industrial Average this week, even as the city of Detroit plunged towards bankruptcy.

New York City homeless population reaches Great Depression levels

By Fred Mazelis, 7 March 2013

The Coalition for the Homeless reports an average nightly total of more than 50,000 in New York’s shelters, a record “since modern homelessness emerged three decades ago.”

Sequester cuts boost corporate assault on American workers

By Kate Randall, 5 March 2013

The media presentation of the sequester as a symptom of “gridlock” and bitter policy differences between the Democrats and Republicans is a cynical fraud.

Washington, DC shelter residents speak on living conditions

By our correspondents, 4 March 2013

The hearing held to address conditions facing DC homeless people was an attempt at damage control.

New York to use public housing and school property for luxury high-rises

By Sandy English, 1 March 2013

The move is aimed at beginning the privatization of public housing stock in New York City

New York City homelessness continues to set new records

By Fred Mazelis, 26 February 2013

Mayor Michael Bloomberg dismissed complaints that the city had turned away homeless families from municipal shelters.

Inequality and American democracy

By Joseph Kishore, 16 February 2013

The latest figures on inequality in the US expose the vast transfer of wealth that has occurred during the first years of the “economic recovery.”

600 children living in Washington, DC homeless shelter

By Naomi Spencer, 14 February 2013

A single homeless shelter in the nation’s capital is crowded with nearly 1,000 residents.

Another Detroit child dies in house fire

By Lawrence Porter, 30 January 2013

Early Tuesday morning, a six-year-old child died in a house fire on Detroit’s southwest side. His brother, 4, was hospitalized in critical condition.

Detroit house fire kills nine-month-old child

By Bryan Dyne and Lawrence Porter, 28 January 2013

The Wayne County Medical Examiner issued a report stating that the child, Akira Perkins-Williams, succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Ranks of US working poor grow dramatically

By Kate Randall, 18 January 2013

More than 47 million people in the US live in families where their jobs do not pay enough to lift them out of poverty.

Growing share of US workers forced to tap retirement accounts

By Kate Randall, 16 January 2013

Workers are depleting their 401(k) retirement plans to pay their mortgages, medical bills, college tuition and credit card debt.

California prison overcrowding set to worsen as governor raises state cap

By Julien Kiemle, 16 January 2013

The barbaric conditions that characterize California's prison system will only worsen as Democratic Governor Jerry Brown announces his plan to raise the cap on the state's prison population.

Columbia geophysicist Klaus Jacob on Hurricane Sandy

“Disasters always amplify pre-existing inequities”

By Daniel de Vries, 14 January 2013

The WSWS spoke with Columbia research scientist Klaus Jacob about the lessons of his research into climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Thousands line up for aid

Police shut down housing voucher distribution in Detroit suburb

By Shannon Jones, 14 January 2013

Thousands seeking housing assistance overwhelmed the human services center in the Detroit suburb of Taylor early Saturday morning.

Billionaires gain as living standards fall

By Patrick Martin, 11 January 2013

The world’s 100 richest people increased their wealth by $241 billion in 2012.

Tens of thousands of distressed Michigan families losing welfare benefits

By Debra Watson, 9 January 2013

Thousands more Michigan families who are unemployed or underemployed will abruptly lose welfare under a new law.

California jobs report underscores deepening inequality

By Karl Eisner, 8 January 2013

The most populous state in the US, with the largest number of billionaires, is plagued by joblessness and poverty.

Homelessness soars among US Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans

By Shannon Jones, 31 December 2012

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 62,619 veterans are homeless on a given night.

Fear of food scarcity hits US capital, outlying suburbs

By Nick Barrickman, 31 December 2012

In the areas surrounding Washington DC, students qualifying for free or subsidized meals face a difficult period ahead.

Report details massive growth of social inequality across US

By Nick Barrickman, 24 December 2012

Since 1989, inequality has grown in 49 of 50 US states, and 28 states have seen inequality increase simultaneously by measurements of education, income and poverty.

Uninsured in Detroit speak on health care crisis

“It is like they are trying to find a way to kill us off”

By a WSWS reporting team, 14 December 2012

A WSWS reporting team recently spoke to medically uninsured Detroit residents participating in a free health screening.

Michigan woman killed in blaze near closed fire station

By David Brown and Andre Damon, 7 December 2012

A 73-year old Alabama woman visiting relatives in Taylor, Michigan burned to death in a mobile home Thursday morning in a fire rescuers believe could have been ignited by a space heater.

New study details growth of income inequality across US

By Clement Daly, 4 December 2012

Income gaps between the richest and poorest US households have widened significantly since the late 1970s and continue to grow at a dizzying pace.

US birth rate falls to lowest since 1920

By Kate Randall, 3 December 2012

Among wide layers of the US population, increasing numbers are putting off parenthood due to poverty, job loss and other economic stresses.

Nearly 50 million living in poverty in US

By Kate Randall, 16 November 2012

The news that nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty received little attention in the media or from the Obama administration a little more than a week after the 2012 elections.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy: Aid for Coney Island too little and too late

By Sandy English, 3 November 2012

New York City’s Coney Island was badly hit by Hurricane Sandy on Monday night and has received minimal aid from government agencies.

New York City public housing without lights, heat or water after storm

By a WSWS reporting team, 1 November 2012

Three days after Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, thousands of residents of public housing remain without electricity, heat or running water and, in many cases, are living in flood-like conditions, particularly in lower Manhattan.

New York City housing crisis reflects record inequality

By Fred Mazelis, 23 October 2012

The city’s homeless shelter population hits new records every month, while the billionaire mayor reports a net worth of $25 billion.

Poverty rises sharply in Illinois

By Marcus Day, 16 October 2012

New data released by the Census Bureau reveals that greater numbers of Illinois workers and unemployed are falling into poverty.

Family protests after officials call off search for trapped worker in Florida garage collapse

By Eric London, 15 October 2012

Just 13 hours after three workers were killed and ten others were injured in a garage collapse in Miami, Florida, officials called off a search for the missing.

Detroit man killed in attempted copper theft

By Naomi Spencer, 13 October 2012

The electrocution of a Detroit man during an attempted copper theft gives an indication of the desperate social conditions in the city.

Federal home heating cuts spell hardship for US families this winter

By Shannon Jones, 12 October 2012

The return of seasonably cold weather this winter means higher home heating costs at a time when assistance programs are being cut.

Wall Street vs. workers—the class gap widens

By Jerry White and SEP candidate for president, 11 October 2012

Wall Street pay and profits have hit record levels since the 2008 crash.

Poverty grows in Washington DC suburbs

By Nick Barrickman, 27 September 2012

The Washington DC area, including 7 of the 10 wealthiest counties in the United States, has witnessed a growth of poverty in the wake of the 2008 financial disaster.

Romney’s “47 percent” video and the bipartisan assault on social reform

By Barry Grey, 25 September 2012

In all of their criticisms, the Democrats have carefully avoided the basic issue: Romney’s flat-out assertion that people do not have the right to food, health care and a roof over their heads.

Net worth of richest Americans soars by 13 percent in 2012

By Shannon Jones, 21 September 2012

According to a survey just published by Forbes magazine, the net wealth of the richest Americans rose by 13 percent in 2012 at the same time that median wealth for households is plummeting

More than 50 million face hunger in the US

By Kate Randall, 7 September 2012

A USDA study shows that one in six people in the US lives in a household that is at risk for hunger.