The Social Crisis in America

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.

New York’s Woolworth building to be turned into luxury apartments

By Philip Guelpa, 31 August 2012

The $150 million deal to create new apartments in one of New York’s first skyscrapers is an index of inequality, which continues to widen in the midst of the growing economic crisis.

US “Fifty Wealthiest Lawmakers” list: A Congress of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich

By Eric London, 27 August 2012

Last week’s report by Washington D.C. political blog The Hill details the vast wealth of House and Senate members.

Legal Aid forced to lay off 750 workers in US

By Alan Gilman, 27 August 2012

Eight percent of the lawyers and support staff will be laid off from the federal legal services nonprofit due to congressional budget cuts.

Survey shows continuing hunger across US as Congress prepares to cut food stamps

By Peter Daniels, 25 August 2012

A Gallup poll shows many parts of the country with more than 20 percent of families facing hunger, while drought conditions push food costs further beyond the reach of millions.

The Queen of Versailles: American “royalty” seeks to build its own palace

By Fred Mazelis, 11 August 2012

A new documentary tells the tale of a Florida billionaire and lifts the lid on a portion of American social reality.

GE executive to be paid $89,000 a month for not working

By David Walsh, 7 August 2012

In return for agreeing not to go to work for any of GE’s rivals for three years, company executive John Krenicki will be paid a “retirement allowance” of $89,000 a month for ten years, or some $10.7 million.

Child poverty in US capital increases sharply

By Nikolai Barrickman, 3 August 2012

D.C. Kids Count reports that as of 2010, nearly 31,000, or 1 in 3 children in the District of Columbia lives in poverty.

$129 million pay package for new Yahoo CEO

By Barry Grey, 24 July 2012

The obscene compensation package for Marissa Mayer—at a time when manufacturing workers are being told their new wage benchmark is $13 an hour or less—is but one more expression of the decay of capitalism and the decadence of the new aristocracy that presides over it.

Massive growth of executive pay in US capital

By Nikolai Barrickman, 12 July 2012

A recent report by the Washington Post shows the massive growth of executive pay in the US capital as part of their attempts to skirt regulatory measures.

Billionaires bid for “trophy homes” in New York while homelessness rises

By Fred Mazelis, 29 June 2012

The greed and arrogance of the super-rich knows no limits, as shown by the continuing rise in luxury home prices in New York City, in the midst of deepening crisis.

The new aristocracy

By Andre Damon, 28 June 2012

As governments throughout the world close schools, lay off workers and slash support to the poor, old and sick, the financial oligarchy that rules the world increases its wealth and power.

Billionaire Oracle CEO buys Hawaiian island

By James Brewer, 22 June 2012

Larry Ellison, America’s third richest man, is closing the deal on the purchase of the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands.

Young people in US face bleak job prospects

By David Brown, 9 June 2012

The continuing jobs crisis in the US presents youth with few options for making a living.

AIG chief executive complains: Workers are living too long

By David Brown, 6 June 2012

The CEO of one of the biggest US insurance companies has called for raising the retirement age as much as 80.

US CEO pay continues to climb

By David Brown, 28 May 2012

Two recent studies on executive compensation show a marked increase in the pay of America’s top business figures.

More US states pursuing drug testing for welfare recipients

By Naomi Spencer, 18 May 2012

Oklahoma and Tennessee join a growing list of states that will require drug testing of welfare applicants.

Survey finds 23 percent rise in street homelessness in New York City

By Ali Ismail, 16 May 2012

The number of homeless people living on the streets of New York City increased by 23 percent in one year according to an annual survey conducted by the city’s Department of Homeless Services.

Water contamination in Maywood, California

By Marc Wells, 14 May 2012

Maywood, California in Los Angeles County is one of many US cities suffering from a lack of access to one of the most basic requirements of modern society: clean drinking water.

Hunger Stalks America—Part 3

Metropolitan Detroit’s staggering need for food

By Lawrence Porter, 4 May 2012

The WSWS spoke with an administrator from the Gleaners Food Bank of Southeast Michigan at the Feeding America, Unity 2012 conference last month.

Hunger Stalks America—Part 2

Arizona, Arkansas and Texas: “What is the face of hunger?”

By Lawrence Porter, 3 May 2012

Delegates from South Central and Southwest US spoke to the WSWS at the Feeding America, Unity 2012 conference in Detroit last month.

Hunger stalks America—Part 1

Unity 2012: The Feeding America Network Summit

By Lawrence Porter, 2 May 2012

Feeding America, the leading hunger-relief charity in the US, sponsored the Unity 2012 conference in downtown Detroit last month.

Spate of fires kills eight in Philadelphia

By Naomi Spencer, 18 April 2012

Three fires in less than a week have claimed eight lives in Philadelphia. Behind the tragedies looms a spiraling social crisis in the United States.

Michigan Sierra Club: 200,000 DTE Energy shutoffs in 2011

By Lawrence Porter and Shannon Jones, 16 April 2012

The Michigan Sierra Club reports that DTE Energy shut off nearly 200,000 customers in 2011.

The case of Amber Alvarez: An indictment of conditions in the working class

By Christopher Davion, 13 April 2012

Amber Alvarez, a US armed forces veteran and mother of three, has been locked up in jail since last summer due to inadequate legal services.

The Obama recovery: Rhetoric and reality

By Andre Damon and Barry Grey, 12 April 2012

Having devoted his entire tenure to protecting and expanding the wealth of the financial elite at the expense of the working population, Obama is now presenting himself as the partisan of the common man and opponent of greed and privilege.

Wall Street speculators continue to rake in billions

By Andre Damon, 6 March 2012

Three and a half years after the eruption of the financial crisis, the Wall Street speculators responsible for the crash continue to rake in billions of dollars while benefiting from ongoing government bailouts and a de facto amnesty for their crimes.

Extreme poverty in US has more than doubled since 1996

By David Walsh, 25 February 2012

According to the National Poverty Center, the number of households in the US living in extreme poverty—on less than $2 a day per person—has increased by 130 percent since 1996.

Telephone industry pushes to end landline service in Kentucky

By Naomi Spencer, 21 February 2012

Telephone companies in Kentucky are pressing the state to allow for the discontinuation of basic landline service in “less profitable” areas.

California hunger striker dies as prison conditions deteriorate

By Jack Hood, 21 February 2012

Christian Alexander Gomez, a 27 year-old inmate, died last week at the Corcoran State Prison in California after four days on a hunger strike to protest poor conditions.

Tent camp reveals social inequality in Ann Arbor, Michigan

By Mitch Marcus and Janel Flechsig, 20 February 2012

Last week, a WSWS team visited Camp Take Notice, a homeless encampment in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to speak with residents and document conditions. The tent camp is home to about 35 people.

Chicago’s Hull House closes after 120 years of service

By Shane Feratu and Scott Martin, 8 February 2012

The Jane Addams Hull House Association, one of the largest non-profit social service organizations in Chicago, abruptly shut down on Friday, January 27, after 120 years.

Third police killing in one week in New York City

By Peter Daniels, 6 February 2012

New York City police kill an unarmed teenager in his Bronx home, the latest example of targeting of working-class youth.

Study reports that New Yorkers struggle to put food on the table

By Ali Ismail, 4 February 2012

Four years after the onset of the economic crisis, long-term unemployment is fueling hunger in the financial capital of the US.

US CEO pay reaches new heights

By David Walsh, 28 January 2012

One report notes that 2011 was “the year of the $50 million-plus CEO” in the US. Another study points to executives who have received “golden parachutes” worth more than $100 million. CEOs of bankrupt firms do all right too.

Republican presidential candidate Romney reports income of $21 million a year

By Patrick Martin, 25 January 2012

The Republican presidential candidate collected as much in a single day as the average American family makes in a full year.

New studies show growth of poverty, class tensions in US

By Kate Randall, 14 January 2012

Two new studies document the growth of poverty in America and a heightened awareness of the social tensions arising from the conflict between the rich and poor.

Detroit-area CEOs rake in millions while city prepares further cuts

By Shannon Jones, 11 January 2012

The fat paychecks of top CEOs in the Detroit area stand in obscene contrast to the desperate state of the city’s finances and much of its population.

US unions aid in corporate wage-cutting campaign

By Joseph Kishore, 31 December 2011

A New York Times article leading the newspaper’s business section on Friday praises the role of the trade unions in promoting an unprecedented decline in manufacturing wages in the US.

Christmas of crisis in America

By Patrick Martin, 23 December 2011

Poverty, unemployment and inequality are the dominant features of American society at the end of 2011

The lamentations of the rich

By Alex Lantier and David North, 22 December 2011

Recent months have seen the eruption of popular anger throughout the United States at the staggering levels of social inequality, with the Occupy Wall Street protests gathering broad popular sympathy and support.

US hunger, homelessness soar amid cuts in social spending

Half of Americans either poor or low-income

By Andre Damon, 16 December 2011

Amid continuous attacks on social services in the United States, hunger and homelessness are growing at epidemic rates.

“A Third World in our own backyard”

US child homelessness soars

By Barry Grey, 15 December 2011

More than 1.6 million children in the United States, or one in 45, are homeless, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Center on Family Homelessness.

Childhood poverty and hunger deepen in Oregon

By Hector Cordon, 5 December 2011

Two recent Census Bureau reports highlight the growing distress facing working class and poor children in Oregon.

Michigan holds sham review process on welfare cuts

By Lawrence Porter, 2 December 2011

In the face of national notoriety for Michigan’s ruthless 48-month cash assistance welfare limit, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder initiated a series of mass appeals hearings this week.

Inequality in Boston

By John Marion, 26 November 2011

A recent report measuring poverty in Boston concludes that the city is in one of “the most unequal counties in the nation.”

Nearly half of US Congress members are millionaires

By Andre Damon, 25 November 2011

Two studies published this month point to the transformation of the United States into a plutocracy.

US Census figures show jump in child poverty

By Fred Mazelis, 22 November 2011

Figures released by the US Census Bureau indicate an official child poverty rate of 21.6 percent, the highest since the specific surveys of child poverty began in 2001.

US more segregated in rich and poor neighborhoods

By Barry Grey, 17 November 2011

A new study released Wednesday on the relationship between family income and housing patterns in the US underscores the degree to which social inequality pervades every aspect of life in America.

A tale of two cities 2011

Social reality in New York

By Fred Mazelis, 15 November 2011

New York remains the most vivid exhibit of the misery created by twenty-first century capitalism alongside levels of parasitism that recall pre-revolutionary France or Russia.

A portrait of America in decline

By Patrick Martin, 31 October 2011

A series of reports over the past ten days—on poverty, wages, income inequality and social mobility—have painted a portrait of America starkly at odds with the official mythology of the United States as the land of unlimited economic opportunity.

Government report says richest 1 percent doubled their share of US national income

By Barry Grey, 27 October 2011

A study released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that the richest 1 percent of US households nearly tripled their income between 1979 and 2007 and doubled their share of the national income.

Five thousand register for the free health care clinic in Los Angeles

By our correspondents, 21 October 2011

The huge turnout for the free clinic, sponsored by CareNow, is another demonstration of the desperate and growing health care crisis in the United States.

Workers’ incomes plummet during the Obama “recovery”

By Barry Grey, 11 October 2011

As the anti-Wall Street protests against social inequality and the tyranny of the financial oligarchy spread across the US, a new study released Monday documents the devastating decline in working class living standards over the past four years.

The political issues in the fight against Wall Street

By Bill Van Auken, 5 October 2011

The Occupy Wall Street protest, now in its third week, has struck a powerful chord throughout the US, with similar occupations developing in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities and towns across the country.

US becomes a center of poverty-wage manufacturing

By Andre Damon, 29 September 2011

With the full backing of the Obama administration, US and foreign-based corporations are transforming the US into a cheap labor platform in direct competition with Mexico, China and other low-wage countries.

Wealth and poverty in America

By Joseph Kishore, 23 September 2011

The wealth of the richest 400 Americans increased 12 percent over the past year, while new census figures document a shocking increase in the level of poverty in cities and communities throughout the country.

Poverty soars among young families in US

By Naomi Spencer, 22 September 2011

More than one in three young families with children were living in poverty in the US last year, the highest rate ever recorded.

Top US corporations paid CEOs more than they paid in taxes

By James Brewer, 1 September 2011

Telecommunications giant Verizon, which is demanding huge concessions from its workers, is one of the corporate giants that paid less in US taxes in 2010 than they paid to their chief executive officers.

Report paints devastating portrait of conditions of US children

By Nikolai Barrickman and Kate Randall, 2 August 2011

The Children’s Defense Fund details the tremendous decline in social conditions for America’s children since the onset of the recession.

An interview with George Coling of the National Fuel Funds Network

By Lawrence Porter, 20 July 2011

The WSWS spoke with George Coling at the recent National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference in Florida.

Notes on the US social crisis

By Naomi Spencer, 20 July 2011

The economic crisis manifests itself in virtually every facet of working class living conditions in the US.

Utility Affordability Conference in Florida: Increased need, decreased support

By Lawrence Porter and Toby Reese, 20 July 2011

The National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference (NEUAC) was held June 27-29 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, amidst the growing utility crisis in the United States.

An interview with Florida attorney Viletta Coombs

By Lawrence Porter and Toby Reese, 20 July 2011

An interview with Viletta Coombs at the National Energy and Utility Affordability Converence.

Need overwhelms Southern California food pantries

By Ramon Valle, 18 July 2011

Los Angeles and Orange Counties, known as centers of Southern California wealth and glamour, are now home to half a million people seeking help from food pantries.

The dramatic effect of poverty on death rates in the US

By Debra Watson, 13 July 2011

A research team from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has estimated that 875,000 deaths in the US in 2000 could be attributed to a cluster of social factors bound up with poverty and income inequality.

Youth face jobless summer in New York City

By Dwight Stoll and Sandy English, 11 July 2011

For people between the ages of 16 and 24, the official unemployment figure officially stands at 25 percent.

Young and Jobless in Chicago

Part 3: Budget cuts

By Andre Damon, 6 July 2011

In this video, the third in a series on youth unemployment in Chicago, youth services workers speak about the disastrous effects of budget cuts on summer employment programs and activities.

CEO pay in US soared 23 percent in 2010

By Barry Grey, 4 July 2011

While US unemployment remains at near-Depression levels and health care, pensions and education are being slashed by all levels of the government, the pay of corporate CEOs is soaring.

The land of unlimited inequality

By Patrick Martin, 23 June 2011

The gap in the United States between the wealthy and everyone else has widened to unprecedented dimensions.

Life expectancy declining in many parts of US

By Patrick Martin, 16 June 2011

The United States is falling further and further behind other industrialized countries. \

Obama in Joplin: More empty promises to disaster survivors

By Patrick Martin, 30 May 2011

While the president promised not to forget the tornado victims, the scale of federal aid is entirely inadequate.

Cuts in US welfare programs hit hundreds of thousands of poor families

By James Brewer, 30 May 2011

A recent report documents the erosion of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and warns of drastic cuts that many states are implementing that will put even more Americans at risk.

A letter on the Joplin tornado and Wal-Mart

28 May 2011

The WSWS publishes here a reader’s letter in response to “The Joplin, Missouri tornado” on the dominance of Wal-Mart over the region.

The two Americas

By Tom Eley, 6 April 2011

Recent reports underscore how the US financial elite has used the economic crisis to further enrich itself at the expense of the vast majority of the people.

Poverty, homelessness climb among US schoolchildren

By Debra Watson, 30 March 2011

The government estimates that 25 percent of American children will soon be in poverty and 1.5 million children are homeless.

Massachusetts: Hundreds of thousands affected by proposed LIHEAP cuts

By John Marion, 16 March 2011

Thousands of Massachusetts families face having Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) benefits cut in half next year under the White House’s proposed budget.

US corporate profits return to record levels

By Andre Damon, 1 March 2011

While millions of people confront the daily miseries of unemployment, home foreclosure and poverty as a result of the economic crisis, corporate profits have continued to swell.

Video: In fifth day of Wisconsin protests, largest showing yet

By Andre Damon, 21 February 2011

Between 50,000 and 100,000 people packed the capitol square in Madison, Wisconsin on February 19, demonstrating the popular hostility to austerity measures proposed by governor Scott Walker.

The Wisconsin protests and the re-emergence of the American working class

By Bill Van Auken, 18 February 2011

Protests by tens of thousands of state workers, teachers and their supporters against sweeping social cuts in Wisconsin mark a turning point in the United States.

Video: Madison, Wisconsin demonstrations gain strength

By Andre Damon, 18 February 2011

Demonstrations continued Thursday in Madison, Wisconsin, as thousands of people packed the state legislature, while tens of thousands protested outside.

Video: Workers, students speak on budget cuts in Madison

By Andre Damon, 17 February 2011

Tens of thousands of workers and students protested on February 17 in Madison, Wisconsin against Governor Scott Walker's plan to end collective bargaining for state employees.

Unite workers and youth to defeat Wisconsin budget cuts

By the Socialist Equality Party and the International Students for Social Equality, 16 February 2011

Supporters of the Socialist Equality Party and the International Students for Socialist Equality are distributing this statement to oppose Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s social cuts and attacks on workers’ right to strike.

Obama’s budget and the rot of American capitalism

By Patrick Martin, 15 February 2011

Two years after the multi-trillion dollar bailout of the banks, the Obama administration is proposing more than $1 trillion in cuts, largely to programs that benefit the working class.

Detroit cuts funding for homeless warming centers

By Naomi Spencer, 29 January 2011

Budget cuts carried out on the quiet have prevented emergency warming centers in Detroit from opening their doors all winter, leaving thousands of homeless and poor residents in the bitter cold.

Auto show: Car executives, UAW officials celebrate “return of Detroit”

By Jerry White, 18 January 2011

The auto show in Detroit is being used to celebrate the auto industry’s return to profitability, a year after the White House oversaw the gutting of auto workers’ jobs, wages and benefits.

Wall Street celebrates record profits

By Tom Eley, 18 January 2011

JPMorgan Chase’s profit report for 2010 has become the occasion for a celebration by the American plutocracy of the return of the good old days before the Wall Street crash of 2008.

1.5 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2010

By Jerry White, 6 January 2011

The number of people in the US filing for bankruptcy rose by 9 percent last year to 1.53 million, as more working families fell victim to job losses, plunging home values and unforgiving creditors.

A modest pay

By David Walsh, 6 January 2011

President Barack Obama, noting the imminent departure of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in an interview with the New York Times January 5, let slip a revealing remark.