US States Budget Crisis

US budget deal sets stage for intensified assault on social programs

By Andre Damon and Barry Grey, 17 October 2013

The budget agreement passed by Congress Wednesday establishes the framework for a bipartisan deal to deepen cuts in social spending and initiate an historic attack on Social Security and Medicare.

Chicago mayor announces elimination of retiree health care subsidies

By Alexander Fangmann, 17 October 2013

Health insurance subsidies for 30,000 workers, as well as their spouses and dependents, will be phased out over three years.

Detroit emergency manager eliminates retiree health care benefits

By Jerry White, 16 October 2013

Nearly 20,000 retired municipal workers in Detroit will see their city-paid health benefits disappear as of January 1, 2014.

Amid government shutdown, Obama signals cuts to Social Security, Medicare

By Andre Damon, 9 October 2013

US President Barack Obama reassured congressional Republicans that he would agree to entitlement cuts if they vote to increase the government’s debt limit.

The real causes of the New York City Opera bankruptcy

By Fred Mazelis, 7 October 2013

Postmortem comments on the death of the New York City Opera ignore the fundamental issues raised by the collapse of the “people’s opera.”

Day three of US shutdown: Talks focus on cuts to Medicare and Social Security

By Andre Damon, 4 October 2013

There were more indications Thursday that the aim of both the Democrats and Republicans in negotiations to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling will focus on major cuts to entitlement programs.

San Jose, California moves to slash pensions

By David Brown, 30 September 2013

California’s third largest city is preparing to slash pensions for new-hires, current employees and retirees.

Detroit emergency manager to freeze city pensions

By Andre Damon, 28 September 2013

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr announced a plan Thursday to freeze the city’s pension plans, wiping out benefits for thousands of workers.

The class issues in the US budget crisis

By Andre Damon, 27 September 2013

Behind the largely stage-managed facade of “partisan gridlock,” the Democratic and Republican Parties are united in attacking the social conditions and living standards of working people.

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.

California governor strikes deal with the Labor Department over transit pensions

By Gabriel Black, 23 September 2013

Governor Jerry Brown has orchestrated an emergency agreement with the federal government that will restore $1.6 billion in public transit grants that had been revoked due to a dispute over Brown’s 2012 pension reform.

Court ruling grants bankruptcy protection to California city

By Dan Conway, 31 August 2013

Bankruptcy protection in San Bernardino, California will allow the city to drastically cut payments to the state pension fund.

Workers speak out against New York hospital closures

By Dan Brennan, 28 August 2013

Angered by layoffs and health care cuts in New York neighborhoods, workers and patients denounce the spate of hospital closures.

Defunding threatens school libraries throughout US

By Isabelle Belanger, 24 August 2013

Steep budget cuts accompanied by the damaging impact of standardized testing are undermining funding for school libraries and professionally certified school librarians.

Food stamps to be cut for 1.8 million people in Pennsylvania

By Samuel Davidson, 17 August 2013

Some 1.8 million people in Pennsylvania will have their food stamps cut in November. Another 110,000 families have been denied benefits since an asset test was started in 2012.

UAW head calls for restructuring Detroit on the model of the auto industry

By Shannon Jones, 15 August 2013

In the wake of the Detroit bankruptcy filing, the UAW is calling for sacrifices to be imposed on workers in line with the 2009 forced bankruptcy and restructuring of the auto industry.

Rhode Island workers’ pensions cut as hedge funds profit

By John Marion, 12 August 2013

While investing a large percentage of state pension money in hedge funds, Rhode Island is increasing the retirement age for state workers and cutting benefits.

Obama rejects federal aid for Detroit

By Jerry White, 30 July 2013

The president has rejected any assistance to Detroit in the midst of his bogus campaign to defend the “middle class.”

Detroit firefighters speak out on bankruptcy

By Tim Rivers and Jerry White, 29 July 2013

Rank-and-file firefighters are seeking to mobilize opposition to the emergency manager’s attack on pensions and essential services.

California pensions remain underfunded despite fiscal gains

By Gabriel Black, 29 July 2013

California state employee pension systems posted large gains in their portfolios, however, they remain massively underfunded.

AFL-CIO shrugs off Detroit bankruptcy

By Patrick Martin, 29 July 2013

The union apparatus will not lift a finger to defend Detroit workers.

Growing anger among Detroit workers against attack on pensions, services

By Usman Clemens, 27 July 2013

Opposition is mounting among Detroit workers to the drive by the city’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr and Michigan governor Rick Snyder to use the city’s bankruptcy to slash social services and rip up workers’ pensions.

Michigan dissolves two school districts

By Shannon Jones, 26 July 2013

The Buena Vista and Inkster are being dissolved and their students transferred to other districts, in the latest attack on public education in the state.

The Detroit bankruptcy and the assault on democratic rights

By Jerry White, 26 July 2013

The bankruptcy filing by Detroit’s unelected emergency manager last week is the outcome of an anti-democratic conspiracy conducted by top political officials from both the Republican and Democratic Parties.

Detroit firefighters protesting bankruptcy discuss expanding fight against pension and budget cuts

By our reporters, 25 July 2013

Detroit firefighters with the Public Safety Workers Action Group (PSWAG) talked to the WSWS outside of the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit about the need to mount a wider struggle against the bankruptcy filing

Leaked emails reveal conspiracy to throw Detroit into bankruptcy

By Bryan Dyne, 24 July 2013

As far back as January there were backroom discussions on bankruptcy between Detroit and Lansing public officials and the corporate law firm Jones Day.

Oppose the Detroit bankruptcy!

Statement by D’Artagnan Collier, SEP candidate for Detroit mayor

24 July 2013

The SEP is calling on workers and youth to distribute this statement as widely as possible and build the August 4 campaign meeting at Wayne State University.

A call to action: Oppose the Detroit bankruptcy!

By Barry Grey, 23 July 2013

In city after city, preparations are underway to impose massive cuts using the mechanism of unelected officials and the legal framework of the bankruptcy courts.

Detroit firefighters protest bankruptcy, pension cuts

By our reporters, 23 July 2013

Detroit firefighters are picketing fire stations this week to protest the move to throw the city into bankruptcy and attack the jobs and pensions of municipal employees.

Detroit bankruptcy sets stage for national assault on public-sector pensions

By Jerry White, 22 July 2013

The Obama administration sees the attack on Detroit workers as paving the way to slash benefits owed to state and municipal workers throughout the country

Detroit workers speak on city’s bankruptcy

By Zac Corrigan, 22 July 2013

There is broad popular opposition throughout Detroit to the bankruptcy and the attacks being planned on the working class.

The Detroit bankruptcy

By Barry Grey, 20 July 2013

Detroit has been bled dry as a result of a deliberate policy pursued by the auto companies, the banks and the ruling class as a whole over a period of nearly four decades.

Detroit bankruptcy filing paves the way for assault on workers

By Shannon Jones, 20 July 2013

Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager overseeing the financial restructuring of Detroit, defended their decision to force the city into Chapter 9 bankruptcy at a press conference Friday.

D’Artagnan Collier end-of-election meeting in Detroit

No to bankruptcy! Mobilize the working class against the bankers dictatorship!

20 July 2013

D’Artagnan Collier, Socialist Equality Party candidate for Detroit mayor, will speak at 2 p.m. on August 4 at Wayne State University.

Emergency manager throws Detroit into bankruptcy

By Jerry White, 19 July 2013

The emergency manager overseeing the financial restructuring of Detroit filed a petition in federal court Thursday afternoon throwing the city of 700,000 residents into Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

The social devastation of Detroit

By Jerry White, 18 July 2013

Financial dictator Kevyn Orr is implementing an historic attack on the working class that will have devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of people.

Illinois prepares savage cuts in public employee retirement benefits

By Alexander Fangmann, 16 July 2013

The state of Illinois is poised to pass sweeping attacks on public employee pensions as Democratic Governor Pat Quinn pushes the Democratic Party-controlled House and Senate to reconcile competing plans.

Wisconsin budget imposes austerity cuts, clears way for privatizations

By Catherine Long, 11 July 2013

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed into law a biennial budget last month that includes deep cuts to social services and public education, and plans for the selloff of prisons, public lands, infrastructure and university buildings.

Detroit seniors appeal for support to fight evictions

By Zac Corrigan, 8 July 2013

Tenants facing eviction have written an open letter to workers in Detroit to support their struggle.

Arizona wildfire exposes authorities’ lack of preparation

By Nick Barrickman, 4 July 2013

In the wake of the tragic deaths of 19 firefighters Sunday in Arizona, the wildfire, nicknamed Yarnell Hill, remains uncontrolled.

Detroit pension cuts looming

By Bryan Dyne, 4 July 2013

Using a few dozen high-paying pensions as a pretext, Detroit’s emergency manager is preparing to gut retirements of city workers.

Nineteen firefighters die battling Arizona wildfire

By Nick Barrickman, 2 July 2013

All but one member of the crew, known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots, died battling a blaze about 80 miles north of Phoenix.

SEP Detroit mayoral candidate D’Artagnan Collier speaks at candidate forum

By Matthew MacEgan, 2 July 2013

On Sunday, Collier participated in a forum held at the Second Baptist Church in downtown Detroit that gave residents an opportunity to question candidates running in the upcoming Detroit primary election

Downtown Detroit tenants hold meeting to fight back against evictions

By Zac Corrigan and Justin Knowels, 1 July 2013

Detroit residents facing eviction are organizing to fight back.

Detroit emergency manager terminates union contracts, transfers city lighting to DTE

By Bryan Dyne, 29 June 2013

Orr’s decision to cancel the contracts of 9-1-1 operators, firefighters and police officers is part of the thrust to privatize all city services.

State of Washington sends furlough warnings to 25,000 state workers

By Christine Schofelt, 27 June 2013

The state legislature is preparing for an impending July 1 partial government shutdown after failing to agree to a budget in a second special legislative session.

Proposed California budget to deepen attacks on public education and social programs

By Dan Conway, 26 June 2013

Despite the state’s fiscal surplus, the state budget promises continued austerity.

Detroit union leaders given their marching orders over pension cuts

By Shannon Jones, 24 June 2013

The fact that Detroit’s emergency manager absented himself from the meeting demonstrated his contempt for the unions, which have prostrated themselves before the assault by the banks and bondholders against city workers.

US fire marshals battle more wildfires as budgets are cut

By Nick Barrickman, 22 June 2013

With a severe wildfire season predicted in the US, dwindling resources will force ill-equipped firefighters to face deadlier fires at greater risks.

California pension fund in crisis

By Julien Kiemle, 21 June 2013

A new report suggests that California has massively underestimated its unfunded liabilities to pensioners.

Washington DC faces shortage of emergency response vehicles

By Trent Novak, 21 June 2013

A recent audit of the city’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department has revealed that many of the agency’s vehicles are inoperable or unfit for service.

Collier speaks with Detroiters opposing high school privatization plan

By our team of reporters, 18 June 2013

SEP Detroit mayoral candidate D’Artagnan Collier spoke with protestors at Northwestern High School to discuss the nature of so-called “self-governing” schools

Social counterrevolution in Detroit

By Andre Damon, 17 June 2013

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr announced a plan Friday to wipe out the pensions and health benefits of current and retired city workers, condemning nearly 20,000 retirees and their families to poverty and poor health.

The dismantling of Pontiac, Michigan

A dress rehearsal for Detroit

By Esther Galen, 17 June 2013

Of 21 Michigan cities under emergency managers, none has yet faced as drastic cuts in public services as Pontiac.

Pontiac residents describe social disaster left by emergency manager

By our reporters, 17 June 2013

Workers in Pontiac spoke about their experiences under emergency management.

Detroit emergency manager meets with city’s creditors, presents slash-and-burn plan

By Bryan Dyne, 15 June 2013

Kevyn Orr met with Detroit’s creditors in a closed-door meeting to outline how he intends to restructure the city on behalf of the wealthy.

Detroit emergency manager prepares privatization of trash collection

By James Brewer, 15 June 2013

Orr’s office claims that the privatization will save the city $15 million a year.

Detroit workers and youth speak out against attacks by emergency manager

By our reporters, 13 June 2013

The threats to sell off city assets, particularly the Detroit Institute of Arts, has provoked widespread opposition across the city.

No to Orr and the bankers’ dictatorship! For a working class and socialist alternative to the looting of Detroit!

Statement of D’Artagnan Collier, Socialist Equality Party candidate for Detroit mayor

12 June 2013

This statement was distributed Monday, June 10 at the first public meeting of the Detroit emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.

More than 3,500 state health workers to be laid off under Louisiana privatization drive

By Tom Hall, 12 June 2013

Louisiana's Civil Service Commission recently voted to approve the privatization of four hospitals, which will result in the layoff of thousands of state employees.

Detroit emergency manager holds stage-managed “public” meeting

By Bryan Dyne, 12 June 2013

Kevyn Orr held his required public meeting Monday night where he presented his plans for austerity.

Interview with artist Jef Bourgeau about the threat to the Detroit Institute of Arts

“Art shapes the way you see the world”

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 12 June 2013

We recently spoke to Detroit-area artist Jef Bourgeau about the threat to sell off major works of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and related matters.

Bankers to gather in Detroit to plot asset-stripping

By Nancy Hanover, 10 June 2013

Municipal bankruptcy would facilitate the abrogation of labor contracts, pave the way for large-scale layoffs and put pensions at risk.

Illinois governor proposes 70 percent cut to school transportation budget

By Shane Feratu, 7 June 2013

As in many other states, Illinois school districts have struggled under years of classroom cuts, pay freezes, and elimination of benefits for teachers.

Socialist Equality Party continues campaign against Detroit evictions

By Tom Hall, 7 June 2013

Tenants threatened with eviction from the Henry Street apartment complex and students from nearby Cass Tech high school spoke with supporters of SEP Detroit mayoral candidate D’Artagnan Collier.

Detroit plans to sell off closed fire stations

By Bryan Dyne, 5 June 2013

Seven fire stations and the former firehouse headquarters are being sold by the city in order to pay part of Detroit's long-term debt.

Mackinac business conference sets anti-working class agenda for Detroit

By Bryan Dyne, 3 June 2013

The Detroit Regional Chamber last week hosted the annual Mackinac Policy Conference in northern Michigan.

D'Artagnan Collier, SEP candidate for Detroit mayor, speaks on the social crisis in Detroit

By Bryan Dyne, 1 June 2013

D'Artagnan Collier advanced a program and perspective for the working class of Detroit to fight back against the cuts and privatizations happening in the city.

Buena Vista, Michigan teachers still without pay

By Shannon Jones, 31 May 2013

Schools in the district outside Saginaw reopened May 20 after a two-week closure.

Deadly fungal disease outbreak in California prisons

By Jake Dean, 29 May 2013

In the past seven years, valley fever fungal disease contributed to the deaths of as many as 43 inmates, a federal investigation has found.

Muskegon Heights charter schools fail to meet state standards

By David Brown, 27 May 2013

During the first year of operation, the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System has failed to meet numerous state standards regarding special education.

Workers, students speak on plans to sell Detroit Institute of Art masterpieces

By a WSWS reporting team, 27 May 2013

A World Socialist Web Site reporting team spoke to workers and young people visiting the DIA about the proposal to sell the museum’s art collection.

Sequester cuts shut down four government agencies for one day

By David Brown, 25 May 2013

The IRS, EPA, and Department of Housing and Urban Development all closed on Friday, sending employees home on unpaid furloughs as part of the sequester cuts.

Emergency manager considers selling off Detroit Institute of Arts collection

By Bryan Dyne, 25 May 2013

The DIA, one of the leading fine arts museums in the US, is being considered as an asset Detroit could sell off to help pay the city’s debt.

DC mayor to offer closed schools to charter operators

By Nick Barrickman, 23 May 2013

The District of Columbia possesses the highest concentration of charter schools of any city in the United States save for New Orleans.

Emergency manager to decide on Detroit bankruptcy within six weeks

By Bryan Dyne, 23 May 2013

Detroit’s emergency manager is using the threat of bankruptcy to extract massive cuts from city workers.

Emergency Meeting: A workers program to answer the crisis in Detroit

By D’Artagnan Collier—Socialist Equality Party candidate for Detroit mayor, 22 May 2013

A call for workers and youth to attend an emergency meeting on the crisis in Detroit.

More Michigan schools on the brink of insolvency

By Naomi Spencer, 20 May 2013

Nearly 50 Michigan school districts are operating with a deficit.

Detroit mayoral candidate D’Artagnan Collier campaigns at Eastern Market

By Thomas Gaist, 20 May 2013

Collier spoke to workers and youth about his mayoral campaign, the fight against the emergency manager and the conditions facing Detroiters.

Seattle: Hundreds condemn Metro Transit service cuts

By Angelo Bosworth and Hector Cordon, 18 May 2013

Over 400 people attended a public hearing on May 14 to oppose a proposed 17 percent cut to Seattle’s Metro Transit.

Federal judge rejects lawsuit opposing Washington DC school closures

By Nick Barrickman, 18 May 2013

A proposed injunction to halt the closure of one in ten public schools in the District of Columbia has been denied in federal court.

Detroit’s emergency manager prepares anti-working class financial plan

By Bryan Dyne, 10 May 2013

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr will submit a report Monday that will be the pretext for an accelerated offensive against the working class in Detroit.

Two Michigan school districts consolidate, shed 187 teachers

By Naomi Spencer, 10 May 2013

Ypsilanti teachers expressed shock and anger over the mass layoff and worsening social conditions.

Washington, DC schools chancellor unveils new scheme to defund public schools

By Adam Sagitov, 10 May 2013

Reclassifying the majority of D.C. public schools as “small schools” will reduce their funding by $8 million.

Minnesota: Sequester cuts hit education and state’s most vulnerable

By Aleksandr Kascak, 10 May 2013

Minnesota faces approximately $85 million in cuts from the sequestration order signed by President Obama, affecting education, public health, childcare, and environmental protection.

Michigan school district shuts down for lack of funds

By Zac Corrigan, 9 May 2013

Many questions remain unanswered following the closure of schools in the small community outside of Saginaw.

Walled Lake, Michigan school bus drivers hold sickout

By Bryan Dyne, 9 May 2013

One quarter of Walled Lake Consolidated School District bus drivers called in sick Wednesday to protest the sell-off of their jobs.

Obama’s budget calls for restrictions on public housing recipients

By Nick Barrickman, 9 May 2013

The expansion of the “Moving to Work” program will allow states to enact stringent restrictions on eligibility for housing benefits.

The Detroit crisis and the municipal bond racket

Timeline of Detroit debt crisis

By Jerry White, 26 April 2013

Detroit is one of many US cities that have taken on crushing levels of debt in response to the Crash of 2008 and to offset cuts in federal aid and state revenue.

Obama administration seeks to sell off Tennessee Valley Authority

By E.P. Bannon, 22 April 2013

In addition to unprecedented cuts in Social Security and Medicare, the White House budget targets the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the electrification project created under the New Deal, for sale to private energy firms.

Support D’Artagnan Collier, Socialist Equality Party candidate for mayor of Detroit!

Throw out the emergency manager! End the bankers’ dictatorship in Detroit!

Socialist Equality Party (US), 19 April 2013

The Socialist Equality Party (US) is running D’Artagnan Collier as its candidate for mayor of Detroit. The following is his statement announcing the campaign.

Emergency manager to select former law firm as Detroit’s “restructuring counsel”

By Bryan Dyne, 17 April 2013

Emergency manager Kevyn Orr is set to select his old law firm, Jones Day, to oversee the restructuring of Detroit’s debt on behalf of the bondholders and banks.

Detroit Mayor Bing proposes $300 million cut in city budget

By Bryan Dyne, 15 April 2013

The final decision on all spending will be made by the city’s emergency manager.

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.

Obama’s budget

By Joseph Kishore, 12 April 2013

The budget released by the Obama administration on Wednesday marks a significant escalation of the assault on Social Security and Medicare, the most important federal retirement and health care programs in the United States.

Arkansas Senate approves random drug testing for the unemployed

By Matthew MacEgan, 12 April 2013

The Arkansas Senate approved a measure that would require random drug testing of as many as 85,000 residents who receive state unemployment benefits.

Medical researchers protest sequestration cuts

By Bryan Dyne, 10 April 2013

A rally called by the American Association of Cancer Research is an initial expression of the mass opposition to the sequester cuts.

Detroit emergency manager prepares to attack pensions

By Lawrence Porter, 10 April 2013

Detroit’s newly installed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is preparing to target the pensions and health care benefits of retired city workers.

A Call to Action

Oppose the bankers’ dictatorship in Detroit!

the Socialist Equality Party, 8 April 2013

For an indefinite period of time, Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, can enact laws, replace all elected officials, deploy the police, rip up contracts and assume all the powers of government.

School districts across New York face cuts

By Steve Filips, 6 April 2013

State aid to public schools has not increased at a rate that will prevent many districts from laying off staff.