Where Has All the Money Gone?

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Business Insider promises us today “15 Mind-Blowing Charts About Wealth And Inequality In America.” I don’t think any of them will come as a big surprise to readers of this blog, but it’s nice to see them all in one place. Below is the chart on average hourly earnings, which I’ve modified to show (approximately) what it would look like if you added income in the form of rising healthcare premiums. Basically, even if you do that, average income has only increased from $20/hour in 1972 to about $23/hour today. That’s roughly 12% over four decades, or about 0.3% per year, during an era in which per-capita productivity has grown at something like five times that rate. Our economy has generated a ton of increased income over the past few decades, but hardly any of it has trickled down to the average worker.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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