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More evidence that the recession is over!

Pay on Wall Street is on pace to break a record high for a second consecutive year, according to a study conducted by The Wall Street Journal.

About three dozen of the top publicly held securities and investment-services firms — which include banks, investment banks, hedge funds, money-management firms and securities exchanges — are set to pay $144 billion in compensation and benefits this year, a 4% increase from the $139 billion paid out in 2009.

There’s some speculation in the article that Wall Street pay might “level out” as profits flatten in response to financial reform, but if that happens “analysts and experts expect that Wall Street will lay off employees in order to keep bonus pools high.” So it’s all good.

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THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

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If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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