90% of Americans Aren’t Expecting a Raise

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zack-attack/399240900/#/">Zack Mccarthy</a>/Flickr


In keeping with MoJo‘s latest cover story, here’s a new stat to piss you off: 9 out of 10 Americans aren’t expecting a pay raise this year. So, with gas averaging $3.74 per gallon and skyrocketing food prices, that means 89.9% of you will essentially have to do more with less.

American Pulse recently asked 5,000 Americans about their best penny-pinching strategies to cope with the grim financial forecast, and here’s what they said:

  • 70.5% will only buy the necessities
  • 63.4% will drive less
  • 58.9% will spend less on clothing
  • 53.1% will comparison shop
  • 50% will stick to a strict budget
  • 49.9% will opt for generic products
  • 42% will spend less on groceries
  • 6.6% will do nothing

That’s not to say no one is getting pay raises; it’s just that they’re ending up in the wrong hands. Case in point: Miami’s interim school superintendent will receive a $16,000 bump for three months of work despite a $170 million budget shortfall. And the incoming CEO of the Chicago Teachers Union is getting an extra $20,000 to round out his $250,000 salary, even though teachers there can’t convince the school board to give them a 4% raise. Plus, five top county officials in Orange County have received a 33% pay raise in the past six months, while hundreds of lower level employees are being laid off.

These stories all too familiar, and consistent with the “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” theme. What to do other than heed Peter Finch’s advice and yell outside your window? Well, read more and find out.

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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.

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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.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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