How much are we all paid? More than you think! This chart shows how much we earn in benefits as a percentage of our cash wages. These are the ten major occupational groupings defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

The BLS provides average annual earnings for a wide variety of jobs here. All we have to do is add in the benefits based on which occupational group each job belongs to. This gives us a pretty close estimate of the total compensation for each job:

You’ll occasionally be surprised by someone claiming that, say, the average teacher makes more than $90,000. But this true only if you’re talking about total compensation, which includes Social Security payments, health coverage, retirement contributions, vacation time, and so forth. There’s nothing wrong with talking about total comp, but only if you also provide some clear context for comparison. The average middle-school teacher does indeed earn $90,000 all-in—which sounds surprisingly high until you realize that by the same metric, programmers earn $150,000, registered nurses earn $115,000, loan officers earn $110,000, and plumbers earn $87,000. Most people don’t know that unless you point it out.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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