Joe Ragazzo

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Joe Ragazzo is the publisher at TPM, overseeing the design, product and revenue staffs out of the New York City office. Joe used to be a journalist but realized if some journalists don't figure out how to make journalism financially sustainable, there won't be any left. He also says Go Browns.
Dear Media Workers: Don’t Listen To Your Boss. Unionize Your Workplace.
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May Day And The Other Government

International Workers’ Day, or May Day, comes on the heels of one of the worst periods for workers in quite some time. In the last six weeks, more than 30 million Americans filed for unemployment. At the same time, the S&P 500 gained more than 12 percent and recorded its best month since 1987.

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Killing Journalism in Cleveland
Ohio, Cleveland, Plain Dealer Building, daily newspaper office, desks,

My routine as a kid was pretty simple. I’d wake up, grab the Cleveland Plain Dealer (or The News-Herald, published in the neighboring county) sports section, read every single story and then try as best I could to memorize every box score, statistic and name for every sport. I loved (and love) sports. I also loved the Plain Dealer, but sadly the Plain Dealer is being murdered.

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New CBO Projections Are Bleak
WASHINGTON, DC - The Congressional Budget Office report on the cost of the Senate healthcare bill is expected today on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC Monday June 26, 2017. The Congressional Budget Office hallways on the 4th floor of the Ford House Office Building. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

The congressional budget office (CBO) put out a report today on the impacts of coronavirus to the economy and it is bleak. Perhaps the most jarring nugget is they think the country could have a 9% unemployment rate at the end of 2021.

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The Looming Cash Crisis Facing Small Businesses

I wrote last week about how the economic relief package known as the CARES Act is severely lacking. One particularly troubling aspect is that the Small Business Administration is tasked with overseeing a $350 billion dollar fund designed to provide cash for small businesses so they can avoid laying people off. This is problematic because it’s something like 10 times the volume of emergency loans they usually deal with on an annual basis. 

The devil is in the details, but the gist of that fund, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, is that businesses with fewer than 500 employees can apply for a loan. At the end of the set period of time, if the employer has not laid anyone off, the loan is completely forgiven. There are of course a host of details about how much money a business can receive and some other things but they are irrelevant for the purposes of this post.

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We’re Starting To See The Impact Of Supply Chain Disruptions
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For a variety of reasons, I pay close attention to the manufacturing sector. I think it’s partly because I grew up in Cleveland and still have a lot of friends who work in shops and factories — many who are already out of work. Although we’ve more or less transitioned to a services-based economy, making stuff is still a core aspect of the American identity. We all know the service sector is taking a massive blow. We can see the stores closed, we can’t go to our favorite bar. But the manufacturing economy is less visible — except to those in it. The rest of us will feel the impact down the road when this loss of productivity manifests in myriad ways.

This morning the Institute of Supply Management released its March manufacturing report. As expected, it was pretty bad: Reduced demand, a slowing supply chain, reduced employment. But I want to highlight a couple specific data points. Read More

We’re About To Get A Ton Of New Economic Data
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 06: A New York Labor Department office is viewed in Manhattan

In times of crisis, the kind of economic data that is ordinarily only of interest to economists and finance pros draws more attention from the rest of us as we look for signs of what is going on, and what is to come. Last week’s jobless claims number, the highest in United States history, was a sobering look at what is in store economically.

This week we’ll get another round of jobless claims numbers, along with looks at manufacturing and service jobs that will help us understand the velocity and depth of the economic crisis we are facing. 

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Today Was Just a Preview
A  GAP store with a Closed sign due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Farmington Hills, Michigan, on March 26, 2020. - The economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic sparked an explosion of Americans filing for unemployment benefits, surging to 3.3 million last week -- the highest number ever recorded, the Labor Department reported Thursday. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

This morning the Labor Department announced 3.28 million people filed for unemployment, the largest one-week number in United States history. This is a shocking number. It beat analyst estimates by nearly one million claims. It’s four times the previous record. 

Yet, the worst is certainly ahead of us.

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Billionaires Are An Existential Threat to Democracy
Billionaire candidates have become a feature of this year’s Democratic presidential contest. But should they exist at all?
on August 5, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
Why Media Executives Keep Failing
Journalism needs journalists running the operations or nothing will change.
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