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Dean Baker:

A New York Times piece on the troubles facing a steel factory in southern Italy asserted that closing the troubled factory would cost Italy 1.4 percent of its GDP. According to the piece, the plant directly employs 10,500 workers. That is a bit less than 0.05 percent of Italy’s workforce of 23,400,000. The piece is surely right in highlighting the importance of the plant to a very depressed region in Italy, but the claim its closing would reduce Italy’s GDP by 1.4 percent does not seem plausible.

That doesn’t seem very plausible, doesn’t it? And it’s especially implausible since the study quoted by the Times very clearly says that its estimate of the effect of closure is a 3.5 billion euro hit to GDP, or 0.2 percent of total Italian GDP. But hey, it’s just a number. Who cares if it’s right?

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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