Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Just asking

Jack Welch, the crusty former CEO of General Electric and beloved icon of American business, has some questions.

The Welch usually seen on financial networks is way more an answers kind of guy than a questions guy, even when he supposedly is only asking questions.

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Jobs Report, showing the nation’s unemployment level below 8 percent, an unexpected drop. Welch immediately responded in a tweet to his followers: “Unbelievable job numbers. These Chicago guys will do anything. Can’t debate so change numbers.” No question there.

During an interview later in the same day, MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews asked how Welch knew what he knew to justify that tweet.

Welch, with no sense of shame, said simply, “I have no evidence to prove that. I just raise the question.”

Matthews pushed back. “Did you talk to any economist or any people in the national income accounting world that understood how these numbers are put together before you accused these ‘Chicago guys’ of changing the numbers?”

Welch continued to insist that he was just asking a question.

To suggest, without evidence, that the Labor Department’s numbers were purposely cooked is hardly raising a question. It’s an attack made, by Welch’s own admission, “with no evidence to prove that.” For someone with the power of a Jack Welch to grab the microphone is not asking questions. It’s throwing mud to see what sticks, trying to wield influence in a way that is irresponsible and corrosive to the national body politic.

Did Welch get loose before he could be fitted for a new tinfoil hat? Let us be clear: We have no evidence. Just asking questions.

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