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The Sad Story of Jack Welch in Retirement: Opinion

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Look out, readers. With Election Day approaching, silly season has begun.

In response to much-needed positive developments in the U.S. labor market -- the unemployment rate finally dropped below 8% -- many people got strangely angry, including the former CEO of one of the nation's most prominent companies, General Electric (GE).

"Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change the numbers," wrote Jack Welch on Twitter after the news broke. The comment was partly a reference to President Obama's poor performance in the recent presidential debate.

It's no secret the elderly have trouble navigating the Internet, but I suspect Welch's accusation that the President of the United States is manipulating employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics must have come straight from the gut, to borrow a phrase from Neutron Jack's bestselling, add-to-the-pile book.

I wonder, though, if his tweet was as well thought out as Welch's mastermind plan to buy the Boston Globe from the New York Times (NYT).

It's an ironic accusation coming from Welch, who knows a thing or two about employment. After all, he achieved success at GE by slashing more than 100,000 jobs at the company in the 1980s to boost profits.

Then the irony gets even thicker when one considers that Welch is now widely remembered as Corporate America's most skillful manipulator of quarterly earnings results and manager of expectations on Wall Street -- a skill that is particularly handy for CEOs overly focused on their stock price.

Welch takes that skill quite seriously, as evidenced by another outburst he made as a retiree back in early 2008 when he publicly admonished his successor, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, for disappointing Wall Street with a quarterly earnings report.

When asked in an interview on CNBC whether more disappointments were on the way, Welch said, on national television, "I'd be shocked beyond belief, and I'd get a gun out and shoot him if he doesn't make what he promised now."

Like the rest of us, Welch was unaware at the time that the mother of all financial crises was unfolding, and his company would eventually be caught neck-deep in the quagmire as a result of Welch's aggressive push into the finance business.
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