4. Jack's Not-So-Quick Tweet
Sorry Dumbest fans. You surely know by now how much we hate talking politics here at the Lab and how hard we try to remain colorblind in the escalating battle between red and blue states. Quite honestly, it's not our thing (or, as better expressed in yiddish es pas nisht), and perhaps more importantly, we wade through so much stupidity right here on Wall Street that we just don't have the capacity to stomach any additional inventory provided by our friends in Washington.
So if you want us to take sides in the Presidential battle, we apologize, but no can do. For better or worse -- and we think it's better -- consider it outside our Dumbest domain.
All that said, former GE (GE) CEO Jack Welch sent such silliness straight from his gut to ours last week that we simply can't remain mum. While we remain steadfast in our neutrality, Welch has forced us off the sidelines with his jobs report numbskullery.In case you missed it, Welch tweeted that President Barack Obama's administration rigged last Friday's September jobs report because he lost the opening Presidential debate. According to the Labor Department, the economy added 114,000 jobs in the month and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.8% from 8.1%. "Unbelievable jobs numbers...these Chicago guys will do anything...can't debate so change numbers," Welch told his 1.3 million followers. Oy vey Jack! What a schmucky thing to say (no translation necessary we assume) about what should have been good news about the economy. After opening Pandora's Twitter account, Welch momentarily backtracked by saying he was not "accusing anyone of anything" but then proceeded to double down on his conspiracy theory by telling his many doubters to "draw your own conclusions" and then triple down with a rambling op/ed in Wednesday's WSJ where he jabbered about the U.S. turning into "Soviet Russia" and "Communist China." Come on Neutron Jack, you don't have to be a nuclear physicist to know that your conclusion is just partisan hooey. Forget about Big Bird, you're acting like a bird-brain over an admittedly imprecise number that will most certainly be revised next month. "We have done a monthly survey since 1940 and the methods have broadly not changed," said Karen Kosanovich, an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Fiddling with the numbers, I don't know how that would be possible." Look, if anybody knows how to massage numbers for his own benefit, it's certainly Welch. As our good friend Barry Ritholtz over at Fusion IQ reminded everybody this week, Welch was a master at beating Wall Street earnings forecasts during his tenure atop GE, even when it seemed nearly impossible. Seriously, the man could magically make a penny appear out of thin air if it meant topping the consensus estimate. Back then nobody on the Street dared challenge Welch's numerical legerdemain. This time, however, the ravenous political forces that behead would not allow Jack to get off that easy. When pressed for the statistical source of his assertion, Welch says he reviewed more than a dozen companies in different industries and none were stronger in the third quarter than they were in the second. "You can't just call me old and senile," said Welch, who quit writing his Fortune column Tuesday after the magazine called him out on his now-infamous Tweet. Fine. We'll just call you dumb instead and count the days until this election is over so we can go back to making fun of Goldman Sachs (GS) again.
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