NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Jack Welch's response to the criticism leveled at him for accusing President Obama of manipulating federal employment data for political gain is simply ridiculous.
Sorry to revisit an issue I raised here last week, but Welch's response to the criticism he wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed demands further scrutiny because he is trying to avoid the real issue here.
My criticism of Welch is not that he questioned the accuracy of the latest round of federal employment data. After all, there is always a torrent of analysis that spills forth after the politically consequential federal employment data is released, dissecting the numbers and questioning their validity every month -- and that's great. Government data deserves critical scrutiny, obviously -- just as the financial statements issued by companies like, say, General Electric (GE) deserve scrutiny.
But Welch wasn't just questioning the accuracy of the data. Let's recall what he wrote in his tweet: "Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change the numbers."The clear suggestion that the former GE CEO is making here is that President Obama and his team are a bunch of Chicago gangsters -- like Al Capone, I guess -- who resorted to somehow manipulating the federal employment data in an attempt to make up for the political damage they suffered after Obama's weak performance in the first presidential debate. So, rather than shed light on the underlying realities of the employment crisis that is plaguing the nation or add to the policy debates that are raging in this political season, this former leader of one of the country's leading companies takes a cheap swipe at one of the greatest cities in the U.S. and seeks to delegitimize Obama by suggesting corruption and fraud. I think that's a pathetic and childish thing for someone who is supposed to be a leader in our country to be doing -- especially at a time like this. It demonstrates a lack of character and class that is becoming all too common among the people in our society, like Welch, who are supposed to be setting an example that people can look up to and admire.
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