Jack Welch caused an uproar today when he tweeted: “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.” That remark won Welch a great deal of attention and it followed news that the official unemployment rate had dipped from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent.
Moments ago, the former General Electric captain appeared on Fox News to talk things over with Eric Bolling. First came an indication that perhaps Welch was backing off his tweet: “I have no idea where this number came from,” he said.
But this is Neutron Jack we’re talking about here. This guy doesn’t back off of anything. In recent months, he said, he’s been talking to industrialists about their work, and “no one’s stronger in the third quarter than they were in the second quarter,” he said.
As the interview wore on, Welch made quite clear that he had absolutely no data on which to base his allegation that the numbers were cooked:
Quote No. 1: “These numbers don’t smell right when you think about where the economy is right now.”
Quote No. 2: “Every economist this morning predicted . . . 8.2 percent unemployment.”
Quote No. 3: “I think there ought to be a good discussion about how these numbers are calculated.”
Quote No. 4: “This economy doesn’t feel like the employment has moved to this level.”
A lot of squishiness there. Fortunate, then, that Fox News’s Bolling cross-examined Welch on how he could possibly be questioning numbers that stem from methodologies that are decades in the making. “You know what you’re talking about,” said Bolling.