For those of you who don’t leave the bed over the weekend, here’s the deal with the controversy surrounding the latest jobs data

    On Friday, the the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data showing that, for the first time since President Obama took office, unemployment had fallen below the 8% mark. And, as Romney had repeatedly drawn the line in the sand at 8%, reminding American voters incessantly, since winning his party’s nomination, that Obama had presided over “43 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent,” a drop to 7.8% was incredible news for an Obama campaign desperately seeking evidence of a turn-around. Some, though, suspect that the data was manipulated in order to quash the momentum of the newly-reinvigorated, post-debate Romney campaign. The following is from former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.

    As the New York Times points out, though, it’s not as though the the drop in unemployment was unforeseen. “The jobs report was preceded by other signs of growing economic strength,” reported the Times, “including a jump in consumer confidence, the strongest auto sales in four years, rallying stock prices and, at long last, a stabilization of housing prices.” But that’s apparently not enough to derail a good conspiracy theory… Welch was all over the television this weekend, as several thousand people parroted his belief that our America-hating President had somehow orchestrated the release of fraudulent employment numbers.

    And, here, before we go further, is a little background on Welch from Salon.

    …So why was one of the most iconic CEOs in American history alleging that the Obama administration had conspired to falsify the numbers just before the election?

    The answer can be traced back more than thirteen years to the party boss who is always working his magic behind the scenes: Karl Christian Rove.

    Here’s what happened: According to an article by David Podvin and Carolyn Kay, in June 1999, just after George W. Bush declared his candidacy for president, Welch, then Chairman and CEO of General Electric, the parent company of NBC, was contacted by Karl Rove who reportedly told him that a Bush administration would introduce sweeping deregulatory measures in the broadcast industry that would create untold billions of dollars in additional profits for GE.

    Welch not only became a vocal supporter of Bush, he also decided that the news division of NBC would to put aside its journalistic integrity and instead look out for the corporate interests of GE and do everything in its powers to elect Bush. According to a report by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) cited in the Los Angeles Times, come election time, November 7, 2000, Welch had access to raw election data that were not available to his own newsmen at NBC and appeared to play a key role in getting NBC to call Florida, and with it, the national election, for George W. Bush at almost the same time, John Ellis—George W. Bush’s cousin and Fox News’ senior decision desk official—made the call for Fox.

    Three elections later, it seems that Welch’s affection for Karl Rove’s candidate is unabated. On September 20, when Romney was still foundering, Welch went on Fox News and insisted Romney would triumph. “Mitt Romney will win and I don’t want you to get weak-kneed… Nobody’s getting weak-kneed”…

    When pushed by Chris Mathews yesterday, Welch admitted, “I have no evidence to prove that, I just raised the question.” Here’s the video.

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Welch, by the way, doesn’t have evidence because there’s no evidence to be had. Not only was this drop in unemployment foreseeable, given the positive movement of the stock market, the housing sector, and consumer confidence, but, as the folks as Planet Money point out, the staff of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which, by the way, doesn’t include a single political appointee, takes the non-partisan nature of their work very seriously. And, as if that weren’t enough, there’s also the fact that trusted conservative sources have verified the data.

    So, in short, when the White House came out over the weekend and said that Welch’s comments were “ludicrous“, they were absolutely, 100% right. This is just one more slanderous Republican lie for the history books.

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      18 Comments

      1. Joseph j7uy5
        Posted October 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        Welch knows a thing or two about fudging numbers. See GE Settles Accounting Fraud Charges for the story about how GE settled with the SEC after they were found to have engaged in fraud. So he’s the kind of bad guy who assumes that everyone else is bad, too. Also see GE’s Jack Welch Knows About Cooking the Books.

      2. Meta
        Posted October 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

        The Progress Report has the details on what was in the report.

        The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that payrolls expanded by 114,000 last month, dropping the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. 873,000 Americans reported having found jobs in September (in the so-called household survey), the most since 1983.

        This adds to the total number of jobs created over President Obama’s term; revisions released last week by the BLS showed that Obama is net positivefor jobs since January 2009. Here are some other highlights from the report:

        – Labor force grows. The labor force grew by 418,000 people, so the drop in the unemployment rate was not due to people giving up on looking for work.

        – Revisions shows stronger summer job growth. The number of jobs created in both July and August were revised up, adding a total of 86,000 jobs.

        – Public sector finally stopped shedding jobs. State, local, and federal government finally ended a long period of job contraction, adding 10,000 jobs. Revisions show that the public sector created jobs in both July and August.

        – Average hourly earnings rise. Earnings rose 7 cents to $23.58. Average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8 percent over the last year.

        Of course, one month’s report does not make for a good economy, but the three-month average for job growth hit 145,000, a sign of a recovering labor market (albeit, one that is recovering slowly). Overall, the economy has added 1.3 million jobs this year.

        The unemployment rate would be under 7 percent without public sector jobs cuts, while the American Jobs Act that Republicans filibustered in Congress would have added millions of jobs, according to economists.

        Conservatives, in the apparent belief that good news for the American economy means bad news for their prospects in next month’s elections, immediately seized on the news to allege a vast conspiracy of data-rigging at the BLS — a scrupulously non-political entity. This dovetails with the recent right-wing conspiracy theory that America’s pollsters are working in collusion the media to rig the polls in President Obama’s favor in order to depress GOP turnout.

      3. anonymous
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        FYI.

        During a recent interview, Jack and Suzy Welch said that they were Mitt Romney supporters, but that all four of their sons were ardent Ron Paul followers.

      4. Eel
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        I’d never heard, until this morning, that Jack Welch had forced Tom Brokaw to declare Bush the winner in 2000.

      5. Meta
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        I don’t know how reputable a source the National Confidential is, but, if their reporter is to be believed, there’s another interesting connection between Welch and Bain.

        Suzy Welch, the wife of former GE CEO Jack Welch, was an employee of Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital. The Welches have been in the news after Mr. Welch accused the Obama administration of falsifying a recent positive unemployment report to benefit his re-election campaign.

        Mrs. Welch worked at Bain in the 1980s as the firm began to take over companies, load them up with debt, fire employees then sell the resulting company at a profit.

        She and her husband have been very public defenders of Romney’s tenure at Bain, via media appearances and their joint column for Reuters. In one column the Welches defended Romney and Bain capital’s business methods, insisting that Romney’s profit-making was in the best interests of the companies, even if middle class workers had to lose their jobs.

        After Suzy Welch left Bain she became the editor of the Harvard Business Review but was forced out after it was revealed that she was having an affair with Jack Welch (then married to his second wife) while she was doing a profile of him for the publication.

        Read more:
        http://www.nationalconfidential.com/20121006/jack-welch-wife-worked-under-romney-at-bain/

      6. Meta
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        Paul Krugman weighed in on this as well.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/opinion/krugman-truth-about-jobs.html?smid=fb-share

      7. Aaron B.
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        The GOP have been wanting the economy AND government to fail since Obama got elected. It is not surprising that they would spaz out over positive jobs data so close to the election.

      8. Observer
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        In that Hardball image above, doesn’t Jack Welch look like one of the goblins that works at Gringotts.

        For those of you who don’t follow the adventures of Harry Potter, here’s a photo.

        http://api.ning.com/files/HonqPcqknMT7LOnR*IVK-ekOkdWuqb6Vt*f5kVA645IR7iKBNx4Z10OfhtNNoeA4QxhDvVfttM-a4bEWenPD0UEH0E*t*WNo/2535825474.gif

      9. Posted October 8, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        I read on a right wing conspiracy blog that Obama faked the numbers, so it must be true.

      10. KitchenAid
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        “I’d never heard, until this morning, that Jack Welch had forced Tom Brokaw to declare Bush the winner in 2000.”

        If Al had run a better campaign, that wouldn’t have been possible.

      11. Mr. Y
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        It must be nice to be a Republican. You just have to win. As a Democrat, you need to win definitively. You need to plan for Republican dirty tricks and plan accordingly. You need to win each swing state by 10 points. Doing any less, as KitcheAid suggests, means that you ran a shitty campaign. Al Gore doesn’t suck because he lost to Bush. He sucks because he didn’t win with enough margin to prevent the criminal assault on our Democracy that took place in Florida.

      12. KitchenAid
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        That’s correct.

        Here’s a less chYldish way of putting it:

        people like to point to some of the terrors of that election season: Ralph Nader’s (totally commendable) participation in the race, the court’s giveaway to GWB; and now, to members of the corporate power elite “forcing” news anchors to declare victory for GWB.

        But (middlebrow) Dems very rarely assign any modicum of responsibility to Gore’s lackluster corporatist campaign and platform. No matter how well he’s atoned for his sins with Starbucksy Eco activism.

        If you get off your asses now, you might help your President get reelected. If you merely spectate, though, and just whine and cry foul whenever rightwingers act horrifically, you probably oughtn’t complain if Obama loses. You’re complicit in that loss.

      13. Mr. Y
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        I think, thanks to what we saw play out in Florida in 2000, we all now know the reality of the situation. We know that, if we finish close, the race will go to the Republican. What I was pushing back against was your assertion that Gore ran a bad campaign. He didn’t run a bad campaign. He won. We can say that he should have won by more, making the stealing of the election less likely, but I don’t think you can say that he ran a bad campaign. That’s not accurate, and it doesn’t help us move forward. By all means, let’s learn from the experience and up our ground game in swing states, but let’s not put the blame on Gore for what happened in 2000. I had issues with his campaign as well. I hated the choice of Lieberman, for instance. That doesn’t, however, change the fact that he won.

      14. Posted October 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        “It must be nice to be a Republican. You just have to win. ”

        I was thinking about this this morning. Republicans play football politics. It really doesn’t matter who plays or how they play or what they do next season. All that matters is winning.

        I was thinking about how bankrupt this is, then immediately became completely depressed about living in the United States.

      15. lorie thom
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        unfortunately, we are being asked to use data points on trend lines instead of the trend lines themselves – seeing the trees but not the forest.

        The Unemployment RATE is improving (getting smaller). The number of jobs in the country are growing – the RATE of employment is also improving.

        Its slow because Bush & Co. (Bain included) broke the financial system and tanked the economy. The fact that we had a recession and not a depression is a credit to Obama and the economic advice he took and acted on.

      16. Oliva
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        I know, Peter. I was just thinking about how Americans keep choosing to live and have their politics, and I am flailing inside. Canada, if they’d have us. Italia? I would much rather have it be that Americans en masse say No more! of this crossing up of politics with sports in its least admirable aspects–is Superbowl Sunday still the day of greatest domestic violence in the United States? I was thinking about the doping scandals too and how it might be that Americans don’t really mind if an athlete cheats as long as the outcome goes the way they want and things stay exciting–and keep attention short as can be. And it probably comes down to money somehow–but I don’t know how. Don’t people see that the good stuff they’re eyeing when they look at a guy named Romney isn’t ever going to be theirs, and that not seeing that threatens to take what they do have? (What we presently share is immediately being threatened–public lands, public education, public goods of all kinds.) The good stuff could be all of ours. We could be a kind and sharing nation that wants to work on healing its most damaged parts, such as resolving together to keep out congress members and other public figures who are brazenly racist and to wholeheartedly reject an empty suit of a former governor who has absolutely no shame when he grins after having lied repeatedly to 70 million American viewers/listeners and one esteemed moderator and the president. The polls would turn on this? That’s the part that is so ludicrous and saddening . . . and I hope just a sick, sad moment in time that we will endure and pass through and be done with at last.

        In the meantime, and speaking of blessed goods we share, Coursera is so high quality and wonderful. I’m taking an excellent mythology class out of Penn. A++ I keep wondering how all these universities can afford to do this, some not public universities, and I like to imagine it’s a super-noble, generous, and also urgent way of precious scholars saying: we used to be a country that valued knowledge and thinking and learning, may we be that again.

        Hang in somehow, Peter. This country obviously needs you badly.

      17. Observer
        Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        I found a photo of Jack Welch.

        http://imgur.com/pGegt

      18. Oliva
        Posted October 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Inside this blog post is a great 1-minute FDR video; why is it so hard to change this country deeply, though? All these years later, same situation:

        http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_10/debate_prep040426.php

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