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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

There He Goes Again...

Jack Welch's response to the uproar he caused is -- well, it's something, not sure what the right word for this is.

First, as many people on Twitter have noted, he tries to play the victim in all this. He was just asking an innocent question, and people jumped all over him!

Imagine a country where challenging the ruling authorities—questioning, say, a piece of data released by central headquarters—would result in mobs of administration sympathizers claiming you should feel "embarrassed" and labeling you a fool, or worse. Soviet Russia perhaps? Communist China? Nope, that would be the United States right now, when a person (like me, for instance) suggests that a certain government datum (like the September unemployment rate of 7.8%) doesn't make sense.

Yes, if you accuse the White House of manipulating data, and question the integrity of the employees of the BLS, people might use their constitutional right to free speech (those Commies!) to tell you what they think. And they did. Acting like it was an innocent question mischaracterizes the attack that was made on the integrity of the BLS.

This part is good too, trying to walk away from the part that caused the uproar:

Now, I realize my tweets about this matter have been somewhat incendiary. In my first tweet, sent the night before the unemployment figure was released, I wrote: "Tomorrow unemployment numbers for Sept. with all the assumptions Labor Department can make..wonder about participation assumption??" The response was a big yawn.
My next tweet, on Oct. 5, the one that got the attention of the Obama campaign and its supporters, read: "Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers."
As I said that same evening in an interview on CNN, if I could write that tweet again, I would have added a few question marks at the end, as with my earlier tweet, to make it clear I was raising a question.

I didn't really mean to accuse people people of impropriety! I should have added a question mark to make it clear I was questioning their integrity! Just asking a question... Yeah, right.

Then, he goes at it again:

To suggest that the input to the BLS data-collection system is precise and bias-free is—well, let's just say, overstated

He also talks about "subjectivity creeping into the process" and he suggests it's entirely possible that the people in charge of data collection suddenly changed the "subjective" decisions they make to favor Obama (I guess they're all Democrats, or that only Democrats would do this? -- it's a silly arguement in any case).

If he's not accusing anyone of manipulation, his whole argument comes down to 'these numbers are measured with error," so people should be wary. Really? The WSJ gave you space to say that statistics are measured with error? No, I don't think so. He's still making accusations, and he'll probably wonder, once again, why people have the right to tell him what they think in a free country like the US -- he seems to think that people who are free to say what they think (in no uncertain terms) must live in "Soviet Russia perhaps? Communist China?"

To suggest that the input to the WSJ editorial page "is precise and bias-free is—well, let's just say, overstated," and this is a prime example.

    Posted by on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 09:14 PM in Economics, Politics, Unemployment | Permalink  Comments (55)



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