There are many reasonable objections to President Obama’s choice of Jeff Immelt as a high level economic advisor. I have a few myself. But this notion that Immelt is unqualified simply because GE’s stock has lagged badly since he’s CEO is nuts. CEOs might be able to affect the returns their companies generate, but they have no say in how investors will view those returns, so let’s don’t go blaming Immelt for something beyond his control. But more to the point, Immelt was at a huge disadvantage the day he became CEO: his predecessor, management genius Jack Welch, had spent years concocting bogus earnings growth at GE by systematically under-reserving at the company’s reinsurance unit. Prior to the unit’s sale (to Swiss Re, in 2006) Immelt had to make up for those years of deficiencies by larding in extra reserves, to the tune of nearly $10 billion. Even for GE, that’s a lot of money. To put it in perspective, the company generated $13 billion in net income the year Immelt took over. No wonder the stock has lagged. . . .