Yesterday’s blog entry reported on an e-mail sent to me by Academic Researcher Wade Pfau on May 1, 2011, in which he described his fears of getting fired because of the threats made by the Greaney Goons to contact his employer with defamatory comments as their way of “punishing” Wade for having posted his honest views on the need for the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies to be corrected now that there is a consensus in the field that they get the numbers that millions of middle-class people have used to plan their retirements wildly wrong. I sent my response later the same day. The text is set forth below.
Thanks for your kind (and troubling) note.
I will of course honor your wishes re the matters you refer to below.
The concern you are expressing is so insane that I am tempted not to take it seriously. The other side of the story, of course, is that I have had similar things done to me on scores of occasions and I have seen similar things done to many others. So the full reality is that the concern you evidence is only in an objective sense insane and in the context in which it is being raised here entirely real.
Please don’t delude yourself into thinking that there is anything more than a zero chance that “this stuff will blow over soon and those guys will forget about it and move on to the next thing.” This has been going on for nine years.
It would have been far, far easier to let it go when it all could have been easily characterized as a well-intentioned mistake. We now have s situation where hundreds of reputations are at jeopardy and where tens of thousands of lawsuits are likely to be filed once middle-class investors hear the story. I obviously wish that I could wave a magic wand and take us back to the morning of May 13, 2002. But none of us possess that power. All responsible people caught up in this (I think
it is fair to say that that includes all responsible people living in free-market economies today) need to accept the cards we have been dealt and take whatever steps we can to bring things to a good and positive and life-affirming resolution for every single person (including those on “the other side”) as possible.
I believe that our hope lies in the fact that everyone deep down inside wants the same thing. There are of course some who tell themselves that they do not want a resolution. But deep down inside they do. They have painted themselves into a corner and are not capable of letting in the full horror of what they have done. We have to extend the hand of kindness while also insisting on the right to do honest and positive work and not to degrade ourselves or participate in the degradation of others. We need to combine love and honesty in the proper proportions.
I’ll always do anything I can to take things to a positive place. I don’t know if you believe in God or not, but, if you do, this is a time to call on that belief for comfort that a positive resolution of this matter really is possible. I (somewhat stubbornly) believe that it is. John Walter Russell used to tell me “I’ve put it in God’s hands and i know it will eventually work out better than anyone can today imagine.” John had a stronger faith than I did. But I have just enough to see that there might be something to what he said.
I am horrified to think that I have even in the most indirect way caused you to feel anxiety over how things might proceed. I apologize for that. I hope that you possess at least some understanding of the huge importance of the research you have already done (to say nothing of what you are obviously capable of doing in the future). My dream is that there will be a day when the pain you have been put through here pays huge dividends (I of course dream that the same will someday be true for me and my family).
Please keep your chin up and stay optimistic. The potential good here is 500 times bigger than the small-minded stuff. There’s got to be a way to make the good stuff happen and make the ugly stuff go away. We will find it together (I don’t mean just you and me but the entire community of investors and people living in free-market economies in general).
Please let me know if there are any promising avenues that you discover or any questions or concerns that you would like to direct to me. If you ever think I am walking an ill-chosen path, I would be grateful if you would let me know. I obviously don’t always get it all right. I need to count on my friends to steer me back to a better path when I take wrong steps.
Please take care.