Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:
Quick question, Rob. In your land of make believe, how many people will be going to jail?
I cannot say how many will go to prison, Pink.
The vast majority of people who believe in Buy-and-Hold are suffering from cognitive dissonance. I could hardly say otherwise. I was a Buy-and-Holder myself on the morning of May 13, 2002. So was John Walter Russell. So was Wade Pfau when I first connected with him.
For the behavior of a Buy-and-Holder to become a criminal act of financial fraud, it has to involve some sort of outrageous act that our society is not willing to say is justified by the confusion suffered by those experiencing cognitive dissonance. Putting forward death threats or supporting people who put forward death threats obviously fit the bill. Putting forward tens of thousands of acts of defamation obviously fits the bill. Demanding that someone be banned from a board solely because he posted honestly on SWRs obviously fits the bill. Banning someone from a site because he exposes the flaws of your investment advice fits the bill. Threatening an academic researcher fits the bill.
Not every person who is guilty of financial fraud in an objective sense is going to be prosecuted. Prosecutors need to make judgment calls. They will listen to public opinion in doing so. This is why I stress the importance of you Goons coming clean prior to the next price crash. People will be very angry following the next crash. Behavior that would be viewed as acceptable prior to the next crash will not be viewed as acceptable following the next crash.
There is no way to say precisely what is going to happen. We have never experienced anything like this before. We are in entirely uncharted waters re this matter.
My job is to keep the country from tearing itself apart. That’s one of the reasons why I want to keep the prison sentences as limited as possible. Our focus should be on the good news. We are the luckiest generation of investors who ever walked the face of Planet Earth. When people see how lucky we are, their anger will dissipate. The more we all focus on the good stuff, the better off we all are.
This is why I need to do everything I can to see that the prison sentences are announced as soon as possible. The prison sentences that will be announced if Bogle gives his speech today will obviously be many fewer and much shorter in duration than the prison sentences that will be announced if Bogle gives his speech following the next price crash. So we all need to be working together to see that Bogle gives his speech as soon as is humanly possible. Jack will obviously feel compelled to say some words once the prison sentences are announced. So getting some prison sentences announced quickly would be a huge plus for every single person caught up in these matters (and that’s everyone alive on Planet Earth today).
I guess that the one thing that I can say with certainty is that the number of prison sentences there will be increases with each day that as a society we delay correction of the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies.
I hope that helps a bit, Pink.
Rob, the Fellow Rooting for Prompt Announcement of the Prison Sentences (and for a Quick Shift in Focus From Prison Sentences to All the Wonderful Stuff We Have Learned About How Stock Investing Works Over the Past 11 Years)