Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:
So why doesn’t Joe do that? Is he a goon? Is he going to jail? You mentioned Todd. What about him? Why doesn’t he let you run a column there?
I certainly wouldn’t call Joe a Goon. But he certainly has some measure of Goonishness within him, Anonymous. We all do. Goonishness is ignorance or sin. Not one of us humans has zero ignorance or sin within him.
I put my first post to the Motley Fool board in May 1999. I obviously knew about the errors in Greaney’s SWR study at that time. Why did I hold off putting up my famous post until the morning of May 13, 2002? Do I not have a measure of Goonishness within me?
Todd doesn’t want you Goons attacking his site. He praised me to the skies in his long article on safe withdrawal rates. I posted a number of comments on the discussion thread describing all the history. Todd called me up by telephone and asked me not to put up such long comments. Huh?
He was afraid that I was going to upset the Buy-and-Holders. He is of course correct that they would be upset by my comments. Todd and I had helped millions of people by getting the SWR issue right. Which means that the Buy-and-Holders had destroyed millions of middle-class lives by getting it wrong. It’s 100 percent understandable why the Buy-and-Holders would be upset.
The question is — Is the right thing to do to make a buck by keeping your mouth shut? Or is the right thing to do to help your Buy-and-Hold friends see how they messed up and be sure that they get their mistakes fixed so that they do not suffer future embarrassment? It couldn’t be any more obvious what the right answer to that question is. But Todd wants to be popular, Todd wants to make a buck, Todd doesn’t want people working behind the scenes to destroy his blog. So he sells out his friends.
Is Todd a Goon?
He clearly has a bit of the Goon within him.
But he also wrote an amazing article pointing out the errors in the Old School SWR studies, right? So he is obviously not all Goon. That took a lot of guts. That was stand-up stuff.
I cannot imagine that I will be going to prison. I have been the lead guy fighting this stuff ever since I worked up the courage to post honestly the first time. I cannot imagine Joe going to prison. He doesn’t even write an investing blog. So he doesn’t really even have an obligation here. Joe is just a good guy doing the sort of thing that good guys do. Todd has behaved unethically. He should be encouraging honest comments at his blog, not discouraging them. But I do not personally believe that he will be going to prison. In relative terms, he’s been an angel compared to some others. Is that not so? We cannot throw everyone in jail, can we?
We are working through a transition, Anonymous. We learned in 1981 that Buy-and-Hold is a big pile of smelly garbage. Buy-and-Hold made tons of money for tons of people for a good number of years. So people kept their mouths shut about what the peer-reviewed academic research says. I spilled the beans. The Buy-and-Hold Goons tried to destroy me and they failed. And here we are.
The laws are there for a purpose. We will decide as a society who goes to prison and for how long. I think it would be fair that you Goons will be at the top of the list for the longest prison sentences. Is that not fair to say?
All of us are to some extent culpable. You Goons couldn’t survive if the rest of us called you out. So we all played a role in this. Even I played a role. That’s a fact. But, if I go to prison, everyone in the country would have to go to prison. No one has fought you Goons as hard as I have. There is no one even close.
Todd will work up more courage as more people come forward. So will Joe. So will lots of others.
The big one we need to flip is Old Saint Jack. When Jack flips, a lot of people are going to take that as a signal that it is safe to post honestly. Then people will rush in to make names for themselves as leaders in the exciting new world of honest investing analysis.
It’s a situation where each person is afraid to step forward until others step forward and the others don’t want to step forward until they see yet others step forward. It’s a big mess, you know?
People tell me all the time to just not mention the Goons. We are never going to solve the problem until we deal with you Goons! You Goons are the entire freakin’ problem! The 33 years of peer-reviewed academic research all says the same thing. The 140 years of historical return data all says the same thing. Common sense says the same thing as the data and the research. There is nothing even to look at on the other side. The entire Buy-and-Hold concept was just a mistake. How can you do intellectual battle with something for which there is zero intellectual support? Fighting the intellectual case for Buy-and-Hold is like fighting a ghost.
We are on the one-yard line and you Goons are the only thing we need to overcome to get to the Promised Land.
But we are not going to overcome you directly. We will overcome you by getting people like Joe and Todd and lots of others to work up the courage to stand up to you. Every time someone posts honestly, it makes it that much harder for someone like Bogle to continue the cover-up. Once Bogle realizes the impossibility of continuing the cover-up, he will flip. And that’s the end for you Goons. You won’t be able to post at one place on the internet once Bogle comes clean. And a good number of you will be on your way to prison.
I hope that helps a bit, Anonymous.