Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
Jack could probably care less about what you want.
We couldn’t possibly disagree more, Anonymous.
Jack Bogle made it his life project to help provide millions of middle-class people with a smart, simple and safe way to invest in stocks. He got lots of things right. He got one thing (the need for price discipline) horribly wrong. The mistake he made has caused the biggest economic crisis in U.S. history. My good friend Jack has caused millions of failed retirements. The investing advice industry has become 100 percent corrupt as a result of the lies that Buy-and-Holders today tell about what the peer-reviewed academic research says about what works for long-term investors. People like Wade Pfau don’t feel comfortable publishing honest research because they know that Buy-and-Hold Goons like yourself will try to destroy their careers if they choose to do so. And you say that Jack doesn’t care?
If Jack Bogle doesn’t care about the vast amount of human misery he has caused, then Jack Bogle is The Frank Underwoord of Personal Finance. I think he cares, Anonymous. I think he cares a great deal.
First of all, Frank Underwood is a cartoon character. I worked on Capitol Hill for years. Politics is a dirty game and dirty things go on in politics all the time. But there are very few Frank Underwoods. I met people from both parties who were tough operators. I never met a Frank Underwood. I don’t say that none exist. I say that there are few true Frank Underwoods in politics and that there are few true Frank Underwoods in the personal finance realm (and there’s a lot of dirty business going down in the personal finance realm as well).
I have been outspoken re the ways in which my good friend Jack Bogle has messed up for a good number of years now. He has a responsibility to acknowledge his mistakes. He has a responsibility to take action on The Mel Linduaer Matter. He has a responsibility to demand corrections in the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies. He has a responsibility to speak up in support of Wade Pfau and of his right to publish honest research showing the dangers of Buy-and-Hold investing strategies. Jack has shamed himself and he has shamed all Buy-and-Holders and really all human beings with the unethical behavior that we have seen from him in recent years.
But that is not the entire story.
Jack has been responsible for many AMAZING contributions in this field. If he is a 100 percent corrupt individual, why has he devoted so many years of his life to making the lives of millions of middle-class investors richer (in every sense of the word) than they have ever been before? Your suggestion that Jack is The Frank Underwood of Personal Finance just does not stand up to a scrutiny based on what we know about the man’s life work, Anonymous.
I gained my fame on the internet by being the person to discover the errors in the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies (in May 2002 — nearly 10 years before the Wall Street Journal was writing about those errors!). Guess whose book it was that I read that helped me to understand that those studies were in error? Jack Bogle’s! Jack Bogle’s book says that Reversion to the Mean is an “Iron Law” of stock investing. If that’s so, the safe withdrawal rate obviously cannot be a constant number. If Jack is really The Frank Underwood of Personal Finance, as you suggest, why did he report in his book that Reversion to the Mean is an “Iron Law” of stock investing? Your suggestion simply makes no sense.
I could go on and on. When I was working with John Walter Russell, John referred to material in Bogle’s speeches all the time. Jack Bogle has made the case for Valuation-Informed Indexing on many, many occasions. I mean no personal dig, Anonymous, but you are full of it. My good friend Jack Bogle is not The Frank Underwood of Personal Finance. The reality here is something very different from what your darkened mind suggests. I am sure.
But Jack has behaved unethically. That’s on the record. That’s in the Post Archives. What’s the story?
Jack Bogle is no saint. Those who call him one do him harm by even raising the possibility. Jack Bogle is a man. A smart man. A friendly man. A hard-workng man. A good man. And a flawed man.
Jack Bogle made a mistake. It was a doozy. He wasn’t the only one who made it. He’s in very good company. But he made one doozy of a mistake. Millions of other good and smart and hard-working people are paying the price for Jack Bogle’s Big Mistake today. The mistake needs to be fixed. It needs to be fixed by the close of business today. There can be no doubt about that one whatsoever.
But Jack feels trapped. When he acknowledges the mistake, he is acknowledging that he has caused financial ruin for millions of middle-class people. When he acknowledges the mistake, he is acknowledging that he ha brought on a drop in confidence in our political system on both the left (The Occupy Wall Street Movement) and the right (The Tea Party Movement). When he acknowledges his mistake, he is acknowledging that he failed to step forward when the individuals who have posted in “defense” of Mel Linduaer and John Greaney crossed lines that will be putting them in prison cells following the next price crash.
Do you think that it is going to be an easy thing for Jack to walk to the front of a room and acknowledge that mistake?
If you know anything whatsoever about the humans, you know that it is not going to be an easy thing.
Do you consider yourself Jack’s friend, Anonymous? I have often seen you talk the talk. I have rarely seen you walk the walk.
Those of us who care enough about our friendship with Jack to take a few hits because of it have been imploring Jack to come clean.
Everybody should be doing that, in my view. Democrats and Republican both. Young and old both. Women and men both. Blacks and whites both. Valuation-Informed Indexers and Buy-and-Holders both.
That’s love, Anonymous.
If you love Jack Bogle (I do), you want him to achieve his dreams. Valuation-Informed Indexing is Jack Bogle’s dream. The investing strategy explored at this web site is the investing strategy that Jack was seeking to create when he first started work on Buy-and-Hold. Now the dream can be made real. But it comes at a price. We cannot get there together without Jack first working up the courage to walk to the front of a room and say the words “I” and “Was” and “Wrong.” If’s when he does that that all the magic starts happening.
I love the man and I have sent him three e-mails urging that he take that step. I will send him another e-mail at the onset of the next price crash. I believe that Jack’s heart will melt when he sees what he has done to the country that has given him huge blessings over the years. When Jack agrees to say those three words, we are all off to the races. I think it is fair to say that he will feel 50 times better about himself and about the work he has done over the course of his life on that day he comes clean than he feels today.
Jack cares about what I want. Because deep down Jack wants the same things I want. As do you. As do all your Goon friends.
The hand of kindness is extended. It is not a time-sensitive offer. There is zero chance that I will ever agree to participate in the most massive act of financial fraud in the history of the United States. It hasn’t happened in 12 years and it won’t happen in 12 billion years. Anything short of that is fine. But no prison sentence for this boy. Please try to find someone else.
That’s my sincere take re this terribly important matter, in any event.
I naturally wish you all good things.