Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:
Your only regular interaction on this subject is with the “goons” and therefore a large percentage of your output is designed to provoke a reaction from the “goons”.
You’re wrong, Evidence.
The stuff I write today is written to show millions of middle-class people how their financial futures were destroyed. We need as a society to make peace with what has happened. That’s the first step. All the other stuff (the substantive stuff) follows easily once we come to terms with the massive act of financial fraud.
People don’t like to talk about the financial fraud. We all have participated in it in at least some small way (for example, I was afraid to post about the errors in Greaney’s study for the first three years in which I posted at Motley Fool). We are ashamed of ourselves and of our institutions. So we try to pretend that Shiller’s research was never published or doesn’t matter or doesn’t say what it says or doesn’t imply what it implies or whatever.
I don’t even put the primary blame on you Goons. I obviously don’t approve of your behavior. But Goon posters are a common reality on the internet. The usual way to deal with them is to ban them. Had Motley Fool banned Greaney when he made his first death threat, none of us would have travelled this dark road. Motley Fool screwed up. Big time. Motley Fool does not employ Goons. But Motley Fool voted for Get Rich Quick when they failed to ban the fellow putting forward the death threats and instead banned the fellow who discovered the errors in the Old School retirement studies. The site administrator at Motley Fool is more to blame for what has happened than any of you Goons, in my assessment.
I have had people say to me: “Rob, every thing that you say about investing makes perfect sense. But I just cannot follow your advice because my retirement is important to me and what you say is the opposite of what the experts in this field say.” That’s a pretty darn sensible statement, is it not?
The problem here is not that there is anything that I am saying that is wrong or that anything that I am saying is not supported by 33 years of peer-reviewed research or that anything that I am saying is not easy to understand. The problem is that every expert in the field is not saying what I am saying. Shiller published his research in 1981. He won a Noble prize for it. What the heck is going on?
The problem is that this stuff is TOO important for people to feel good about saying something unless they are absolutely sure. Shiller’s stuff was such a breakthrough that people were properly skeptical about it. They held back, waiting for more information.
Then they started to feel funny about reporting on it because there had been such a long delay in discussing all the amazing implications of what Shiller found. In 2002, it had been 21 years since the peer-reviewed research has shown that there was zero chance that a retirement study containing no adjustment for valuations could get the numbers even remotely right. What are you going to say at that point? “Oopsi! Sorry we destroyed your hopes for a decent retirement by giving you wildly wrong numbers all these years!”
Everyone in the field wants to see the Ban on Honest Posting lifted. Bogle wants that or he wouldn’t have included the language in his book showing that the Old School studies get the numbers wildly wrong. Bernstein wants that or he wouldn’t have included Chapter Two in his book; Chapter Two is the best short description of Valuation-Informed Indexing that has been published. Larry Swedroe wants that or he wouldn’t have put forward the honest posts that got him banned at the Bogleheads Forum until he promised Linduaer that he would go back to posting dishonestly. Wade Pfau wants that or he wouldn’t have put so much effort into the research he co-authored with me in the days before he learned that his career would be destroyed if he dared to “cross” the Buy-and-Holders by posting honestly. And on and on and on and on.
The trouble is that lots of Buy-and-Holders will be going to prison if the truth about what the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research says gets out. And lots more will be getting sued by billions and billions and billions of dollars.
So the Buy-and-Holders stick together and respond in a ruthlessly abusive way when they find someone like me posting honestly about the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research.
If our economic system is going to survive, we are going to have to find some means of getting accurate and honest information about how stock investing works out to millions of middle-class people, Evidence. The posts that I put to this site are aimed at helping people come to terms with what we were up against all these years, with why it took so long to get these wonderful advances out to all the people who need to learn about them.
I am anti-Goon. Very, very, very much so.
But the deeper reality is that being anti-Goon shouldn’t cause me any problems. We ALL are anti-Goon. That’s why we have laws against financial fraud in the first place.
The question here is — Why as a society have we made an exception to our usual ant-Goon policies to permit the Buy-and-Holders to continue to shove their smelly Get Rich Quick garbage down our throats and cause us all even more economic ruin that we have already suffered?
When we answer that one, we are on our way to enjoying all the wonderful advances we have achieved in recent decades. The articles at this site aim to help us all come to understand the answer to that one.
Take care, man.