Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
I suspect you are implying that the bogleheads thread is missing your input. Is that correct?
No, that’s not correct.
The thread is missing the honest input of THOUSANDS of good and smart people who should be contributing to that board community in an honest way but who today do not feel safe doing so.
Let’s take one hugely important example — my good friend Jack Bogle.
Jack obviously knows that Yale Economics Professor Robert Shiller has published research showing that there is precisely zero chance that Buy-and-Hold could ever work for a single long-term investor, right? WHY THE HECK ISN’T HE TELLING PEOPLE THAT AT THAT BOARD IN PLAIN AND SIMPLE AND CLEAR AND DIRECT LANGUAGE?
Has my good friend Jack gone fuckin’ insane?
That’s a fair question, isn’t it?
Jack should have come out in 1981 and gave a speech saying that there was new research that cast doubts on the Buy-and-Hold strategy as it had been developed in its first-draft form by Bogle and the other Buy-and-Hold Pioneers. Had he done that, there would be no problem today. Had he done that, we would all be Valuation-Informed Indexers today.
Jack didn’t do that. He is one of the flawed humans. He messed up.
So what do the rest of us do about that?
We could cover up for Jack, right? That might work for a few years, right?
But there’s a downside, isn’t there?
If we engage in a cover-up, we are engaging in financial fraud, a felony under the laws of the United States. We land in prison somewhere down the line. Perhaps the cover-up idea is not our best thought! Just perhaps!
Are there any other options?
The other option is to come clean.
That’s what I proposed on the morning of May 13, 2002.
Would there have been prison sentences had we opened the entire internet to honest posting on the morning of May 13, 2002?
I don’t think so. It is possible that there were some terrible things that happened before that date that I don’t know about and that I am wrong about this. But, going by what I know, there would not have been prison sentences if we all had come clean on the morning of May 13, 2002.
How about today?
I don’t see any way to avoid prison sentences today. But I am not God. Perhaps I am wrong. It has been known to happen.
Does it even matter?
We are all obviously better off if we come clean today than we will be if we come clean tomorrow. So let’s make it happen today, you know? Why the f not?
I don’t know how much confidence Bogle has in Buy-and-Hold.
My confidence is zero. I don’t believe that his confidence is zero. If it were zero and he continued promoting it, he would be The Frank Underwood of Personal Finance, a monster. I do not think of my dear friend Jack as a monster. So I do not view it as even remotely possible that his confidence is zero.
How about 100 percent? Could Jack’s confidence level in Buy-and-Hold be 100 percent?
No, that’s not possible. If it were 100 percent, he would be happy to hear people express contrary views and he obviously is not even a tiny bit happy to hear people express contrary views. So we can rule out 100 percent.
It’s not 0 percent and it’s not 100 percent. It’s something between those two.
Could it be 50 percent?
I don’t know.
I cannot see into Jack’s mind.
My guess is that Jack’s confidence is something in the neighborhood of 70 percent. Enough to permit him to rationalize that it is okay to continue to promote the concept.
BUT NOT GREAT ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY HIM NOT TELLING EVERY PERSON WHO COMES TO THAT BOARD ABOUT HIS DOUBTS!
My good friend Jack has to tell us about his doubts. He MUST do this. Or he will go to prison too. And that is just too, too, too sad.
Do you see, Anonymous?
We don’t just need Rob Bennett contributing honestly to the Bogleheads Forum. We need Jack Bogle contributing honestly to the Bogleheads Forum.
And Bill Bernstein.
And Wade Pfau.
And Larry Swedroe.
And Scott Burns.
And J.D. Roth.
And Mike Piper.
And Carl Richards.
And Michael Kitces.
And Bill Schultheis.
And on and on and on and on and on.
We need EVERYONE contributing their honest thoughts to every investing board and blog on the internet.
Do you see?