Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
Matt Lauer? Someone needs to teach you how to do a proper analogy.
I think it’s a good analogy.
Lots of people knew about Lauer. They kept their mouths shut out of fear.
The problem with using intimidation tactics to keep a cover-up going is that, once a small number of people overcome their fear and speak out, the rest work up the courage to speak out too. Things can turn fast.
Lots of people understand that Shiller is saying something different from what Bogle is saying. Lots of people understand that, if valuations affect long-term returns, there is zero chance that the safe withdrawal rate is the same number at all valuation levels.
I think that it is a shame what happened to Matt Lauer. It is of course a shame for the women involved. But it is also a shame for Lauer, in my assessment. If he had never been led to believe that he could get away with such behavior, he would in all likelihood have engaged in less of it. So those who led Lauer to believe that he could get away with his outrageous behavior contributed to the problem.
So it is in the investing advice field. Everyone who follows the peer-reviewed research in this field has known since 1981 that the safe withdrawal rate is a number that changes with changes in the valuation level. People should have spoken up when the Trinity study (on which the Greaney study was based) was published in the mid-1990s. The Trinity study should never have passed peer review. The people on the committee knew about Shiller’s research. They should have spoken up.
We all played a role in creating the climate in which the things Matt Lauer did could happen. And we all played a role in creating a climate in which the errors in the Buy-and-Hold retirement studies could be covered up for 15 years.
When we want to know the realities of stock investing, we will come to know them. The peer-reviewed research we need to learn to realities has been available to us for 36 years now. We just need to give ourselves permission to talk about it on every investing discussion board and blog on the internet. I believe that we will make the change in the days following the next price crash, when it will become clear to all of us that we can no longer afford to pretend not to know what we all on some level of consciousness do know — valuations really do matter, in the calculation of safe withdrawal rates and in every other strategic question facing long-term stock investors.
My sincere take.