Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
If I am reading this right, we have an anonymous poster that quotes what Shiller says and describes his Shiller invests, but you call that abusive posting, because you think Shiller is either lying or not telling the truth because he is afraid. So the only way you would see that person as not being abusive is if he agrees with your position on what you think Shiller “Should” say. Have I got that right?
The way you say it isn’t exactly right. You’re twisting things to serve your purposes, as you always do. You take statements out of context, that sort of thing.
All that said, there is a point mixed in with all your deceptive garbage that is real and important.
Why is it that the entire world does not know with something close to a perfect understanding what Shiller thinks on all these questions? I say what I believe on all sorts of issues all the time and I say that every point I make is rooted in Shiller’s 1981 finding that valuations affect long-term returns. You are not being unreasonable to ask: “What does Shiller think of what Rob says?” It’s a perfectly logical question. Shiller published his research 36 years ago. We should know by now what he thinks on just about every question that follows from the publication of that research.
But we don’t.
The reality is that we just don’t.
The first question that came up in our discussions is the question of whether one needs to include a valuations adjustment in a safe withdrawal rate study to get the numbers right. Pretty darn basic, right? The primary purpose of investing is to finance one’s retirement So we all should be pretty darn concerned that we get that one right. Okay. John Greaney says that you don’t have to include a valuations adjustment. Mel Linduaer obviously thinks the same. Jack Bogle too. Rob Bennett obviously thinks otherwise. How about Shiller? Does Shiller agree with Rob Bennett? Or with Jack Bogle?
It would help to know, would it not? It would be a lot harder for you Goons to terrorize our board and blog communities if Shiller came out with a clear statement that he endorses Rob Bennett’s views on this matter. I think that would be great. I think he should do it. I think that, when Shiller does that, we will be able to put the nasty side of this matter behind us and have a healthy and productive and fun debate from that point forward. Shiller hasn’t done it. Why? It would take all of ten minutes of his time to write a brief statement saying “Rob Bennett is right re safe withdrawal rates, in my view” and get it posted at some big investing site. The question of whether the retirement studies used by millions of middle-class Americans to plan their retirements got the numbers wrong or not is obviously an important one. So why haven’t we seen that statement (or a statement saying the opposite if Shiller agrees with you Goons — a statement saying that this Rob Bennett fellow is off his nut re the safe withdrawal rate matter)?
And why haven’t you Goons DEMANDED such a statement from Shiller? You have gone to enormous trouble to keep people from being able to discuss the errors in the Buy-and-Hold retirement studies. If you truly believed that there were no errors, you would just go to Shiller and ask kindly for a statement to settle the matter. If for some reason he did not respond, you would ask Bogle to serve as a go-between and get the statement you need to settle this matter that way. This is an obvious solution to the problem that has been available to you going back to Day One and you have never sought it. Huh?
You don’t want a statement. You know what the statement would say. You don’t want a statement.
We have known intellectually how stock investing works for 36 years now. Most of us emotionally cannot accept what we know intellectually. So we keep out mouths shut and we encourage all others to keep their mouths shut too and we punish the Rob Bennetts of the world who just can’t catch a clue as to what behavior is tolerated on investing boards and what behavior is not tolerated.
Shiller tells the truth. He was awarded a Nobel prize for doing so. But he would prefer not to get banned from every site on the internet. So he pulls his punches. He is not going to give you a dishonest statement if you ask for it. But he is not going to offer a completely honest statement either until he feels that the time is right, until he feels that the price that he will be made to pay for his honesty will not be too great. I think it would be fair to say that that time will come sometime following the next price crash.
I don’t want to wait until then to start posting honestly re matters that every investor alive on the planet needs to know about TODAY. That’s the difference between me and Shiller. I am an inpatient sort of fellow.
Shiller honors the Social Taboo against speaking honestly about how stock investing works while bubble prices remain in effect. I violate that Taboo every day. I believe that that Taboo is killing us as a society and so I violate it daily in hopes that others will come to see the need to violate it as well and we will all move together to a far better place in our understanding of how stock investing works than we inhabit today.
I hope that helps a small bit, my long-time Taboo-following friend.