Poor, fearmongering Brett Arends.
It seems that he is not very happy with the reaction to his fearmongering. Of course, he doesn't apologize for it. In fact, he's right proud of it:
"Brett Arends," raged one, is just trying "to scare people into saving more money."The ends justify the means and all. Machiavelli would be proud. Of course Brett is like everyone who's ever been caught bullshitting and fearmongering. He bends over backwards to point out that because his ends, (get more people to save better) is noble, that his means, (scaring people with alarmist bullshitting) don't matter. In fact, not only do Brett's ends justify his means, in Brett's mind, his fearmongering is ennobled because his ends are just that good.
You know what? He's right.
And just for that, I'm going to do it some more.
There's a word for Brett's justifications, all 4 pages of it.
Not his point that people should save better. That is correct.
What I am saying is that when you set yourself up as an expert, especially a financial expert, advising people, whether indirectly or not, on things that can literally change their lives in huge ways for good or ill, not only do the means count, but they are every bit as important as the ends. In fact, no matter how good Brett's advice is, I would advise going elsewhere for it, even if someone else says the same thing, because fearmongering is unethical behavior for someone in a position of trust. I don't need to be scared into doing the right thing. That's not going to help me do the correct thing as a part of my life. That's going to make me fear the consequences of not doing whatever Brett's shilling. (yes, I specifically mean "shilling" as we'll see in a second) Brett's fearmongering will help no one make educated decisions about the long term cost of things like phones or cars. All it's going to do is scare people from using anything but bottom line price as the judge of a purchases worthiness.
However, after reading Brett's article, I'm modifying my Technorati Tag for him. Brett Arends is not a fearmongering douchbag, he's a doubletalking hypocrite. For my proof, I give you this, the last thing in his article:
P.S. Just $99 a Month for TheStreet’s 5 Most Popular Investing ServicesNow we come to the real reason Brett's so anti-luxury purchase...if you buy an iPhone that will cost you, in immediate terms $2,039 according to Brett, (I'm ignoring his tax bracket and credit interest bullshit), you might not have the $2376 for the RealMoney Silver package that TheStreet, Brett's employer, and Brett, are pushing.
RealMoney Silver brings you a balanced toolkit of 5 services to protect and grow your profits in any market. Get Action Alerts PLUS with Jim Cramer’s personal portfolio stock picks...RealMoney for unlimited access to up to 15 exclusive stories daily...Stocks Under $10 that identifies top bargain stocks PLUS Value Investor and Earnings Calls. Get it all for just $99 a month.
Evidently, that extra $337 that Brett and TheStreet want you to spend is okay if it goes to them. It's only when Apple and AT&T get it that it's a complete waste of money.
Brett of course would argue that spending that $2376 will help you earn FAR more money. But he couldn't of course, guarantee it. That would not only be lying, but it would most likely be illegal. Brett of course, would have to admit that there's not one iota of information in RealMoney Silver that isn't available for free from the internet, or your local library. Of course, you might have to prod him a bit on that last one.
So let's see, what is more likely:
- Brett Arends and TheStreet are beside themselves with worry over how people are pissing away their retirement money on luxury crap like the iPhone, and will do anything to help Mr & Mrs America, and all the ships at sea do the right thing so their golden years are truly golden.
- Brett Arends and TheStreet are trying to scare you so badly that you won't notice them trying to take more money from your pocket to line theirs
Based on Brett's self-admitted pride in his fearmongering douchebaggery, I'm going with #2.
Brett Arends: doubletalking hypocrite.
I wonder how happy he is now.