The apparent Muslim terrorists who struck Paris are the visible consequence of a variety of festering factors. Pre-attack anti-immigration sentiment has been rising in Europe and here in the U.S.. Don’t be surprised if that sentiment spikes in France and elsewhere after this terror event. Any who thinks the mass killings in the French capitol won’t effect politics here in the U.S. are missing elements of the big picture.
We naturally mourn those who suffered and died. In the midst of that, one must not become paralyzed. Like you, I recall the eerie lack of air traffic in the hours after our 9/11. The economy took a hit then…and now?
Islamic extremists are not bound by the PC (politically correct) conventions of the West. Significant numbers of Muslims believe they’re called upon to subvert, conquer, convert or kill those who don’t follow their understanding of the ‘prophet Mohamed.’
For those who want to kill or rape, there is an attraction to their jihad on those levels, along side of any ‘religiously’ motivated thinking.
Original image credit, WIkiCommons. Poster credit – MHProNews © 2015, all rights reserved.
History’s lessons are clear. Aggressors must be stopped. One doesn’t appease aggression, that only fosters the bully’s or a rouge regime’s attacks. If the Western response is to sit back and wait, the militant Islamists will keep coming. Beyond military/law enforcement type actions, we better become more committed to converting them as they are to conquer, kill and convert us.
Talk, pin pricks and drone strikes alone won’t stop the zealots.
We’re an industry trade publication, not a world affairs corner. So let’s segue with a parallel from the tragic lessons of current events and past history and apply them to our industry and profession.
There are areas of life we can compromise in, and not suffer. You might like more salt and pepper, your spouse or other loved one likes less. No problem, acceptance or compromise are easily done among reasonable people.
By contrast, there are arenas that are literal life and death (eg: health, crime, terror); still others that are economically or politically limiting, crippling or that can become professional life and death. Just ask a coal miner if government mandates have impacted his work in the last few years. Ask those who wanted Keystone what they think about Big Brother’s stopping they’re plan, in favor of riskier rail transit of that same heavy oil.
So MH is not alone in being harmed by the policies of the federal government.
Dr. Lesli Gooch, MHI.
The Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Dr. Lesli Gooch recently reminded an audience that the Duty to Serve (DTS) was passed as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA 2008). 7 years later, we now ‘hope’ that the reluctant GSEs will be prodded into supporting chattel lending, to fulfill their Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing.
For the next few moments, we’ll keep the following a generalization; this is not about DTS per se. This can easily include fire sprinklers, energy or other desired-by-others mandates.
In struggling for the rights of MH home owners, home buyers and professionals, we must not fail to see that you can compromise yourself into a corner. You don’t negotiate with jihadis, and some MH Pros say there is only so much negotiating you can do with public officials before you harm your own industry’s interests.
When the economic collapse of 2008 took place, Manufactured Housing took it on the chin for the 3rd time in a decade. The first bust that began after the peak of 1998, that one was on the industry’s own. But as Marty Lavin and others have said, the industry cleaned up that act. We didn’t need to wait for regulators to do it for us. The market punished, the industry responded. That’s how its supposed to work in the U.S.A..
The other two big hits on MH? A case can be made that federal policies harmed our industry in a variety of fashions.
There are those who agree with the Masthead position that MH ought to be doing half-a-million a year in annual shipments. Why are we struggling along with sub-100,000 shipments?
But unlike America after 9/11, which galvanized the public in the wake of terror attacks; MHVille failed to truly pull together when we experienced our industry’s ‘9/11’ in 2008. The result is reflected in facts shown in the chart above.
Without a vision, the people perish (cf: Prvbs 29:18).
The Proper Role of Government?
An essential role of government is defense of a nation. There is also the internal security against crime or threats from incidents such as fire. Water, sewer, trash and roads can be and is done privately, as many MHC owners know. But in a populous area, those utility and infrastructure items are commonly delegated to government. Legal and judicial processes are in the public authority’s domain.
Talk to a strict Constitutional constructionist, and they’ll tell you that the federal government has long blown past its designated limits. Let’s stop and think!
We freeborn Americans are begging the CFPB – ‘our government’ – to give us a break. We’re asking Congress to force the CFPB’s hand by passing a law – The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which HR 650 passed last spring, and S 682 is currently attached to the appropriations bill in the U.S. Senate. The irony is that the Dodd-Frank Act already allows the CFPB to do on its own what HR 650/S 682 would compel it to do.
There should be outrage among MH pros and home owners alike on this issue. When enough outrage is vented to Congress and CFPB, then we will see the needed change. Period.
We’re close. Let’s not let it slip away, because this battle will be decided in the next few weeks.
You can call your Congressmen or Senator via the contact information found on the link here, and ask them to support passage of HR 650 and S 682 as part of the current appropriations bill. Image credit, ContacttheCongress.org
Beyond the Current Issues – Root Causes
Yes, we ought to work for that bill’s passage, which the Masthead supports. But let’s also look beyond that to the root causes, so we don’t keep fighting these multi-year battles forever!
The reason the Founding Fathers divided the powers of the federal government – and left so many matters ‘to the state and to the People’ – was precisely to avoid the kind of government overreach we’re seeing today.
That overreach is done by officials who may be hundreds or thousands of miles away from those they regulate, and fail to understand. That overreach by public officials can be so costly, that it restricts and kills off business.
So as a consequence, we are seeing more businesses of all kinds fail today than start up. Small business is normally the largest driver of employment. MH retailers, communities and even factories are by definition, among those small businesses.
Here we are in an affordable housing crisis, and the CFPB and their allies are making it hard for American’s most affordable form of green, appealing quality ownership to thrive to serve those market needs.
Do you see the domino effect of government getting too big, too powerful, and is often unaccountable for the impact of its actions?
What does it harm Richard Cordray in his palatial new CFPB offices, when his policies harm those MH home owners and businesses through the CFPB’s regulations?
Richard Cordray, CFPB. American Thinker reported in 2014 that the cost per square foot to update the CFPB’s rented office space was $590 per square foot. How does that spending help consumer protection? Photo credit, Bloomberg News.
So-called liberals in fact are imposing their will on others! “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” What those slogans from George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 reminds us is that we are living in that Topsy-Turvey Big Brother world in America today.
Lesli Gooch has said that MHI is there to listen. It’s there to be our national voice.
Okay, let’s take that at face value. The time is now for there to be a serious effort to pull together all the various elements of manufactured housing.
Sure, we want to see HR 650/S 682 pass and get signed into law. Yes, DTS would be nice to have – even if it only adds a similar number of loans annually as FHA Title I currently yields, as some experts are telling us to expect.
But if we are to become truly effective in DC and beyond, we must mobilize far more of the MH Pros and MH homeowners than we currently have been doing.
Further, there needs to be sensitivity to the interests of independents, such as the manufacturers represented by MHARR. The only times MH has truly advanced in DC is when MHI and MHARR have worked together.
M Mark Weiss, President and CEO of MHARR.
Don Glisson, Jr. leads Triad Financial Services, a 5 decade MH lender and prior MHI Chairman.
Shouldn’t that be a historic lesson we should heed?
It is in that context that the wildly popular Another Cup of Coffee with… Don Glisson Jr. should be read. Don understands the vital need for bringing independents into the broader discussion. We and others applaud Don for speaking out on such important topics. At the recent MHI/NCC event, we heard lots of positive feedback on that topic and others in our current November issue of MHProNews featured articles.
Root Causes and End Games
At the root of our industry’s problems are a few basics. Among them, these 3…
- Government over-reach at all levels, that keep Americans from doing what we were once freely allowed to do. That suggests we should align ourselves with others who want to see government be leaner and less inclined to the crony capitalism that plays favorites and thus picks winners and losers in the marketplace.
- MHEducation. I will point back to James McGee and Chet Murphree’s fine point (near the end of the video, linked here), that can be
summed up as education. MHPros and the public at large need different types of education, but that education is necessary. Ron Thomas Sr. said there is a hunger to know, especially among MH independents. That too is a call for MH Education. The government won’t do it, people like you and me must. We’re doing our part. Are you doing yours?
- Working for the common good. I’m not talking a Utopian, Pollyanna dream-world where we all get along perfectly. That’s not in the cards for a fallen humanity. But we are able to work with each other in respectful, common-sense and productive ways, and thus advance all segments of the MH Industry – naturally including the interests of some 8.8 million MH homes, and the 20+ million living in them.
There is talk of new structures at MHI, perhaps signaled in part by an effort to get more retailers and communities into the mix. Frankly, there is more change than that needed, and that too is being quietly discussed.
One of the strongest takeaways from the recent MHI National Communities Council (NCC) event in Chicago was made in the hallway by a seasoned industry veteran, who (paraphrasing) said, ‘The interests of MH homeowners and businesses are naturally aligned. Those alignment needs to become ever more a reality.‘
When the phenomenal value proposition that MH represents is better understood and appreciated, our industry’s challenges will slowly melt away. Unlike the war on terror, our conflict can be bloodless. Ours is an effort to win minds and hearts over, to get people to act, instead of griping and moaning or being apathetic…
…on second thought, maybe our war isn’t completely different than the war in terror after all? We must win the military battles to stop aggressors, but we must also win over minds and hearts of those terrorists and other foes, or we’ll be fighting that war far beyond Paris for generations to come.
Let Freedom Ring! ##
“Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” Inscribed on the U.S. Liberty Bell, from Leviticus 25:10. Image credit, SodaHead.
(Editor’s note to regular readers: our plan to cover a Sam Zell related topic has been postponed, to do the timely article above.)
L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, outside the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, DC.
By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.