Home > affordable housing, Events, Manufactured Housing Assoc Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Commentary, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) > Surprising Non-Partisan Revelations, Opportunities, Controversies Could Decide 2020 Campaigns – Affordable Housing, Antitrust, Wealth Inequality, and Manufactured Homes

Surprising Non-Partisan Revelations, Opportunities, Controversies Could Decide 2020 Campaigns – Affordable Housing, Antitrust, Wealth Inequality, and Manufactured Homes

 

SurpisingNonPartisanRevelationsOpportunitiesControversiesCOuldDecide2020CampaignsAffordableHousingAntitrustWealthInequalityManufacturedHomes

Senator Cory Booker (NJ-D), 2020 Democratic Presidential hopeful, President Donald J. Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence have used a similar phrase. “Enforce…the law.”

 

Senator Bernie Sanders, another 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination candidate and President of the United States (POTUS) Trump have similarly used a phrase, “the system is rigged,” while differing on how to unrig the system.

Warren Buffett –

  • perhaps the third richest person on the planet,
  • well known Democratic supporter,
  • Chairman of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate that includes Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation, and other brands involved in affordable manufactured homes –

– said the following.

 

WarrenBuffettQuoteThereIsClassWarfareAllRightButItsMyClassTheRichClassThatsMakingWarWereWinningManufacturedHousingMHProNews

 

Don’t jump to conclusions.  By definition, only those with an open mind can be reasoned with.

 

The Code

People say things for a variety of reasons. Some things are said that are simply a statement of what is – or appears to be – objectively true.

The quote from Buffett – with whose strategic Moat and several other business practices this writer disagrees with on ethical and legal grounds – nevertheless spoke the bare-knuckles truth in the AZ  Quote immediately above.  It’s an example of separating wheat from chaff, with all people, organizations, and things.

Some statements are made in a more slippery fashion. It’s code.

Things are said that may sound appealing, but when carefully examined, may only be a veneer for obscuring reality or misleading people in a way that the speaker believed will benefit himself/herself, their group, or organization.

Discerning what is sincere from what is coded language is thus imperative in an era in which the majority – per public polling – now believe that the phrase ‘Fake News’ represents something quite real.

Surveys also suggest that tens of millions believe that the American system is rigged.

For an example of both of those last two sentences. Right or wrong, millions of Americans were led to believe that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election. But at least four federal investigations have disproven that claim, counting the one led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller which included a team of attorneys made up of Democrats and Clinton-connected supporters. Mueller’s legal conclusion, “no collusion.” No Americans were charged with colluding with Russians in connection to the 2016 campaign.  The claimed ‘obstruction’ item debate is for another time.

We are living in an Orwellian era. Tens of millions believe things that are demonstrably untrue. Those millions can vote with the same weight to their ballot as your vote or mine carries on Election Day.

That outlines slivers of vexing realities. But ironically, those factors hold a key to understanding how to win – or lose – the 2020 presidential and congressional races.

 

The College…

Some think the Electoral College system established by the U.S. Constitution is flawed. Others think the Electoral College represents the enduring genius of the founders. Whichever way you see it, the reality is at the state and Congressional district levels, the popular vote will rule.

America can be divided in a variety of ways. Race, gender, religion, political viewpoints, sexual orientation, income brackets, homeowners vs. renters, have vs. have nots. These are just some of the ways that political and corporate thinkers view the national scene.

Of the groups below, owners of conventional housing make up the largest category. But renters – or even owners of mobile/manufactured homes – could easily be the ‘swing vote’ in tight races.

  • Homeowners – “In 2018, there were about 127.59 million households in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a household consists of all the people who occupy a housing unit,” per Statista.
  • Renters – 111 million in 2018, per Apartment List.
  • Mobile/Manufactured Homeowners – some 22 million, per the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)

 

 

UltimateManufacturedHomeHousingInfographicNotMobileHomeTrailerHouseFactoryBuiltManufacturedHousingMHProNews

The latest fact-check on tornado related deaths, damage, and distruction, is linked here.

 

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, and 2020 Election Game-Changing Issues

The next bulleted issues have heated up. How they are handled by candidates and office holders could influence the votes of millions.

In many ‘battleground’ states, only a few percentage points are necessary for victory. As little as 1 or 2 percent in some states or districts could decide an electoral contest in 2020, as experts and keen observers know.

The 2020 game is on. It has been since the 2016 and 2018 election results were known. Let’s review some hot topics and see how they may hold the key to victory for politicos in tough intra-or inter major party – or even independently run – electoral contests.

 

  • Consolidation, monopolization, and antitrust. Monopolistic power influences markets. That in turn can harm smaller firms that traditionally create the most jobs. That means monopolization can harm the interests of workers and compensation. One must bear in mind, that per experts, there are several legal tests that may trigger antitrust law. Sheer size may or may not trigger antitrust law in America, but certain ‘bad behaviors’ can. The left and right increasingly agree that certain firms, often the so-called FAANG or tech giants, may be exercising monopolistic power that violates one or more provisions of antitrust or other laws.  In manufactured housing, beyond those tech overlords, Berkshire Hathaway – parent to Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage and other companies – is a topic of concern. But so is the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which is being credibly alleged to fostering consolidation. Given multiple opportunities to explain away evidence related to those concerns, the Omaha’s Berkshire brands that are headquartered in the Knoxville, TN metro and Arlington, VA based MHI have declined comment on issues like those documented here, here, here, here, and here.
  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson – affordable housing, homelessness, and some 1/3 of Americans renting with dramatically reduced chances for wealth accumulation. By chance and/or by intent, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., has spotlighted in recent weeks a surprising solution to the affordable housing crisis, as a video by left-of-center Bloomberg with other commentary posted here reflects. Much of what Secretary Carson has said and done is factually spot on. It should be widely embraced by the manufactured home industry’s dominant firms and MHI. Which is why it may seem odd at first that those same firms that Dr. Carsons’ recent address in New Orleans and his June 1-5th Innovative Housing Summit (IHS) on the National Mall in Washington, DC have given only a token or fig leaf support to messages and efforts that on the surface seem so useful to them.
  • There are, however, two words missing from Secretary Carson’s efforts that are legal in nature. Those two words, “enhanced preemption” could hold the key to overcoming most regulatory, zoning, and placement hurdles that are locking millions out of potential affordable home ownership, and/or lower cost rentals. The fact that Secretary Carson seems to be unaware of “enhanced preemption” – which officials at HUD have declined responding to that concern – raises a ‘swamp’ or crony capitalist question. Have major companies, MHI, and officials at HUD obscured or withheld key truths that could help Secretary Carson rapidly unlock the door to home ownership opportunities for millions? Without the need for new legislation? If so, how that topic is handled in the next few months may tilt the outcome of the 2020 races in numerous states. Why?
  • Because wealth inequality and a growing distrust of capitalism are other key issues, often more so among millennials. Notably, “enforcing the law” and properly exposing a “rigged system” that has sprouted “fake news” are keys to unlocking those doors. Because at its root, the interest in ‘socialism’ is perhaps best understood as concerns over bad behavior by uber capitalists that have manipulated the system to their own benefit.  That’s Buffett’s point, in the pull quote, further above.

 

Secretary Carson is not alone in having elevated the value of modern manufactured homes. As a report linked below makes clear, manufactured homes – properly understood – are safer, stronger, more appealing, and are often embraced in a bipartisan way.

 

 

The MHI video below captures a sense of that, by showcasing legislators from both major parties praising what they toured on the National Mall at IHS last week.

 

The report linked from the text-image box below outlines one possible case for antitrust action involving the manufactured housing industry.

 

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHProNews


Uncontested documents, quotes in context, and video that claims to make a ‘smoking gun’ case for antitrust. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

 

The report linked here could potentially attract numbers across the left-right divides.  Rephrased, these concept – properly understood – can tap into millins of voters that they impact, and thus could help win elections. The strategies outlined are legal ones that don’t require changing or passing any new laws.

Let’s be blunt. Manufactured homes evoke stereotypical images that Secretary Carson is seeking to debunk, based upon demonstrable facts. There are obviously those who believe they benefit from those stereotypes of manufactured homes as ‘trailers’ in ‘trailer parks’ that they may mistakenly call ‘mobile homes’ when there have been no mobile homes built in the USA since June 15, 1976.

 

 

If millions of Americans knew the facts about manufactured homes, outlined in the 2018 reports above and below, concerns held by millions of conventional housing owners would melt.

 

 

It is in the interest of the long-term economic interests of the vast majority of Americans for their to be more affordable housing, and more affordable home ownership. Given those evidence-based truths, how does one explain the fact that the realities about manufactured homes has become so obscured?  Interesting and uncontested fact prove useful in answering that query.

First, since Warren Buffett made the decision to buy Clayton Homes, manufactured housing as an industry has shrunk in size.

 

ManufacturedHomeProductionShipmentSince1995MastheadManufacturedHousingAnalysisMHProNews

Buffett led-Berkshire Hathaway clearly has the capital, and the credit lines needed, to fund any sort of educational and/or marketing campaign that their wholly owned subsidiary Clayton Homes may desire. So how does one explain fewer manufactured home sales in 2018 than in 2003, when Berkshire first acquired Clayton Homes and their affiliated lending? How does one explain that in 2019, year over year manufactured home shipments are declining – now for 8 straight months – during an affordable housing crisis?

 

Logically, it is difficult to dispute that Berkshire Hathaway has the cash, expertise available, media assets, and media influence necessary for their organization to single-handedly debunk the very concerns about manufactured homes that Secretary Carson’s efforts in 2019 and previously are attempting.  Buffett led-Berkshire had $112 billion cash-on-hand in February, 2019, per the Motley Fool investor website. Are we to believe that a tiny fraction of that couldn’t be allocated to changing the dynamics of manufactured housing?

Which begs the question, why has manufactured housing not received that kind of support from Berkshire?

It must be noted that Kevin Clayton, President and CEO of Clayton Homes, brags in a video posted on the report linked here that “Warren” told him that they have ‘plenty of money’ to do whatever they need or want. In that same 2011 video, Kevin said they were planning an image and educational campaign.  What happened to that effort? That same video made a point that Secretary Carson made last week, about how ‘resilient’ manufactured homes that are properly installed are during a windstorm. It is often older ‘mobile homes’ that were not properly anchored that are the subject of media headlines, and those are only a few a year to a few dozen, out of some 8.8 million units. Fact – dying in a bath tub, shower, car, or boat are far more common than dying in a mobile or manufactured home hit by a tornado or hurricane.

So why is there so much misleading impressions and misinformation?  Why has the RV industry, to pick but one possible comparison, surpassed manufactured housing by some 5 to 1 since 1998, when manufactured homes used to outsell RVs 3 to 2?

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017MastheadManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

The data per MHI member, Skyline Champion, a publicly traded company (SKY).  Note the green line. Manufactured housing is demonstrably underperforming. 20 years ago, manufactured homes outsold RVs by about 3 to 2. Today, RVs outsell manufactured homes by some 5 to 1. Manufactured homes are normally purchased for full time living, many RVs are for recreational or part time living. Many RVs – which are towable as well as motorized – can be higher total cost than manufactured homes. The cost per square foot for a manufactured home is routinely lower.

 

To answer such questions, one must first grasp that millions of Buffett’s donations have flowed via ‘dark money’ channels through various left-wing nonprofits into efforts that have literally attacked manufactured housing business interests. See the details found in the report via the hot-linked text-image box below.

 

Prosperity Now, Nonprofits Sustain John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” Video in Their Reports

 

That in turn means that Buffett has funded both sides of several political and image fights in manufactured housing.  A closer look at the facts reveals that by 2005, controversies involving Clayton Homes have periodically sparked outrage that has cast a shadow over manufactured housing. Mainstream media videos, that span the left-right divide, are posted below that make the point.

 

 

Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – Investor Lessons Learned

 

No one in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis has yet to deny the evidence from the articles linked herein.

Facts and patterns of behavior, when laid out and connected in a puzzle-like fashion fit together to establish the following image.

By restricting or diverting access to capital in various ways, such as the one linked here as well as other possible examples – including possible FHA Title I and Title II, USDA, VA and other reforms – Clayton Homes has gone from 13 percent market share in 2003 to some 48 to 50 percent market share by 2018, depending on whose data you use.

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003MHanufacturedHousingIndust

Clayton Homes, 2003. After the Buffett Berkshire Buyout.

 

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEnd2017MHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

While several allegations of monopolistic practices have been made against Clayton Homes and Berkshire Hathaway, this website and our sister site are the only ones to date known to have produced documentary evidence, coupled with logic, and complimentary data. 

 

Rephrased, by constricting the market Buffett led Berkshire’s Clayton Homes, 21st and other lenders – with a wink and a nod by MHI – consolidated the market at a discounted value.

 

WarrenBuffettAZQuoteCriticalFactorDetermineValuePayFairBargainPriceMastheadTonyKovachMHProNews

 

It bears mention how that fits the Buffett quote above. It also has the benefit of potentially escaping regulatory scrutiny.

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryAnalysisMHProNews-519x768

 

It is precisely that kind of behavior that millions of millennials and others find distasteful about ‘capitalism’ that makes ‘socialism’ seem appealing to them. But that is a distortion of capitalism, it is crony or corrupted crony or vulture capitalism, quite different from free enterprise.

There are a few relatively simple concepts that if existing laws were applied could tip the 2020 election.

There is a case to be made that certain ‘big boy’ companies that dominate MHI are battling forces that are fueled by Buffett’s documented donations to specific nonprofits. Buffett’s money is demonstrably traced to both sides of several fights. Even if it was legal, it is arguably Machiavellian. There has been no whimper from Berkshire dominated MHI about that problem.

Furthermore, the last 3 MHI Chairman have oddly all had some sort of legal scandal attached to them. Coincidence?

 

MHIExecutiveCommitee3ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoChairmanMastheadCommentaryMHProNews

 

There are candidates in both major parties that may well be willing to take on such topics that are only thorny because they deal with some of the richest people and corporations in America and the world.

We state the points herein as believers in free enterprise and the principles of constitutionally limited government that founded this Republic. We believe in equal justice under the law, which at present,

 

Shocking, True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry, plus Solutions for Profitable, Sustainable Growth – May 2019

 

A variation that summarizes these issues can be found at the link here and in the hot-linked text image box above, that also cites various outside media and federal investigations into these same issues.

Perhaps no one in manufactured housing has interviewed more unpaid third-parties – including home owners – like the ones below, to provide others with an objective perspective of how the masses and experts think about manufactured home living.  While our sites and videos have sponsors, that doesn’t change what unpaid and unrewarded people have said.  The views shared below are common, not the exception.  The husband in this video is an engineer, the wife, a professional as well. Their statements fly in the face of commonly held beliefs.  Numerous such videos like these are found on MHLivingNews.com.

 

 

 

Summary

There is a growing agreement that spans the left-right political and media divisions in America that the United States faces a growing crisis in affordable housing.

There is a similarly growing agreement between voices in the two major parties that the consolidation or monopolization of varied U.S. economic sectors is occurring. Each of these trends are impacting manufactured homes, the millions who live in them, and those working or investing in the manufactured housing industry.

Some arguably believe they benefit from these trends. It is no surprise that those will raise no voice of alarm. Indeed, some of them will deny or attempt to obscure the notion that increasingly self-evident problems exist. For more on that, see some of the linked related reports, further below the byline and notices.

Stating the obvious can clarify issues. Citing facts, reasoned, and evidence-based allegations herein can orient those of good will that seek the greater good of the American public.  That in turn benefits thousands of individual business owners, and untold thousands of investors.

To oversimplify, relatively few benefit from the trends and concerns outlined herein, while the vast majority of Americans are being harmed. So, there is natural tension.

Millions in lobbying dollars and other forms of influence peddling are flowing in an attempt to avert the serious need to investigate these problems  Antitrust, and other legal measures that are already law could be used to break up and/or otherwise punish bad actors of which political parties they may be currying favor.

Why is such a scheme even contemplated?

Because housing is over a trillion dollar a year industry.

 

2018DataShareofHousingMarketManufacturedHousingInfographicDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews612

 

The ‘secrets hiding in plain sight’ outlined herein could be worth billions annually to those who have purportedly manipulated the system.

Our sources tell us that these issues are on several federal agency radars. The Knoxville metro news report is but one example. Keep in mind that the Seattle Times, and our own sources, indicate that there are other federal investigations beyond those noted in the next video.

 

 

Senator Elizabeth Warren and several 2020 Democrats have raised similar issues. The Trump Administration has recently been reported to be investigating big tech, but what has not yet been reported in the mainstream is any investigation into possibly corrupt or illegal actions by Berkshire Hathaway that is costing Americans a fortune.

Congress should hold public hearings on these matters.  Why?

Because the harm that has been done is public harm. Thousands of independent, small businesses have been harmed by such challenges. Calling in leaders like Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, Joe Stegmayer, Nathan Smith, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, Lesli Gooch, and Jason Boehlert – among others – to testify under oath before Congressional committees in the House and Senate could prove revealing.

It may also educate the public in the various ways that Secretary Carson has been promoting, that could boost economic opportunities and affordable housing options that could lift the boats of millions of Americans.

 

 

Carson has made himself available to sources across the left-right media divide to promote both Opportunity Zones, but also manufactured homes. He’s woven these issues together, arguably because they interlace.

There are debatably 3 possible scenarios that explain how a key solution to the affordable housing crisis that Secretary Carson and others have correctly said includes manufactured homes could be so misunderstood.

  • One must either believe that one of the smartest and most successful business investors of all time can’t figure out how to support Clayton Homes and their executive team in growing the sales of manufactured housing, OR
  • One must believe that Berkshire, Clayton, and the professionals at MHI are incompetent; neither of those two bullets makes sense.
  • Or one must believe that there is a hidden agenda. That the system has arguably been rigged and manipulated in ways to obscure the truth that gives the “Illusion of Motion” without delivering any significant results. That in turn allows Buffett to consolidate the industry at a discount.

 

 

 

In fact, the recent IHS 2019 at the National Mall reveals that no BH Media group publication has as of yesterday covered the event. Why not? Why didn’t MHI strongly promote that event, not to their members, but to the general public? Why doesn’t MHI have Secretary Carson’s speech in New Orleans – delivered to their own group – posted in full and prominently on their website. Are they inept? Incapable? Coincidence — or is it bullet #3 above? See the related reports below for more on these queries and the surprising facts.

We’ve researched and documented such concerns, layer by layer, over the course of several years. We’ve given the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis repeated opportunities to respond, as they used to do promptly just two years ago. But since then, they’ve gone silent in the face of these evidence-based inquires.

The general public is arguably harmed by these challenges.  Thousands of independent businesses – some that were successful for decades – folded after the events linked here and since.  MHI’s own president took a thinly veiled backhanded slap at them, in his own exit message.

There are more than enough reasons for federal and/or state agencies, and for Congress, to investigate the concerns that are costing the nation’s citizens tens to hundreds of billions of dollars a year. It could be a scheme so bold that it makes Bernie Madoff look like a piker.

This isn’t a Ponzi scheme, as was the case of Madoff. Rather, this is arguably an antitrust violation to rig the solution to the affordable housing crisis that some 4 to 12 people could have carried out. Using Buffett’s well professed patience, their possible payoff could be in the tens of billions annually. That sounds suspiciously like possible motivation to me.

Why didn’t MHI follow this pull quote from their own prior chairman? Or was that statement just posturing?

 

TimWilliamsGoodArgumensRespondEveryStoryRefuteEveryStatisticMakeOurCaseToPublicTimWilliamsQuoteCEOthenMHIChairmDailyUBsinessnewsMHproNEws

 

After years in the trenches of this industry, having been praised by some of the same people and organizations that we now critique, we think this outline best fits the facts, logic, and the otherwise inexplicable oddities.

 

TimWilliams21stMortgagePublicationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNews1

 

Review the evidence.  Follow the links.

Joe Stegmayer, Cavco Industries, MHI Chairman, Insights from Innovative Housing Showcase

 

See if you can devise an alternative explanation that better fits the facts.

 

WAVY, Mainstream TV – HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Innovative Housing Showcase – Clayton Homes, and Berkshire Hathaway Revelations

LinkedInExcellentCoverageInnovativeHousingShowcaseMuchsuccessDepthColorIndustryMHProNewsReader

DM to MHProNews via LinkedIn.

We’ll continue to press these reports, plus much more, aimed at helping the industry achieve it legitimate potential while honestly serving millions.  It is all right here on the manufactured home industry’s largest and most-read trade media where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Industry news, commentary, fact-checks, and analysis.) ##

(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

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Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which an be accessed by clicking on them.

Prosperity Now, Nonprofits Sustain John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” Video in Their Reports

 

Ross Kinzler Confirms Allegations, MHEC Peer Claims “Association Malpractice;” Member Backstab, MHI Failure Concerns

https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/lead-follow-or-get-out-of-the-way/

 

Kobayashi Maru, Crime, Kevin Clayton, Darren Krolewski, MHInsider – State of Manufactured Housing Industry

 

Andy Gedo, Partner at ManageAmerica, Raises Clayton Homes Monopolistic Practices Debate; Manufactured Housing Institute Related Issues

 

“Toxic Trailers” – Clayton Homes, Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clintons – Exposé Videos

 

Affordable Housing and the Two Sides of Rent Control, in Two Videos – Pros and Cons

What Are Federal Officials Researching About Manufactured Housing?

George Orwell, All Issues Are Political Issues, Manufactured Housing Challenges, and You

 

 

 

 

 

 

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090