When it comes to the affordable housing crisis, one of the nation’s hot-spots is Seattle, Washington. Seattle is the headquarters of founder Jeff Bezos’ – the world’s richest man – ubiquitous flagship company, Amazon.
In the backdrop of every U.S. affordable housing story, there ought to be an appropriate consideration or inclusion of the nation’s most proven solution. What is it? Off-site construction produced in factory-building HUD Code manufactured homes.
Modular and other prefab housing are certainly part of the mix in several scenarios, but the low-cost-leader is clearly manufactured homes, whenever it can be used.
Who sings manufactured housing praises? HUD Secretary Ben Carson for one, who recently named manufactured homes as a proven source of unsubsidized quality affordable housing that he called “amazing.” While not every circumstance will allow for manufactured homes to be used, there are thousands of instances where HUD Code manufactured housing ought to be deployed.
The Urban Institute, and the Washington Post are among several which have tipped their hats toward manufactured homes this year too (see related reports, below.)
Against that backdrop, the Daily Business News brings professionals, advocates, investors and other readers two timely videos. Each Amazon/Bezos related video complements the other, though they come from different sources and seemingly address different topics.
Each video sheds a unique light on conflicting – often dramatic – concerns on how to advance the affordable housing debate, and what the foundational issues are.
Affordable Housing Protesters
- The first video is an emotionally-charged protest and counter-protest that recently occurred in Seattle. Don’t stop until you get to the end, because the first couple of minutes is largely a shout-down of one group of pro-Amazon construction workers drowning out those voices who are calling on Bezos owned Amazon to pony up more tax money, to help pay for affordable housing.
- Once the shout-down calms, you get both sides presenting their case. The Daily Business News notes both views as interesting, but are incomplete. Properly crafted and profitable free market solutions – which include manufactured homes, and proper land-use – could resolve this issue that both parties are understandably so passionate about.
- It should be noted how the first video dramatically reflects how Amazon is ironically wielding its muscle over the proposed Seattle tax hike. Amazon and others just got a big federal tax cut. But would you know that based upon their line-in-the-sand response to this issue?
While we aren’t placing bets, if you step back and wonder, do you think Amazon will win this Seattle skirmish?
That is a good tee-up to the second video. MHProNews has been spotlighting the concerns over monopolistic power from tech giants, and within manufactured housing, for some time. Thus the second video sheds light on that issue. Ask yourself, does Bezos directly answer the question? But note too, that what he does say is fascinating and useful.
Jeff Bezos’ Surprising Response to Threats to Break Up of Giant Amazon
Jeff Bezos is being interviewed by Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer.
To understand the trajectory of Amazon’s growth, consider this factoid. They’ve grown from 30,000 employees 8 years ago, to over 5oo,000 employees world-wide, says Bezos.
What isn’t asked or answered? How many businesses were lost, and how many jobs with them? For example, Marketwatch points the finger at Amazon, and says that “over 125,000 retail workers who’ve been laid off over the past two years” alone.
Bezos says several cogent things. Among the fascinating points is this one. Bezos says that it is prudent to scrutinize large institutions, corporate, government, universities, you name it. Bezos says he welcomes the scrutiny.
That’s reminiscent of UMH President and CEO Sam Landy, who when a Nashville newspaper took a harsh view about one of his location, he also said they welcome media and other oversight. Landy then explained the reason for their confidence.
One can certainly argue that Bezos is artfully dodging in this video.
But when the world’s richest man says that scrutiny is warranted, and that media has a role in that process, shouldn’t the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and its string-pullers likewise welcome, promptly respond to trade media and governmental scrutiny?
A long-time Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) leader told MHProNews that they believe in transparency.
That transparency, oversight and accountability are absolutely necessary in manufactured housing, and in any industry or profession. We respond to our readers, and MHI should respond to the industry’s leading trade media. But instead of responding, aren’t they ducking and arguably working to create an echo chamber that sings to all who will listen how great they are? All without providing any real proof of results, beyond how many emails have been sent to Congress? Or how many Facebook likes or controversial advertorials they’ve gathered? What have any of those proven to accomplished in moving the industry’s needle?
Bezos is right on this point about the scrutiny. “It’s not personal,” says the world’s richest man. It’s a fascinating, under 5 minute video.
When the world’s wealthiest person sits down and takes an interview that asks penetrating questions, shouldn’t MHI’s leadership be willing to do the same?
In the wake of the Washington Post’s revelation last week, confirming prior MHProNews reports and analysis, hasn’t the time come for accountability and transparency? The affordable housing crisis rages, and where are MHI’s proven results?
As a closing reminder, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, and Jaime Dimon announced earlier this year that they will join forces on health-care. CNN Money said they “talk all the time.” What if those giants, or some other uber rich combo, join forces on housing? How would that further disrupt the businesses operated by independent manufactured housing pros? “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, analysis, and commentary.)
(Third party images, and cites are provided under fair use guidelines.)
1) To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed news updates, click here.
2) To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.