“…It’s not just you. Amazon alone is closing 30 percent of America’s stores and malls, soaking up $20 billion in business while paying zero in taxes. These are the problems that got Donald Trump elected, the fourth industrial revolution. And that is going to accelerate and grow more serious regardless of who is in the Oval Office.” – Andrew Yang, during the CNN/NY Times Democratic Debate 10.15.2019
As careful MHProNews readers during the last 2 years have noticed, Amazon is increasingly getting into, well, everything. That includes factory-built housing.
MHProNews has not made it a secret that we believe that the FAANG stocks, plus BM – Berkshire and Microsoft – at a minimum should be considered for breakup by federal antitrust officials. Not ‘regulation’ – which is a cop-out that defends big corporate giants, like Clayton Homes and their affiliated lenders, but breakup under federal antitrust power.
Amazon and their fellow corporate giants have ties to Buffett and Berkshire, in the form of stocks and more.
Be it at the local, state, or federal level, Amazon’s is pouring millions into lobbying and other political efforts. Their accounting wizards effectively kept Amazon from paying federal income taxes, while they profited to the tune of billions of dollars. Per CNBC, they paid effectively no federal income tax on more than $11 billion in pre-tax profits.
Independents – even larger independents – may think that they can escape the coming apocalypse. Don’t bet your business or investments on it.
This local news media video shows that Amazon has a plan. They are executing on it.
This isn’t the only such report. Fox Business – from which the featured image at the top was used – and others in media are covering this evolving issue. Amazon told right-of-center Fox Business that their company confirmed in a statement that it had contributed an additional $1.05 million this week, bringing its total contribution this year to $1.45 million.
The left-of-center Seattle Times says that Amazon has now shelled out more cash than any other business or union. Rephrased, be it left of right leaning media, there are alarm bells being raised.
Left-of-center Bloomberg reported that “Last year (2018), Amazon spent $14.2 million on lobbying, a record for the company, up from its previous high mark of $12.8 million in 2017,” in a report on March 7, 2019.
MHProNews Analysis – Manufactured Housing Independents, Advocates – This is Your Wakeup Call
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway – parent to Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, and an array of other manufactured housing connected brands, have numerous interlocking relationships.
While MHProNews has ‘followed the money’ on several matters involving Berkshire and Buffett, and how that impact manufactured home owners and independents alike. But the web is frankly so spidery and vast, it is more than any one media outlet could reasonably do alone. That said, it is perfect for antitrust and elected officials to untangle. They have subpoena powers.
People and companies should have the right to use their money in reasonable and lawful ways, but when these giants have ‘rigged the system’ in order to protect themselves against other competitors, then it is no longer a level playing field. When their pernicious influence can be used to depress manufactured home interest and sales and block the use of good federal laws during an affordable housing crisis, even the ‘stronger’ independents need to sit up and take note. Certainly, consumers and manufactured home community residents should too.
Just because Democratic politicos said they would be vigorous in enforcing antitrust laws is no guarantee that it would occur. After all, during the Obama Administration, those FAANG companies and BM largely supported the 44th president. There was no serious antitrust efforts either.
On both sides of the political aisle, antitrust talk is heating up. Democrats and those in the GOP who are raising those alarms are taking a harder look. But frankly, community leader Bob Van Cleef is correct in saying that this is an issue that needs to be taken up in public hearings, as well as pursued by the Trump Administration antitrust officials.
Supposed fixes like term limits won’t stop this kind of new Gilded Age collusion. This is why antitrust laws were created in the late 19th century and were applied in the early 20th century. In what is being called the new Gilded Age, the time to do the same is upon us.
This isn’t a partisan issue, this is exactly what Warren Buffett himself warned us about.
That is your final, just before midnight installment today of “News through the lens of manufactured home and factory built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, periodic entertainment, inspiration, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
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