“The more things change the more they stay the same.” That’s the common translation of what French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote in 1849, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” per Wikipedia and Quora. What follows from the National Housing Conference (NHC), which has the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) as a member, provided this as an emailed news release to MHProNews on this Labor Day weekend. It underscores the meaning of that famous French adage, and also reminds readers of this quip about history from Wikiquote. “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana.
What Santayana was warning against was repeating the mistakes of the past.
Or as BigThink put it: “People who don’t learn from their mistakes don’t mature. … it’s also true that those who do learn history are doomed to repeat it…” Part of NHC’s background on the writer said that, “Walter Reuther (1907-1970) was one of the most important and impactful labor leaders in American history.” The left- and Democratic-leaning NHC flashback will be followed by additional information relevant to our day, a contemporary quote from the political right and a related MHProNews analysis and commentary. The quote below that precedes their article is provided by MHProNews, and was not included in their original article.
2 Million Houses a Year
By Walter Reuther
As the country celebrates Labor Day, it’s a time for people in the housing industry to celebrate the role of the American Labor Movement in championing affordable housing and home building. Labor unions became the nonprofit co-sponsors of hundreds of affordable housing developments across the country beginning in the 1920s and were charter members of the National Housing Conference when it was created in 1931. NHC is pleased to reprint an article written for us by labor icon Walter Reuther in our 1954 Annual Housing Yearbook. His message calling for construction of 2 million homes each year to fight a housing affordability crisis resonates as loudly today as it did then – when the U.S. population was a little over 150 million, less than half of what it is today. His prescient views are reprinted below. ––Ted Chandler, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust
If America is to catch up with its tremendous back log of needed homes and keep pace with the rising demand, we must build about two million new housing units each year. The administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency has stated, however, that only about one million homes will be built in 1954. This would be 10 percent below the level of 1953 and 40 percent below our achievement in 1950.
The fact that we are currently building only half the homes this nation needs means that only higher income families are being satisfied as to their housing requirements. We are failing to develop a program to satisfy the housing needs of the majority of our families. With some exceptions, particularly for veterans, the housing policies of the federal government still do not permit millions of low and moderate income families, whose need for housing is the greatest, to buy or rent decent homes at a cost that is reasonably related to their ability to pay. This unserved potential market, of course, is made up primarily of working people and their families.
If we are to move forward in the effort to end slums and substandard housing conditions in the United States, there are several courses we must follow:
A tremendous expansion in home-building can be achieved by gearing our program to meet the needs of the moderate income group. Millions of American families earn too little to buy their own homes at present prices and conditions of payments, yet they earn too much to be eligible for public housing… The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) believes this can be done, without sacrificing the quality or adequacy of the home, by a combination of low initial payments and long-term loans at low interest rates under the government’s insured mortgage program. No other way to do the job has been demonstrated.
For millions of additional families who are in the lowest income bracket, there is no hope of attaining decent shelter except through the provision of subsidy to meet the economic rent. This group, now largely existing in substandard dwellings and in slums, just does not have sufficient income to buy or rent private housing at prevailing costs. No method except subsidized public housing has been found to meet their minimum needs, despite continuous searching by leaders of both political parties and of the building industry.
One way to help moderate income families meet their housing need is for government to assist in forming cooperatives, as the government did for farmers in Rural Electrification Act (REA). Cooperative housing offers an opportunity to groups of citizens, who want to join with each other in a common effort, to obtain good housing at lower costs and with greater opportunities for good neighborhood development…
The obstacles to adequate housing for minority groups must be removed. Land must be made available. Mortgage money must be assured to minorities on the same basis as to all other Americans. Slums must be eradicated and replaced with wholesome, well planned neighborhoods. All this requires broad cooperation at all levels of government and by all elements in the community. No substantial housing progress can be achieved without solving the special problems of our minorities whose need is more urgent than those of any other group.
We must act promptly along all of these lines if Americans are to be decently housed. The alternative is to slide backward still further, adding each year to the already mountainous backlog of need. While we still hope the day will come when private builders will bring housing costs within the reach of the average wage earner, and the mortgage bankers will make loans available in the large quantities and at the liberal terms which our members require, we cannot wait for vague hopes to materialize. To meet the housing needs of today, we must have bold leadership, now.”
Additional Industry Related Information
That 2 million housing units a year Reuther spoke of decades ago could be achieved, That ought to be completely unquestioned. To exemplify, in 1942 only 56 bombers were built in the U.S. But at the Willow Run assembly plant during the remaining years of World War II, after implementing automotive style factory-building, 8,800 bombers were built in that one facility (sources: Assembly Mag and the TheHenryFord.org).
Rephrased, the most practical way to achieve more housing – or anything else one wants to mass produce – is through factory-building methods.
It will be noted that not a word was said in the above from NHC by Reuther about the mobile home industry of those days, which were part of the evolution from trailer houses, into mobile homes and finally the manufactured housing industry of the last 4+ decades.
Then as now, factory-built pre-HUD Code mobile homes or post-June 15, 1976 HUD Code manufactured homes were built in some instances with union labor, or in other cases, in non-union plants.
But then as now, all too often, the factory-built housing industry was simply overlooked in discussions about the need for more affordable housing.
TV was then in its infancy. Cell phones and the internet would come decade later. But the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. Technology advanced, but human nature is the same. The methods of manipulation – dangling political promises that go unfulfilled – that work today worked then too. The ‘bait and switch’ method of politicos for decades from both sides of the mainstream political parties are perhaps more sophisticated, but they rely upon the same core principles.
There is still a need for millions of housing units annually to catch up with the widely acknowledged housing shortage, plus keep up with a growing population.
MHProNews and our MHLivingNews sister site stand essentially alone in spotlighting authentic history that points to realities then and now. For instance, in the pre-HUD Code mobile home era, it was Republican Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford that put forth plans that advanced access to factory-built homes. Who else besides our trade media has made such points?
On Labor Day 2020…
That said, there are more useful takeaways from this snapshot from left-leaning NHC and their citation of Reuther. The balance of his bio per NHC’s flashback read as follows.
“Walter Reuther…led the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and was a close confidant of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. When Dr. Martin Luther King was jailed in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, it was Walter Reuther who, having read King’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail, raised $160,000 for the bail needed to release all the imprisoned protesters. He was a central player in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Medicare and Medicaid, and the Fair Housing Act.”
The words Democrat or Republican are not used by NHC in the above. But every president the NHC mentioned was a Democrat. The essential role of Republicans in passing the voting rights and civil rights acts is totally unmentioned. While Reuther’s role in advocating for minorities is mentioned, entirely overlooked is the fact that President Lyndon Banes Johnson was a racist who reportedly used the “N-get” word on numerous occasions.
Merely saying something that sounds good isn’t the same as doing or accomplishing the goal being discussed. Dangling a promise isn’t the same as delivering on a pledge. Understanding that bit of historical wisdom is essential in looking back and in looking at our own times. This brief isn’t to imply that all Republicans are saints and all Democrats are sinners. There are good and bad behaviors in all people, organizations, and political movements. Thus, as politically independent trade media, MHProNews has pragmatically advanced the ancient Biblical premise that someone must separate the wheat – what is useful or good – from the chaff – what is useless or evil.
Because until many more Americans realize how the political con game can be played is properly and widely understood, there can only be more of the same. Einstein wasn’t alone in saying that you don’t correct past errors by repeating them.
In France in 1849, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” or in the U.S. in the 1950s or 2020, “The more things change the more they stay the same” as French write Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said. The problem isn’t just a French or American one. It is a global reality, grounded in the correct core understanding of human nature.
There’s more to know.
This isn’t merely philosophical. It is pragmatic. Without being grounded in the reality of the human condition, which includes moral and spiritual dimensions, there will only be repeating of the problems of the past.
It is entirely true that the founding fathers of America were not perfect people. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, for example, both owned slaves. But they also freed their slaves near the end of their lives. Slavery and its outcomes aren’t a uniquely American issue, it has been a global issue since early in the dawn of human history. American ended slavery later than some nations, but ahead of others.
It was the philosophical and moral principles that founders like Washington and Jefferson embedded into our constitutional system that made it possible for our nation to evolve into a ‘more perfect union.’ As President Barack Obama aptly observed, humanity is complex. One can’t just dismiss all that a person or group did blindly. Even problematic people can do “good stuff.”
More Housing/Labor Info, MHProNews Analysis and Commentary.
Even with those brief slices of history – the need for two million housing units a year then – a valid questions can be raised.
- How is it possible that U.S. housing policy after more than 5 decades never properly addressed the needs of an ever-growing nation?
- Who benefits from such massive housing inequality?
Because as Democratic Senator William Proxmire said, there are no coincidences in Washington, D.C. If you want to understand an issue, he said one must follow the money behind a given issue.
Pat Buchanan is a Republican who was a speech writer for President Ronald Reagan. Buchanan himself sought his party’s presidential nomination. He is an insightful historian and adept political commentator. Buchanan’s 2007 book, “Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart” presaged much that is occurring today.
How is that possible? For whatever flaws he has, Buchanan has studied not only human history, but also is informed in moral, cultural, and spiritual issues too. Somewhat like former Governor Mike Huckabee (R), or Senator Rick Santorum (PA-R), these men and Buchanan reached out to a slice of America that went beyond the normal confines of their GOP political party. Each attempted to promote a populist message that had both specific Republican but also some Democratic elements to it.
For decades, the political left has used Saul Alinsky style tactics. It has only been in more recent years that some on the political right has learned to adapt some of those tactics to fight back.
Enter the Insider Disruptor
In an email on Labor Day to MHProNews was the following.
“I find I get along better with the construction workers and the cab drivers…The people who count in the world.”
– Donald J. Trump, 1989
This Labor Day, it’s important to remember just how much we’ve accomplished for the American Worker under my administration’s critical America First agenda:
- We built the greatest economy the world had ever seen, and we’re going to do it again.
- In August, we created 37 MILLION jobs- the 4th largest jobs gain in our Nation’s HISTORY and 2.5x better than any month in the failed Obama-Biden Administration
- Unemployment DROPPED AGAIN
- The Dow Jones hit 29,000 – HISTORIC. It would CRASH under Joe Biden.
- The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has provided more than $525 BILLION in forgivable loans to over 5.2 MILLION American businesses.
- And finally, America has been put FIRST again.
The Great American Comeback is well underway, Tony, and we can’t risk throwing all of our unprecedented progress away under a corrupt Biden-Harris Administration…”
It should be noted that MHProNews gets such messages from Democrats as well as Republicans.
Clear, Objective Thinkers, Come Hither!
There are photos of citizen Trump with both Democratic and Republican politicians.
So long as former businessman Donald Trump was involved in making campaign donations to those ‘in the system,’ but didn’t get into politics himself, candidates and entertainers from both the left and right embraced him. For instance, billionaire black entertainer, Oprah Winfrey, gladly welcomed business and media personality Trump on her show. When did she ever call him a racist?
The same point can be made about numerous other interviewers over the years prior to Trump getting into the 2015-2016 contest. In fact, Trump denounced white supremacist David Duke, some 15 years before entering the 2015-2016 contest. This video interview from the year 2000 makes the point. While the video quality is not impressive, what was said is easy to understand. It evidence that posses a problem for those who paint the president as a racist. He has years of evidence, if he needed it, that proves otherwise.
That explains why there are numbers of blacks and other minorities that have made clear and loud statements in support of President Trump. Some come from those who have known him for years before he went into politics.
Hundreds of Republicans from the Bush and McCain campaigns have joined in the 2020 cycle with supporting the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris Campaign. Why? Isn’t it obvious that those “RINO” Republicans have joined with “DINO” Democrats in promoting an “Establishment” position?
After some 47 years in politics, former Obama-era VP Biden has been described as one of the ultimate Democratic insiders. Who in their right mind, thinking objectively, would think that Biden will somehow do things other than as he has done for the prior 47? When crime in Chicago, Baltimore, Ferguson, or other Democratically run cities led to issues that raised concerns about criminal justice involving minorities during the term of the first black president, why would an objective thinker believe that those same Democrats today would be different if they regained the White House, won the Senate, and kept the House of Representatives?
Repeating a lie or deception over and over doesn’t make it true. The repeated lie or deception is a warning flag about the source making the false claim, not the other way around.
President Trump is understandably accused of using terminology or tweets that can be irritating to some. But it is sophistry to call him a racist now, when the same man was praised and awarded for his racial and gender inclusiveness during his years as a private businessman. Even routinely anti-Trump, Facebook supported fact-check site Snopes had to admit that years before his run for office, awards and photos like the one below reflected Donald J. Trump’s widely viewed commitment to equal justice as opposed to racism.
The point is this. Trump made it clear in 2015-2016 that he was aiming to accomplish a few things, including ‘draining the swamp’ of Washington, D.C. He said he would disrupt the “rigged system.” Candidates from both major parties have said for years that “the system is rigged.” But when Democrats have been in power, how have they done anything other than reinforce the status quo? How have pre-Trump Republicans unrigged the system?
President Trump took on the Establishment Bush and other Republicans, blasting them for failures such as the tragic wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Unlike both the Obama-Biden Administration, or the Bush-Cheney Administration before it, President Trump has launched no new wars. He has implemented strategies that have been different. It is obvious that repeating the strategies of the past would only lead to similar outcomes.
President Trump during the first term in office has often had battles with other Republicans who might be described as Bush or McCain Republicans. The GOP or Republican Party is steadily being transformed into a Trump Republican Party which blends certain Democratic ideals with some Republican ones.
With trillions of dollars on the line for the money powers behind the politicians, it was bound to be an ugly fight. On this Labor Day, in an era of agenda-driven journalism, it is only by looking at history, the results, and the battles that clarity begins to emerge.
Since the beginning, there have been no perfect presidents or politicians in this country or any other. But a system of government has been established here that makes it possible for informed citizens to check the powers of the transnational corporations and their billionaire owners that have been remaking the Gilded Age and the era of the Robber Barons in our times.
As political independents, MHProNews believes there is ample evidence that only President Trump and those candidates who support his cause at the local, state, or national level can hope to undo the unfair advantages that the money powers have in the U.S. Let’s hasten to note that money honestly earned is fine, but money earned by rigging the system to advantage the few at great harm to the many is wrong.
Not only is our industry underperforming due to purported subversion from within, but a similar argument can be made about America in general.
See the related reports shed more light on all of these issues.
MHARR makes no endorsements, has no PAC, and doesn’t get involved in party politics per se. That noted, they aptly spotted the potential value of a Trump Presidency to the affordable manufactured housing industry.
Manufactured housing can’t regain the last 3.5 years that were in some ways squandered by an administration that favors enforcing existing laws and has clear and positive ties promoting factory home building.
But affordable housing advocates can set the tone for the next 4 years by making the obviously prudent vote for the Trump-Pence ticket and those running for other offices that support their populist policies.
Rising incomes, plus more affordable housing opportunities are practical ways to benefit all Americans, including minorities.
What has been done before can happen again. This is why the historic patterns must be grasped and the insights be put to work.
Programming Notice: The major stock markets are closed on Monday, Labor Day. So there is no market report for tonight.
Stay tuned for more of what is ‘behind the curtains’ as well as what is obvious and in your face reports. It is all here, at the runaway largest and most-read source for authentic manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
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