In a truly free enterprise system, various needs are identified. Then a means of profitably yet honestly serving those needs are established. Ideally, both the customer and product/service benefit. The happy customer(s) then tell or send their friends. That pattern repeated often enough yields success.
For millions, perception is reality.
For millions, the words “manufactured homes” – if understood at all – brings up images of old mobile homes. Properly understood and acted upon, that is both an obstacle and an opportunity in disguise.
To make a point about misunderstandings about manufactured homes, let’s first step back and consider a few subjects that are divisive and raise widely differing views and reactions.
- Climate change.
- Income inequality.
- President Donald J. Trump or former President Barack H. Obama.
- Immigration and the U.S. Mexican border.
- Democrats or Republicans.
- CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News.
- Big Tech and Monopolies
The list could go on and on. But that is enough to make the next point. Millions of intelligent people are on either side of those issues, organizations, or personalities.
So why is it a surprise that there is a wide disparity of views on manufactured homes? By the way, to us, manufactured homes – like affordable housing – are non-partisan or bipartisan issues.
Applying the point above, there are stark differences between how some insiders involved in manufactured housing view the following.
- The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Arlington, VA.
- Clayton Homes and their affiliated lenders, based in the Knoxville, TN metro.
- Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, in Omaha, NE, where their annual meeting is about to be held.
- Prosperity Now (formerly CFED)
- Manufactured Housing Action (MHAction)
to name but a few.
Interestingly, the central bullet listed – Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway – are tied by investments, traceable donations, or other financial/advocacy interests to all of the above.
It should go without saying that Buffett, Berkshire, their BH Media Group and other media access, plus their billions could promote a clear and compelling case for modern manufactured homes. It is the most proven permanent form of affordable housing in U.S. history. So properly understood, it is a safe bet.
Buffett enters an industry precisely because he thinks it is a good bet. So the fact that Buffett and Berkshire could use media and marketing to successfully break through the noise about manufactured homes – leads a clear-thinker to this interesting possibility. They arguably don’t want to clear up the misinformation about manufactured homes at this time.
If fact, sources that have received directly or obliquely funding from Buffett and Berkshire have attacked him and his manufactured housing business units. It is a fact that MHAction is listed as having co-authored a white paper that Last Week Tonight with John Oliver used as a central source for his viral “Mobile Homes” video.
Buffett/Berkshire on a variety of examples have been on both sides of an apparent fight. Beyond the John Oliver/MHAction example, let’s look at one more instance.
The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act aimed at amending Dodd-Frank. It was authored and promoted by MHI, Clayton Homes, and their Berkshire Hathaway manufactured home lenders. Yet Berkshire Chairman Buffett himself backed candidates Barack Obama for re-election to the presidency, and Secretary Hillary Clinton, both of whom opposed any changes to Dodd-Frank. Prosperity Now – then known as CFED – opposed those changes. MHI, and dozens of state associations supported Preserving Access. These are easy to document facts.
Buffett backed forces were on both sides of the Preserving Access fence. The reasons that can be profitable to him are many.
Th objective mind is left with this impression. Buffett and his allies have a motivation to obscure the truth and performance of manufactured housing at this time.
Behind Every Deception is a Motivation
Stating the Obvious can clarify an issue. When intelligent, successful people are behind some deception, there must be a motivation. Further, good marketers know that you either define yourself, or others will define you – often to your detriment. But what if you fund that undermining message, precisely to harm the interests of smaller players? What if that allows you to consolidate at a discount other firms? Doesn’t that – in a cunning fashion – fit the ‘value investing’ principle Buffett himself portrays?
There is evidence that we won’t dive deeply into in this column that suggests that Buffett and his allies know precisely how valuable manufactured housing is, which is why he entered the industry in the first place.
Using Buffett’s strategic Moat principles, the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis are slowly building a monopoly that would have been barred by federal antitrust regulators had that been done swiftly. That doesn’t mean that they haven’t violated antitrust laws. Berkshire connected documents and their own words are linked here, which lays out the trendlines.
That hypothesis must be proven in a court of law, or by some sort of pleading between the harmed parties and those accused of market manipulations that arguably violate multiple laws.
So how can those who have strong evidence against them respond? They have been given multiple opportunities, and they don’t respond at all, not directly. Rather, they seek to undermine those who dare challenge and expose their #RiggedSystem.
Opportunities in Disguise
Every problem that is properly understood in a free enterprise system is an opportunity in disguise. The fact that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their nonprofit surrogates are on both sides of several issues can dissuade some from getting into manufactured housing. Perhaps wisely so.
But others will see or discover that if they are willing to lawfully use such insights, the opportunities to prosper while honestly serving potentially millions of Americans arises.
Restated, this revelation means that those willing to challenge Buffet/Berkshire may find the key that unlocks the door that solves the affordable housing crisis. Doing so is good for federal, state, and local budgets. Addressing affordable housing needs are good for taxpayers. It is good for those stuck in a lifetime of paying for rental housing.
Such efforts to buck Buffett and his minions can be successfully done at the local, regional, or national levels. It doesn’t require infinite resources. But it does demand serious resources, will, and staying power to cut through the Moats around the Clayton and their lending castles that Berkshire brands have established or allowed to exist and expand.
The evidence that they can be beaten is in or linked from this very article. The irony is that these same point-people allied with Knoxville and Arlington praised our work for years. Right up to the point that we began to publicize their questionable activities.
We are more than publishers here at MHProNews/MHLivingNews. We’ve been acknowledged and praised by some of the very people that now seek to oppose our pro-industry and ethical pro-growth work. Our parent operation and related business units have had documented success at turning around previously struggling or even failed situations in manufactured housing.
That may be seen as a threat to some, but as a blessing in disguise to others.
Just as there are a range of viewpoints on the hot button issues noted above, or on
- manufactured homes,
- land lease communities (a.k.a. ‘mobile home parks’),
- manufactured housing financing,
- or other aspects of the broader factory built housing industry
there are a range of views – past and present – about this writer, our publications, and our business development and related training, recruitment, and consulting services.
Given a highly polarized America, where hidden agendas often are at work, is it any surprise that there are differing views about myself or our proven systems?
The truth has been weaponized by some, hoping to push an agenda they believe benefits themselves. To some, it doesn’t matter how many independent businesses are harmed, or how many millions of lives are being cheated of an opportunity to own and build personal wealth. Secretary Carson said in 2017 that the average rental household has a net worth of some $5000. The average homeowner household, per Carson, has a typical net worth of some $200,000. Some of the very nonprofits that Buffett’s largess is aligned with have made similar arguments. Prosperity Now and the Ford Foundation, to name but two, have made the case that manufactured housing is a proven path to building personal wealth.
It requires an expert to discern what is real news and what is ignorant, fake, spin, or weaponized news when it comes to manufactured housing.
See the related reports, linked below the byline and notices for specifics.
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We believe in this industry, its potential, and know it from the inside out. Buffett and his buddies believe in manufactured housing too, and they deploy their methods to keep others at bay. We believe there are several proven ways to foil them profitably.
Time is money. Knowledge is potential power. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, analysis.)
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