At the heart of what’s known as the American Dream is the ideal of home ownership and private property. While millions may want affordable rentals, what study after study reflects is that the vast majority prefer to own rather than rent.
When millions are misinformed about a subject, it begs several questions. Among them – why is there misinformation? Cui bono? Who benefits from the misinformation?
Affordable housing is in crisis in every state in America. Go north of the border to Canada, a similar scenario exists there too.
Land is plentiful in North America. The question of transportation to and from places of work or business is an issue, as congestion in cities like New York leads some there to ponder a tax each time a vehicle enters as one so-called ‘solution’ to their challenge. Isn’t it interesting how some quickly turn to a tax – a penalty or cost – that discriminates disproportionately against the least economically advantaged? But let’s move on to the central issues noted in the headline.
Home ownership is generally the better financial option over renting, so long as someone can afford the investment in making the purchase and plans to stay for several years. The renter pays for their housing, just as the person with a mortgage pays for a home. The question is does renter ever own what they are paying for or not? Isn’t the renter paying the landlord to build equity, that if it were a mortgage to buy, would otherwise benefit the tenant?
Wealth creation is aided by home ownership. HUD Secretary Ben Carson made that point repeatedly during his stops in the U.S. after he became the head of the sprawling federal agency. Home owners, said Secretary Carson, have an average household net worth of some $200,000. By contrast, renting households only had a $5,000 average net worth, the famous brain surgeon said.
Then why has HUD, state, and local governments paid lip service to affordable housing for so many years? Because the most proven affordable permanent home in the U.S. (or Canada) is a manufactured home. Yet they are increasingly being marginalized or discriminated against. How does one explain that pattern?
A Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member who is not a dual member with the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) told the Daily Business News on MHProNews that he is “ready for info wars.”
It was a keen insight. It was a kind of polar opposite to Skyline’s Terry Decio’s lament to MHProNews a few years ago, “I’m tired of being the best kept secret. I’m ready to help house America.”
Those are statements from two different MHI-only member producers of manufactured homes. Both consciously or not are fingering the same issue. Information. Understanding. That de facto points to their opposites or possible causes, which are misinformation or misunderstanding.
In the Bible there is a story told of a man who finds a treasure in a field. He hides it again, goes and sells what he needs to in order to buy that field and own the treasure legally. That treasure hunter didn’t want the facts of his discovery to become known, or else he might lose his opportunity. That story has many morals, insights, and takeaways. One is that knowledge was a potential advantage — but limiting that knowledge for a time was an advantage to that person who wanted the treasure.
Whoever better controls the understanding of manufactured housing can influence the value of manufactured homes and businesses in the factory-built housing industry. Misinformation benefits some, while harming others. Hold that thought.
The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?
Hillary Clinton, while First Lady to then President Bill Clinton, spoke of “a vast right-wing conspiracy” against her husband and herself. It was utter nonsense, of course, a mere head fake to distract from the reality that caused Bill Clinton to be impeached and lose his license to practice law. But it was also an absurd claim on its face, given that at that time much of the media was in primarily progressive or left-leaning hands.
Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was a rising star and a favorite target of the left in those days, just as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post or New York Times are targets for several voices on the right today.
Each has a point, as right-or-wrong, they all have hidden or open agendas.
Far better to note or find the unvarnished truth than buy into someone’s spin. But as Shadows of Liberty reflected, or more recently Sharyl Attkisson has documented, various media have their own unique agenda(s). But that doesn’t require secret society meetings or a formal conspiracy to coordinate those voices.
The keen insight of Reagan Administration Secretary of the Interior, James Watt notes below is still apt. Google doesn’t have the exact quote, but his keen insight goes something like this.
‘I don’t believe that most of what some call conspiracy theories are actually conspiracies. What I do believe in are people
with common interests, acting in ways that benefit their common interests, and that common purpose may appear to be conspiratorial.’ – James Watt, former Secretary of the Interior.
Let’s use a hypothetical example. If you hire a motivated kiss-ass, and you let the kiss-ass know that you want X instead of Y, watch that kiss-ass work hard to deliver X to the best of her or his ability.
So Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway fame doesn’t need a memo to go out to the Urban Institute or the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) in order for them to behave in a certain way. Kevin Clayton doesn’t have to send a memo to MHAction, asking them to protest group A, instead of group B. All that is needed is to hire or recruit people who behave in certain ways. Behavior becomes fairly predictable, once a person or group are understood.
Hypothetically, if Buffett wanted to use Berkshire’s deep pockets potential to buy all of manufactured housing up, he could. What stops him from doing that are antitrust laws, the legal barriers that keep someone or some organization from monopolizing a marketplace.
So if you wanted to monopolize a market, and avoid federal or other legal scrutiny, how would you do it? Using the purported Buffett method, you buy a castle (a metaphor for a fine business in a sensible industry) with a good Moat, and then you deploy everything you can to widen and deepen that Moat slowly over time. You drive competitive players out, by what may appear to a causal observer to be market forces.
Part of how that could theoretically be accomplished is to weaponize media and public perception against that business’ interests. One might blur the distinction between a mobile home, a trailer house, and a HUD Code manufactured home. Make the term ‘trailer trash’ truly demeaning. Increase the regulatory barriers for that product/service. Force the little guy out of business entirely, causing an independent to sell out for less than their intrinsic value. If there’s no sale, watch their business go bankrupt.
Never mind, to the mercenary greed of those who might use this method, that tens of millions are harmed by such a process. Pay no heed to the social, taxpayer, or other cascading calamities this tragic ploy sparks.
In science, one might not always be able to directly prove X. But one might eliminate several possibilities as explanations for X. For the truly fortunate scientist, they can both demonstrate a smoking gun evidence for a hypothesis, and also use Occam’s razor to eliminate other possible explanations too.
Buffett’s Berkshire could afford to educate the public about manufactured homes quite readily in the course of perhaps a year or two. You wouldn’t use stupid advertorials to do that if you have access to billions, and could make hundreds of billions in gross revenue annually from a potential business.
You might instead:
• use your extensive media contacts, to consistently correct every bit of misinformation that exists. Berkshire brand 21st Mortgage CEO Tim Williams suggested something similar. And/or,
• use your own BH Media Group to correct the record day-by-day until people grasp the amazing reality of manufactured homes.
• You might have MHI publish openly – rather than hide or fail to publish on their website (one of several examples, is linked here) the most effective third-party information or arguments for manufactured housing.
• You might not allow Clayton Homes staffers to use the term ‘mobile home’ or even ‘trailer house’ in videos or social media posts that they do (examples on YouTube).
• You might ask your billionaire buddy who owns Netflix or Amazon to put out a new hit TV series that has the hero and heroine living in a manufactured home, and have friends that do too, the polar opposite of having something like the Trailer Park Boys. Make manufactured home living cool and smart. Stress how environmentally sound manufactured homes are, how much more appealing they are, and of course how much money you save.
• You might have a new resident manufactured home owner group form that works with industry to successfully address issues, instead of working against the interests of industry.
• You might allow the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), that you once held stock in, to enter the manufactured home market in a robust fashion, instead of in a toe in the water way.
• You might use your clout at HUD to get the 10/10 rule dropped on FHA Title I loans.
• You might use your clout at HUD to get them to enforce manufactured housing’s enhanced preemption, so that local zoning officials don’t keep minorities or others from buying a manufactured home, and benefiting from it.
The list could go on, but do you see the point? Isn’t the list above the common-sense or obvious things you’d do if you actually wanted to promote manufactured home living into a mainstream form of housing?
That begs the question. Why instead has the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis failed to do such obvious things? We believe these to be people of above average intelligence and motivation. Then how does one explain their repeated failures for some 15 years to do the obvious?
Explaining ‘Leadership’ Failures
The industry’s so-called leaders have arguably failed on several levels to do whatever is obviously in the industry’s best interests if robust growth were the immediate goal.
Which leads one from direct evidence of purported restraint of trade and market manipulation and indirect evidence like the above to a vexing, but logical conclusion. The powers that be not only don’t mind minorities or others to be trapped in renting for years on end. Rather, it benefits the billionaires and multiple billion dollar value operators in a twisted way to keep millions trapped in poverty, if the goal is to consolidate the affordable manufactured home industry slowly over time. It fits the Buffett quote below to the tee.
It also fits the Buffett quote below about Moats too.
What are the contrary arguments to such evidence? That’s a fair question. We’ve asked that too.
So we invited Kevin Clayton, Tom Hodges, Tim Williams, Rick Robinson, Lesli Gooch, and outgoing MHI president Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison to discuss or debate that contention in public and on video. They declined time and again for some two years now.
They most recently opportunity to attempt to explain to the industry’s professionals some alternative explanation was in Tunica on March 28th, 2019.
Instead, the powers that be since Tunica are suddenly putting out a flurry of MHI memos. They suddenly care about independent retailers enough to put on a so-called educational meeting that they charge them extra to attend. Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington Illusion of Motion – as Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR dubbed it – has kicked into high gear.
It’s what another professional with deep MHI ties termed “razzle dazzle.”
Hard Data vs Razzle Dazzle
But the latest new HUD Code manufactured home shipment and production numbers say it all. If they wanted to support independents, they could have done so for years.
Solutions? MHProNews don’t ask people to boycott Clayton or MHI for many reasons, including that it can be actionable or possibly even illegal. But we do ask people to ponder this, who are your true friends in the industry? Who is feeding you meaningful information vs. mindless blather? Who are your true enemies? Are you or your company feeding a hand that bites yours?
Keep what an MHI member said in the opening of the article linked via the text-image box below.
Both of these messages are from the same person. There will be an upcoming report with on-the-record comments from an MHI board member. The company of the professional quoted below has been a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member for a number of years, and is not a member of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).
The industry’s giants can’t have it both ways. Logically, no one can. If you treat people and professionals like cattle, they get tired of not being heard and of getting herded. When you treat individuals like they are your chattel, their natural tendency is to rebel.
There are good reasons why interest in creating a non-producers association is growing. More on that another time.
For now, we simply note what MHI award winner Marty Lavin said.
Or what Frank Rolfe, a current MHI member, said.
We note too what former MHI VP Danny Ghorbani stated.
But the point in this article is simple. The value of manufactured homes is amazing. It is what Ron Thomas, Sr. called “a phenomenon.” But that phenomenon is misunderstood. During an affordable housing crisis, creating so much misinformation around the solution that is hiding in plain sight requires something bordering on a magic trick.
But when an echo chamber effect is established, then the steady drum beat of a false narrative can seemingly become believable. Look at the Trump Campaign-Russia collusion narrative. Tens of millions bought that lie. Millions still want to believe it, after it has been debunked by what the president called over a dozen “angry Democrats” – attorneys who indeed favored Democratic candidates, and also worked for Special Counsel Robert Muller.
Democrats, Republicans Agree – “Manufactured Homes Can Play a Vital Role in Easing” the Affordable Housing Shortage – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com
For years here on MHLivingNews and our professional sister site, MHProNews, we’ve worked with a simple premise. Affordable quality living is a non-partisan issue. Rephrased, that means it should be a bipartisan effort to understand and promote the most proven kind of affordable housing that America has ever known.
Nor is that a bias against either party, as manufactured housing and affordable housing are bipartisan issues.
It will take time and effort to deprogram the millions from each of those lies. It’s an info-war.
It will take information wars – using facts, reason, and truth over misinformation and fear tactics – to achieve the victory that could benefit tens of millions who are now renting. The rest are details and commentary, some of which are found via the linked reports below the bylines, business development offers, and notices.
If there is authentic concern for minorities or anyone who may be financially disadvantaged, manufactured homes are an option that must be better promoted and understood. Voices across the two major party divide have come to that conclusion. What’s next is the need for political and legal officials to act to break up such a monopolistic ploy.
Whitney Houston died a tragic death. She began her career in Gospel. It was Roberta Flack’s, not Houston’s song, but one might suspect that near the end of her dramatic life, the lyrics ” killing me softly with his song ” were perhaps filled with deep meaning for Whitney.
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FEAR, a Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis, and the Manufactured Home Dilemma – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com
Fear affects decision-making every day. But often, ” F.E.A.R.” is an acronym for ” False Evidence Appearing Real.” Our research indicates that the solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in plain sight, but fear and prejudice have kept it from being widely embraced.
Successful politicians and good brands have much in common. Consider for a moment how Acura’s video commercial made a mark in the blogosphere, one that caused scores of keyboards and social media posts to go favorably wagging.
When someone is introduced to manufactured homes and their tremendous value, they are often shocked. ‘ How is this much home for such a modest price possible?’ A key part of the answer mirrors any product produced in a production center. Cars built in a driveway would cost far more than a car built in production center.
The year was 1998. It happened to be the year that manufactured housing hit its last peak, but it was also the year that Simon Reynolds compiled and published ” Thoughts of Chairman Buffett – Thirty Years of Unconventional Wisdom from the Sage of Omaha.”
“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges” | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform
Motion – or, more accurately, activity – in and of itself, is not necessarily synonymous with, or equivalent to, realprogress, or, in fact, any progress at all.
HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform
Washington, D.C., February 4, 2019 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports that according to official statistics compiled on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD Code manufactured home production declined again in December 2018.