The truth can be stranger and more interesting than fiction, as this brief survey of several seemingly untreated mainstream news items will reflect.
The Two Hunters, one Republican, One Democrat
Representative Duncan Hunter (CA-R) has tendered his resignation letter effective Jan 13 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-D) and California Governor Gavin Newsom (D). Hunter was accused of violating campaign finance laws, which he initially denied but has now agreed to enter into a plea agreement. His wife also entered into a deal last summer. Hunter’s letter stated all that he felt he had done for his constituents. It referenced his military service. The allegations against him including using campaign finance money to pay for several affairs with lobbyists and others, plus money used for his own family’s entertainment. It will be up to Gov. Newsome to decide if a special election will be held or if the vacancy will remain open until the general election in November. Former Representative Darrel Issa is thought to be a leading contender for the Republican leaning district.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s adult son Hunter Biden is also in the news. Hunter Biden denied he was the father of a child conceived out of wedlock, but a judge has ruled otherwise. That will no doubt keep interest in the sweetheart Ukrainian and Chinese business deals in the news. That’s one of the last distractions Joe Biden likely wants as Senator Bernie Sanders (VT-I), billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) rise in Democratic presidential polling and Iowa’s caucus is just a month away.
Sex. Lies. Cash. Corruption. Politics. Policies. These are all the common themes in the two different cases just noted. But there’s more.
Flight from Paradise and the Big Apple
New York, California and Hawaii lead the nation in people leaving those states say recent reports citing Census Bureau and other data. The exiting residents are going to places from Idaho to Florida. High rents and housing costs are cited as reasons for their migration. Lower housing costs and lower taxes are reasons they pick for going where they do. That trend is rather disruptive on both ends of the trek, according to some observers.
Public policies and economics are the magnets and the drivers from the various locations.
There’s not much doubt about what doesn’t work when it comes to public policies. Decades of repetition have produced similar results. Well over $22 trillion have been spent on housing and social programs in the decades since the Great Society programs launched the so-called War on Poverty, per the Heritage Foundation.
Who did those tens of trillions of dollars flow to? In many cases, it was to private enterprises, plus the federal, state and local overhead.
Since private enterprises were the ultimate beneficiaries, why not look at how Congress acted in a widely bipartisan fashion to create affordable housing programs that required almost no public cost? That’s not fiction, such a program exists, and will be found in the report linked below.
Poisoning the Well
There are ancient tactics that have witnessed variations that have made modern comebacks at the intersection of business and politics.
If a particularly vicious enemy wanted to hurt their opponents, they might poison the water well(s), or salt the fields of their rivals. Cutting off food and water makes it difficult to survive.
It’s a brutal methodology.
In our times, public policies along with access to capital, credit and credibility are essentials in a successful business. If your rival limits or chokes off any of those items just named, your ability to succeed is dramatically reduced, no matter how good your product, talents or services may be. Think of it as a modern variation on the ancient stratagem. Using the system to limit or handcuff your opponents is nothing new in America. Kickbacks were the focus of the county commissioner scandals that rocked Texas and Oklahoma.
“So far, more than 120 present or former county commissioners across the state … Oklahoma, has also spilled across the Red River into Texas,” reported the Washington Post on Oct 22, 1981. By February 3, 1984 the Oklahoman reported that the number nabbed in the mess reached “…230 as book closes on county commissioner scandal.” Democrats need not be smug, because Tammany Hall in New York City spanned decades and only waned after 1945, says Wikipedia.
The point is to emphasize that political corruption crosses party lines. Public awareness and accountability across the board is thus warranted.
America has had two constitutions, not one. The Articles of Confederation were the first constitution ratified on March 1, 1781. But they proved too weak and thus the debate over what we have as our federal constitution today began. The current constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788, says the Constitution Center.
The debate over our current U.S. Constitution included a discussion over the correct balance between states’ rights and that of the various branches of the federal government. But what too many have never learned or fully grasped is that from the outset, challenges we see today were already encountered or debated centuries ago. For example, long before either constitution, America had already flirted with socialism. It failed here, just as it is doing in Venezuela or has in Cuba. That will vex some, but facts are what they are.
Perhaps more important to this discussion is the role that monopolies should, or should not, play in our society. Declared or de facto monopolies have long been prized, because they can essentially all but guarantee a profit.
Thomas Jefferson wanted to make monopolies illegal from the early days of the American Republic. But it wasn’t until the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890 and later the Clayton Antitrust Act in 1914 that a legal foundation was established for taking on “the trusts,” which was a common term used to describe monopolists. When one hears the phrase “antitrust” that essentially means “anti-monopoly.”
To millions, the word ‘monopoly’ is the name of a board game they may have played in their youth. The perils of monopolization have not been strongly taught nor considered. But if you stop and reflect for a few moments, the board game was designed to teach some interesting lessons. When someone has a monopoly, costs rise. When there is no competition to force a lower price, what is there to prevent the higher housing costs illustrated in the board game? When a monopolist wins, everyone else has lost. That’s the subtle but also in-your-face lesson from the game Monopoly.
That lack of understanding of the various risks associated with monopolization is perhaps beginning to change. A growing number of American small businesses and workers are realizing that their livelihood have been imperiled by corporate giants. How did those companies become such giants when antitrust laws have existed for several generations?
In many cases, it is that intersection between money and political power. Sex, drinking, drugs, cash and cronyism often go together. It has been so for millennia around the world.
The report linked below outlines how monopolization is at work in the U.S. today. It does so in a manner that will establish the broad points, and then tie it directly into how that is influencing affordable housing and manufactured homes role in the broader housing market.
But note that MHProNews has been doing reports on the issue of monopolization for several years. It isn’t a new problem. Rather, as noted, monopolization and its risks are an issue that has been dealt with by people in nations around the world for centuries. But the good news is that the laws already exist to deal with it. That’s why the report linked from the text image box above are so important.
Affordable Housing and Manufactured Homes Role In It
Once that backdrop is set, then reasons why manufactured housing is underperforming during an affordable housing crisis becomes clearer.
Who knows what temptations or justifications the two Hunters above had for taking their respective acts. Without absolving or whitewashing them of whatever wrongdoing may be involved, at a minimum there should be sympathy or understanding to this extent. We all face various pressures or temptations. It is part of the human estate.
Freedom is never free. Be it political, economic, religious or whatever, freedom has always and will always in this world involve struggle.
Understanding, establishing and defending just structures are thus important. Kurt Kelley had a valid point when he said this.
From long before the moment that Israel’s King David cast his lustful gaze at the bathing Bathsheba, sex, power, political corruption, cover ups and lies have existed. It transcends nations, parties, ethnic, religious or other identity groups.
Threats to the common woman or man have always come from both outside of one’s nation as well as from within. The crash of the Boeing 737 in Iran will likely raise questions. Was it caused by the same thing associated with the first two fatal crashes of the 737? Or was it a cleverly devised sabotage by Iranians aimed at hurting an American company?
Nations and their governments exist to protect people from threats outside. But there is always a need to protect against internal threats too.
Laws exist to level the playing field. Laws don’t exist to mandate or force equality, which would be illusory as every socialist nation in history also had rulers who enjoyed more and the ruled who had less. In principle, good laws are supposed to make equal treatment and protections of rights under law possible.
But dependable information is perhaps as important. Cut off the facts or twist realities, and problematic decisions will follow. Twist the understanding of a given law, and corruption of the purpose of that law begins to follow.
While we as a trade publisher are laser focused on affordable manufactured homes, we set that in a wider context. Thus, the issue of monopolistic practices is vital to grasp for would-be white hat businesses and investors.
Only the truth sets people free. Lies and deception routinely bind people to something that is by definition false or problematic. The reports linked below shed light on the truth about the problems of the monopolization of America. Other reports reflect how powerful special interests can and arguably have manipulated the system in ways that many professionals may never detect. The quote from Danny Glover below captures in a sentence the essence of a key struggle in our nation.
The first linked report below is a new item on the Masthead. It dives deeply into purported corruption that has serious impacts on our industry and thus the struggle for affordable housing.
There is more ahead. But that’s a wrap for this installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing,” © 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 MHLivingNews.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
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.