Competitive Strategy. Getting to Yes. Secrets of the Soft Sell. Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. from Good to Great. How the Mighty Fall. The Magic of Believing. The Art of the Deal. Thoughts of Chairman Buffett. These are just some of the dozens of books on this writer’s bookshelves, which aimed build upon the study of business and marketing that began in college with classes for a minor in business management that included the noteworthy course on “Management by Objective” (MBO). Additionally, there were authors like Zig Ziglar. Charlie Tremendous Jones, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, and more that preached a ‘can do,’ ‘how to’ mentalities. While my GPA in business classes at the University of Oklahoma (O.U.) was a perfect 4.0, and I made the Dean’s list repeatedly, my earlier passion was history. That now includes the evolutionary history of trailer houses, to mobile homes, into manufactured housing, which is outlined in part in this video below.
Getting a one year “ride” on a journalism scholarship to OU – despite the interest and performance in business focused classes – history was this writer’s first adult academic zeal. Even as a freshman, my CV could frankly boast the achievement of winning the coveted Lottinville Award in history, which I was told by my faculty advisor had previously been earned by older upperclassmen.
My parents had given my siblings and myself examples of hard work, a can do spirit, honesty, and ethical behavior. Given that my father Francis J. Kovach, Ph.D., became a world-class philosopher, and my parents were not afraid to publicly debate the evils of the Nazis, Soviet Communists, fascists, socialists, or corruption within religious institutions, perhaps it is both DNA and environmental examples of their inspirational behavior that lent itself to a certain type of just causes.
While Christians, they believed in freedom of religion. We heard the periodic stories of feeding starving Jews during World War II during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. My father’s brother – my uncle Paul Kovach – escaped Communist dominated Hungary after the briefly successful revolution of October 1956.
That Hungarian uprising – an event I never came close to experiencing first-hand was heard and read about as a youth. So not unlike my wife Soheyla, who experienced in her youth the “promises, promises” of the mullahs who with Russian support overthrew the western supported Shah of Iran in favor of the regime that has since tragically taken hold in Iran, we each have inspirations and memories of the good and bad that can occur from false promises.
Freedom isn’t free. It never has been, at least not since the fall of humanity into sin in the proverbial Garden of Eden recounted in the Christian and Jewish Scriptures. The Quran also mentioned Eden too. Despite differences, there are certain moral and historic touch points between the three ‘great world religions,’ which each claim Abraham in their respective roots.
There are around the world today actual wars, insurgencies, and efforts to control or resist the domination of others. But there is a fight for the American Dream underway in our nation today.
I understand why manufactured housing professionals buy products from Communist China. But one need but look at the now 6 months of protests in Hong Kong, or what the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) said is “Some eight hundred thousand to two million Uighurs and other Muslims…” and how they are oppressed to realize that China isn’t a free nation.
Neither is Venezuela, Cuba, or North Korea, to name but a few under socialist or communist domination. The opposite of freedom is to experience some degree of slavery.
But enslavement or control need not always follow the historic model of secret police, brute force, or the disarmament of citizens. When chattel slavery and indentured servitude was formally ended in the U.S. in the aftermath of the war between the states, or when debtors prisons were outlawed in America, there were more subtle economic struggles that occurred here. Those often revolves around the banking and financial system. That is another subject for another time, but the brief mention of Henry Ford’s caution is worth sharing.
“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” – per BrainyQuotes.
Suffice it to say for now that Warren Buffett, Jim Clayton and others deeply involved in manufactured housing understand the monetary, financial, and banking system. I’ve interviewed Jim Clayton at length on video, perhaps the longest interview of its kind. Jim Clayton is one of several industry professionals who at various times has praised our pro-industry, pro-consumer, pro-sustainable and ethical growth work.
That preface with the links above and below are sufficient to establish this notion. It requires capital, favorable regulatory and tax policies, a measure of freedom, plus reliable information in order to have a serious hope of being successful in business. We explored those topics on MHProNews in articles such as the barriers for entry, exit, and persistence in business.
But we also explored the impact of regulations in the analysis by Carol Roth that included this pull quote.
The legal or moral underpinnings of society help make it more or less productive. Incentives, not socialism, yields increased performance by people. Doubt or don’t believe that? Look at the economic and political collapse of the Soviet Union, the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Look at how China effectively abandoned socialism for a still centralized form of capitalism that exists under specific state controls. Look at the economic failure of Venezuela once socialists took over that once far more prosperous country. Those examples are enough to beg the question, why are some in media turning a blind eye to policies espoused by self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders? Why are some so fascinated with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), when the clear lessons of history have long ago and repeatedly been debunked socialism in experiences from around the world?
The toleration of misinformation – call it gaslighting, spin, paltering, propaganda or whatever you like – exists in politics that is abetted by some in media. That is clear. So, it is no wonder that paltering or misinformation exists in manufactured housing too.
Here is how manufactured housing professional Brad Lovin put it.
The docudrama, Shadows of Liberty, has what might be called a left-of-center foundation, but it aptly demonstrates several truths. That includes, but is not limited to, the notion that information has been to a significant extent been controlled by major corporations.
In a related manner is the right-of-center docudrama, The Creepy Line. Each raise fact- and evidence-based truths that tell objectively grounded thinkers that information is being manipulated in our society, not just others overseas.
In the walk down memory lane taken in the interview with manufactured housing legend Dick Moore in the video below, one sees the parallels to points made in the CBS News video posted near the top of this report.
How or why does that matter?
On several levels, because Dick Moore was a driving force behind the desire to create a ‘white hat’ trade group for manufactured housing independents.
Neither Moore, nor his former president of Dick Moore Housing, Bob Crawford, had confidence in the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Crawford has publicly blasted MHI, as this video below reflects. Prominent MHI member Frank Rolfe questioned the bill that MHI backed in this video. In fact, that bill that now outgoing Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) president Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison pledged would pass, never passed at all. Using the principle of separating the wheat from the chaff, Rolfe was proved right on that point, though we disagree with him on several others. Note that this video below was produced before the more recent claims of outrageous behavior surfaced.
There is no lack of information or expert sources within manufactured housing that point to similar realities, including, but not limited to this notion. That MHI is not doing the job that they claim to do. Call it deceptive, fraudulent, or any number of other allegations that have been made against them. But never forget that many come from current and/or former members.
Our industry is underperforming during an affordable housing crisis. There are several reasons for it. They include, but are not limited to, the following.
- Persistent misunderstandings about the realities of manufactured housing.
- Because of fear and misunderstandings about manufactured homes, a growing number of jurisdictions zone out or limit manufactured housing.
- Yet, that ‘zoning out’ or limitation of manufactured housing was specifically barred by the enhanced preemption clause of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.
- Control over financing is another key. That is where the Duty to Serve (DTS) rural, underserved and manufactured housing markets mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 was passed into law.
There are comments due tonight by midnight on DTS by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
In pondering what MHARR’s current president and CEO, Mark Weiss, J.D., has previously said about DTS – cited above and below – the following should be carefully considered. The GSEs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – per our sources which include those who have worked on the DTS connected programs – is a sham.
Criminal, media or other investigators often follow simple rules in determining the cause of something. Cui bono? Who benefits? And follow the money trail are among them.
Who benefits from the sideling of DTS? One obvious beneficiary are the Berkshire Hathaway brands.
Who has been harmed by throttling financing in manufactured housing? Independent businesses, some of which were successful for many years.
What has been occurring in manufactured housing is nothing short of a disgrace. Ours is in many ways a great industry, but it has arguably been weaponized from within. Warren Buffett didn’t come to save manufactured housing, there is sound documentary and historic evidence that suggests he came to conquer it via Berkshire Hathaway’s entry into our industry in 2003. Buffett arguably did so in a fashion that would avoid antitrust laws and help him pick up the industry at a bargain rate.
This process has harmed arguably millions of current and potential consumers of manufactured homes. For more on that, see the linked reports above and below the byline and notices. This harms most Americans, not just manufactured home owners, because the lack of affordable housing – per economists – acts as a brake on the economy. So logically, America needs more manufactured homes, millions of them.
DTS comments on the revised plan by the GSEs to the FHFA are due today by midnight. It is our professional, evidence-based view that DTS listening sessions, and promises to serve our industry have been nothing short of a scam that has benefited a few to the detriment of the many. The trade publishers or others that mimic MHI’s posture in our industry should be seen for what they are, based upon the evidence. Who benefits? Follow the money.
Never forget that some in government work hand-in-glove with people in the private and nonprofit sectors.
The truth is hiding in plain sight, but it must be carefully discerned from the fiction and fables that are put forth by those who benefit from a rigged system.
Are the plans by Fannie or Freddie acceptable? Only to those who want to see the system remain rigged. It is clearly not in keeping with the letter or the spirit of HERA 2008 and the simple notion of supporting all HUD Code manufactured homes, not some spurious ‘new class of homes’ alone.
Fully enforce the law. That should be the 1 sentence mantra for every manufactured housing independent, for those who advocate for residents in land-lease communities, or those who want to see potentially millions of more Americans go from renting into home ownership.
The system has been rigged. It has been so for some time. The failure to properly implement DTS is part of that rigged system.
It requires careful study to see how it was done, but purported manipulation of nonprofits by Buffet, the Berkshire brands and their allies are certainly part of that sad story.
Don’t just be an observer to the destruction of the American dream. Take whatever action you can.
That is our first look today of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing,” © where © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.)
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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
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