‘When Thurman Arnold was at DOJ, He, Colleagues Attempted to Protect Factory [Built] Housing Industry’ ‘Monopolies Sabotage, Destroy Markets’ – Prof Jim Schmitz to DOJ; plus Manufactured Home Equities


Affordable manufactured homes were ‘sabotaged’ by builders and HUD per Univ of Minnesota Professor James A. “Jim” Schmitz’s DoJ/FTC Expert Statement – ‘Exploit Members of Own Group’ per MHLivingNews special report. According to Construction News Today and others in media on 5.4.2022 is the following news release hereby picked up by MHProNews. A new evidence-packed report, analysis, and commentary on MHLivingNews.com unpacks an important presentation by Professor James A. Schmitz Jr. provided to the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the hot-button issues of monopolies and mergers. The report is a general commentary on an issue that impacts several parts of the U.S. economy and general public. But Schmitz specifically mentions factory-built housing, which includes manufactured homes regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“Jim” Schmitz Jr.’s comments letter to the Department of Justice (DoJ) include the following observations:

“monopolies inflict harm in many ways. These include:

A. Monopolies sabotage and destroy markets. They typically destroy substitutes for their products, often those that would be purchased by low-income households;

B. Monopolies also use their weapons to manipulate and sabotage public institutions for their own gains;

C. Monopolies not only inflict harm on “outsiders,” that is, those not in the monopoly. In Thurman Arnold’s (1943) words, monopolies “exploit members of their own group.”

Note that when monopolies sabotage substitutes for their product (as in A), they are, again, blocking “outsiders.” When they exploit members of their own group (as in C), they are sabotaging “insiders.”

Also note that I have not mentioned prices. The harm caused by monopoly prices were often a secondary concern for our forebears, as they knew these other actions of monopolies (A-C) could be much more destructive.”

ThurmanArnoldAtDOJHeColleaguesAttemptedProtectFactoryBuiltHousingIndustryWhenArnoldLeftDOJKeptWorProtectionFactoryBuiltHousingJamesSchmitzJrUnivMNProfEconomicsDOJ-FTC-MHProNewsMHLivingNews requested and obtained Schmitz’s comments. The University of Minnesota economist’s research in several respects compliments the previously published study provided by Samuel “Sam” Strommen with Knudson Law. Strommen’s legal thesis includes evidence-based allegations of the type of market manipulation in manufactured housing described as alleged “felony” antitrust violations involving some of the manufactured housing industry’s largest firms.

That report was entitled: “Strommen “Felony” “Conspiracy” Case – “Monopolization” of Affordable Manufactured Housing and Manufactured Home Communities “Rube Goldberg Machine of Human Suffering” by Manufactured Housing Institute Firms – Knudson Law,” and is found at the link below.


What Strommen documented seems to fit what Schmitz described as: “Monopolies not only inflict harm on “outsiders,” that is, those not in the monopoly. In Thurman Arnold’s (1943) words, monopolies “exploit members of their own group” in as much as Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) members are accused of undermining competitors.

Schmitz in his capacity as a senior economist at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve is among those experts and researchers who has repeatedly looked into the effects of ‘sabotaging monopoly’ power on manufactured homes and prefabricated housing as an alternative to more costly conventional housing. While that’s only lightly referenced in this specific document addressed to federal officials, Schmitz’s report is presented on MHLivingNews because it presents a historic context for the importance of enforcing antitrust laws in the U.S. In a related article, MHLivingNews recently provided a report and commentary linked below that presented antitrust enforcement as a possible options for manufactured home community residents resisting “predatory” tactics by certain ‘consolidators’ of manufactured home communities.


Against that backdrop, Schmitz’s thesis to federal officials sets the stage for his complete presentation to the DOJ/FTC on the topic of monopoly power and why he argues that public officials should resist such monopolistic formation in their merger guidelines.

As Prof. Schmitz explained it: “Competition and mergers are, of course, closely related, two sides of the same coin. Theory about one is theory about the other (as is evidence). This claim about competition, then, is also a claim about mergers. Since mergers reduce competition, they reduce productivity.”

He said: “There is a breakdown in DOJ/FTC handling of mergers.” “The left hand (i.e., when writing the guidelines) doesn’t know what the right hand (i.e., when expressing the basic premise of DOJ/FTC policy) is doing. There is a failure – I call it a conceptual-failure.”

“By not discussing the evidence on the negative impact of mergers on productivity, these guidelines do not provide an important and meaningful check on mergers.”

Schmitz’s well footnoted document includes 5 sections. “In Section 1, I briefly review the DOJ/FTC basic premise that competition spurs productivity. Section 2 discusses the efficiency section of the guidelines. The complete focus of the section is on how mergers may increase productivity. The conceptual-failure is clear.”

The MHLivingNews report quotes Schmitz saying, “there is an abundance of theory and evidence for the basic premise. Some of this was developed by our forbears, such as, of course, Adam Smith, and including names such as Frank Fetter, Jacob Viner, Henry Simons, and Thurman Arnold (and is discussed in Section 3). One of the greatest periods of advance in our knowledge of monopoly, in fact, was during Thurman Arnold’s tenure at the DOJ (1938-43). Arnold had a great knowledge of monopolies when he started. Over the course of the next five years, he and his colleagues developed a tremendous body of new theory and evidence. Though our forebears knowledge was developed in part at the DOJ during the late 1930s and early 1940s, the DOJ/FTC have ignored this evidence (beginning in perhaps the 1950s, but certainly by the 1960s. See discussion of Williamson (1968) below).”

To tee up section 4 of his thesis, Schmitz cited the “Arnold-Simons model of monopoly (Schmitz, 2020). In this model, monopolies, and mergers, lead to declines in productivity for many reasons.

There is another body of theory and evidence developed on monopoly over [the] last few decades (and is discussed in Section 4). In this “recent” literature, Thomas Holmes and I developed a model of monopoly based on the behavior of monopolies we studied in the 1980s (Holmes and Schmitz (1995, 2001)). Our model turns out to be very similar the Arnold-Simons model of monopoly. Monopoly, mergers, lead to low productivity.”

Potential investors in affordable housing or manufactured homes should take note. Schmitz, an expert, directly challenges several of the basic presumptions about mergers and increased productivity. In as much as competition is good for productivity, mergers would routinely – he reasoned and evidenced – decrease productivity.

“Sections 3 and 4 therefore show that, indeed, competition spurs productivity. Both these bodies of theory and evidence provide a sound footing for the basic premise…But valuable lessons are learned by pursuing the question: How did this conceptual failure emerge or develop? I discuss this in section 5.”

Schmitz explained that: “In a speech, Russell Damtoft (2013, p.1) argued: “competition is what makes free markets work, and that in turn is the source of American productivity, innovation, competitiveness, and national prosperity.”…“Competition usually spurs firms to achieve efficiencies internally.”

So, the guidelines begin by establishing the basic premise – what we expect. The first sentence could also have been written as
“Because mergers reduce competition in industries, it usually reduces efficiency within the merging firms.”

Following this first sentence, we find a mild surprise: The second sentence is:

“Nevertheless, a primary benefit of mergers to the economy is their potential to generate significant efficiencies and thus enhance the merged firm’s ability and incentive to compete, which may result in lower prices, improved quality, enhanced service, or new products.”

Schmitz then contends that the system at DOJ/FTC as it has been operating for years are giving a ‘free pass’ to more mergers.

“Whereas we expect the vast majority of the section to be why mergers might reduce productivity, with a small side for why there might be exceptions, instead the entire section is about exceptions. The horizontal merger guidelines as written are letting mergers through the review process without important checks on them. The merger guidelines are in effect giving free passes to mergers that should be challenged. The free passes are baked-into the guidelines.”

While every section of the report is useful if not essential to the thesis, the senior economist’s section on the history of antitrust or anti-monopoly thinking is among the most interesting.

“3. Forebears’ Theory and Evidence on Monopoly

Our forebears developed a very large body of theory and evidence on monopoly, and how it harmed productivity. In fact, Adam Smith likely knew more about monopoly than anyone ever has. Smith’s Wealth of Nations (WON) is many things, and has many parts, but it was first and foremost an attack on monopoly.”…”The birth of modern economics, then, as the publication of WON is sometimes referred, was the product of Adam Smith’s great disdain for monopoly (and one of its offspring, mercantilism).”

He hones the evidence of the historic knowledge Schmitz has for years in previous research, often in concert with others, aimed to breathe new life into the need for more antitrust action.

“Here is a description of the Arnold-Simons model of monopoly. Monopolies are organizations formed by groups of individuals to enrich themselves. They make significant investments of time and other resources to help build the monopoly. They develop formidable concentrations of power. Monopolies develop many weapons as they build power. One “weapon,” or strategy, is to make alliances with other similarly situated groups (i.e., other monopolies).

In the model, monopolies inflict harm in many ways. These include: A. Monopolies sabotage and destroy markets. They typically destroy substitutes for their products, often those that would be purchased by low-income households; B. Monopolies also use their weapons to manipulate and sabotage public institutions for their own gains; C. Monopolies not only inflict harm on “outsiders,” that is, those not in the monopoly. In Thurman Arnold’s (1943) words, monopolies “exploit members of their own group.”

Note that when monopolies sabotage substitutes for their product (as in A), they are, again, blocking “outsiders.” When they exploit members of their own group (as in C), they are sabotaging “insiders.”

Also note that I have not mentioned prices. The harm caused by monopoly prices were often a secondary concern for our forebears, as they knew these other actions of monopolies (A-C) could be much more destructive.”

…Note that when monopolies sabotage substitutes for their product (as in A), they are, again, blocking “outsiders.” When they exploit members of their own group (as in C), they are sabotaging “insiders.”

Also note that I have not mentioned prices. The harm caused by monopoly prices were often a secondary concern for our forebears, as they knew these other actions of monopolies (A-C) could be much more destructive.

How Do Monopolies accomplish actions A and B?

As I said, monopolies develop many weapons. Here is Wendell Berge, the head of DOJ antitrust following Arnold: “The weapons of monopoly are as numerous as they are artful and varied. It is for this reason that monopoly conditions have often grown up almost unnoticed by the public until one day it is suddenly realized that an industry is no longer competitive but is governed by an economic oligarchy able to crush all competition…”

From the editorial vantagepoint of MHLivingNews, one of the strongest elements of Schmitz in his current and prior research on this topic is precisely the understanding of the “weapons” used by monopolists.

Not only are options or “choices” in housing – or other parts of the economy – limited when competition is limited. But so too are employment options.

Fewer employment options can then be seen as a supply and demand influenced issue. When a concentration of businesses (i.e.: more mergers, more monopolization) occurs, the wealth of the top members of society goes up. When there is more options and less concentration of big business power, then economic equality expands. Note that during the years Schmitz asserted that the DOJ and FTC were more muscular in their antitrust enforcement and in minimizing mergers, there was also greater middle-class wealth. See the graphic from the New Yorker as evidence of that pattern.


Schmitz quotes Smith on “weapons (or tactics, or strategies) of monopoly: “… to attempt to reduce the army would be as dangerous as it has now become to attempt to diminish in any respect the monopoly which our manufacturers have obtained against us. This monopoly has so much increased the number of some particular tribes of them, that, like an overgrown standing army, they have become formidable to the government, and upon many occasions intimidate the legislature.” He sums that up in modern terms by saying that monopolists “Make alliances with the government.”

Those alliances can be with lawmakers as well as regulators. Schmitz might have used here terms such as “the Iron Triangle” or “revolving door” which have been well documented by other researchers. That noted, Schmitz has done yeoman work pulling together the important history that has largely been lost which explains the backdrop to many modern American problems. Lobbyists, for instance, are a symptom or ‘tool’ of would-be or actual monopolists.

Citing “Thurman Arnold, roughly 175 years after Smith: Monopolies are organizations that “… enter into politics using money and economic coercion to maintain themselves in power, making alliances with other powerful groups against the interests of consumers and independent producers. In short, they will become a sort of independent state within a state, making treaties and alliances, expanding their power by waging industrial war, dealing on equal terms with the executive and legislative branches of the government, and defying governmental authority if necessary with the self-righteousness of an independent sovereign.””

Here Schmitz sprinkles references to factory-built housing that would include manufactured homes, which he names in other research. “Our forebears had extensive evidence for monopolies sabotaging substitute products. This came from their great knowledge of history, detailed studies of monopolies and, of course, intimate knowledge of the current economies of their day.”

“From at least 1920, the U.S. traditional construction industry began successfully sabotaging U.S. factory-production of homes. The forces lined-up against the factory-housing industry were like a “perfect storm.” There were many groups that were organized as “individual” monopolies that were opposed to factory-production of homes, including labor unions, building inspectors, associations of building contractors, materials suppliers, local political groups that benefited from support of these monopolies, and more. In addition, these individual monopolies made alliances to oppose producers of factory-built homes. The distribution of power between these alliances and factory-producers was, of course, very skewed. The alliances successfully squashed the development of factory-built housing.

One of the images provided in the EIN media release, linked here. For those who use the content without changes and including backlinks, this content can be used at no cost. https://www.einpresswire.com/shareable-preview/x2vnbFfv6jm_ALUuWSUw3A Note 2: depending on your browser or device, many images in this report can be clicked to expand. Click the image and follow the prompts. To return to this page, use your back key, escape or follow the prompts.

When Thurman Arnold was at DOJ, he and his colleagues attempted to protect the factory housing industry.”

“When Arnold left DOJ, he kept working for the protection of factory-built housing. This is from Arnold (1947): “Why can’t we have houses like Fords [i.e., automobiles]? For a long time, we have been hearing about mass production of marvelously efficient postwar dream houses, all manufactured in one place and distributed like Fords. Yet nothing is happening.

The low-cost mass production house has bogged down. Why?”


Schmitz and Strommen made the point that manufactured homes are undermined by ‘sabotaging monopoly’ power. Strommen observed, the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000 and its “enhanced preemption” authority over local zoning could spur a solution based on existing law. Schmitz’s reveals how breaking up monopoly power could spur more new housing rapidly too. The Manufactured Housing Assoc for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) recently stressed this too at this link here. ##


Notice: This article above was released yesterday via our news release service. It has produced the following results under the important “news” category on Google News.






Other Timely, Related and Relevant Reports

As FAANGs Fall, New Manufactured Housing Production Rises Per March 2022 HUD Data – Opportunities in Disguise for Investors, Robust Growth Minded Manufactured Home Sellers; plus MH Equities Updates

‘Starter homes are extremely hard to come by’ – USA Today Asks ‘For First-Time Homebuyers Are Starter Homes Becoming Extinct?’ Facts, Analysis, Viewpoints from Manufactured Housing Vantagepoint

Can Manufactured Housing Institute, Key MHI Firms Duck Accountability to Members, Shareholders, Stakeholders with Head-Fakes, Unkept Promises? Surprising Insights; plus, Sunday Weekly MH Headlines Review


Next up is our daily business news recap of yesterday evening’s market report, related left-right headlines, and manufactured housing connected equities.

The Business Daily Manufactured Home Industry Connected Stock Market Updates.  Plus, Market Moving Left leaning CNN and Right-leaning (Newsmax) Headlines Snapshot. While the layout of this daily business report has been evolving over time, several elements of the basic concepts used previously are still the same. For instance. The headlines that follow below can be reviewed at a glance to save time while providing insights across the left-right media divide. Additionally, those headlines often provide clues as to possible ‘market-moving’ news items.


Market Indicator Closing Summaries – Yahoo Finance Closing Tickers on MHProNews…

“In the business world, the rear-view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” – Warren Buffett. That begs a key question. Why don’t more people LOOK at the rearview mirror so they can learn more about the patterns that influence what’s ahead? Note: depending on your browser or device, many images in this report can be clicked to expand. Click the image and follow the prompts. To return to this page, use your back key, escape or follow the prompts.
“Survey 85 Percent of Americans Concerned About Inflation, Credit Card Interest Up by 3.3” said a headline on Breitbart. ‘Core retail’ inflation was announced on 4.12.2022 as 8.5 percent. Some commentators are saying that the actual rate of inflation in the U.S. is more like 15 to 20 percent. As the value of the dollar erodes, that impact should be considered when looking at stock market performance. Note: depending on your browser or device, many images in this report can be clicked to expand. Click the image and follow the prompts. To return to this page, use your back key, escape or follow the prompts.

Headlines from left-of-center CNN Business – from the evening of 5.4.2022

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Headlines from right-of-center Newsmax 5.4.2022

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  • Russian Orthodox Church Scolds Pope for ‘Putin’s Altar Boy’ Remark
  • More Putin Propaganda: Zelenskyy Is a Thug
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  • Kremlin: No Agreement Yet on Possible Putin-Pope Meeting
  • Kremlin: Various Options Under Consideration to Respond to EU Oil Ban
  • Russia Claims It Fired Cruise Missiles at Ukraine
  • Patriarch Kirill, Loyal Kremlin Cleric Facing Sanctions
  • Putin Accuses Ukraine of War Crimes
  • Pope: NATO Shares Blame for Ukraine
  • Russia Lashes Out at Israel Amid Rift Over Holocaust, Ukraine
  • Ukraine Grain, Agriculture Products Targeted
  • Russia Fires More Rockets at Steel Plant, Some Evacuees Reach Safety
  • More Russian Invasion of Ukraine
  • Newsmax TV
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  • Ben Carson: SCOTUS Draft Leaker Thinking Like ‘Jihadists’ Do
  • Tenney: Student Loan Forgiveness Likely to Be ‘Overturned in Court’ | video
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  • Dershowitz: Justices Won’t Change Their Minds | video
  • Johnson: Dems ‘Fundamentally Destroying’ US | video
  • Walberg: Ukraine ‘Winning’ War, Needs Aid | video
  • More Newsmax TV
  • Newsfront
  • Judge Won’t Revive NY Political Maps That Favored Democrats
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  • Becerra: HHS to ‘Double Down’ on Helping Women Access Healthcare If Roe Is Overturned
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MHProNews has pioneered in our profession several reporting elements that keep our regular and attentive readers as arguably the best informed in the manufactured housing industry. Among the items shared after ‘every business day’ (when markets are open) is our left-right headline recap summary. At a glance in two to three minutes, key ‘market moving’ news items are covered from left-of-center CNN Business and right-of-center Newsmax. “We Provide, You Decide.” © Additionally, MHProNews provides expert commentary and analysis on the issues that others can’t or won’t cover that help explain why manufactured housing has been underperforming during the Berkshire era while an affordable housing crisis and hundreds of thousands of homeless in America rages on. These are “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use© features and others made and kept us the runaway #1 in manufactured housing trade publisher for a dozen years and counting. 

If it is true, then it isn’t necessarily bragging. By checking the facts and following the money trail, even on controversial topics, MHProNews has provided reports and analysis that stand the test of time. While others – including various examples from mainstream media – have published reports that later need to be corrected or modified in significant ways, reports on MHProNews in recent years have provided a routinely dependable resource for reliable information, analysis, and evidence-based ‘logical’ commentary. There is simply nothing else like it, which is why we have been and remain the #1, despite coverage that often vexes the powers that be in manufactured housing.


Manufactured Housing Industry Investments Connected Equities Closing Tickers

Some of these firms invest in manufactured housing, or are otherwise connected, but may do other forms of investing or business activities too.

                            • NOTE: The chart below includes the Canadian stock, ECN, which purchased Triad Financial Services, a manufactured home industry lender
                            • NOTE: Drew changed its name and trading symbol at the end of 2016 to Lippert (LCII).
                            • NOTE: Deer Valley was largely taken private, say company insiders in a message to MHProNews on 12.15.2020, but there are still some outstanding shares of  the stock from the days when it was a publicly traded firm.  Thus, there is still periodic activity on DVLY.

Manufactured Home Communities (a.k.a. ‘Mobile Home Parks’ – SIC) – Exploring UMH Properties; Fellow Manufactured Housing Institute Member Yes! Communities Suits and Settlements; plus MH Markets Updates

Clayton-21st Storm Watch – Sinatra’s Summer Wind Blows Early? – Manufactured Housing Moat Breach – Manufactured Home Values Increasing Faster than Site-Built – Case for Something New in 2022

NOTE: An update has been linked from this post that includes a reply from Leo Poggione. https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/leo-poggione-craftsman-homes-manufactured-housing-institute-chairman-back-story-on-cavco-industries-consumer-affairs-for-a-house-customers-better-business-bureau-claim/


“In the business world, the rear-view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” – Warren Buffett. That begs a key question. Why don’t more people LOOK at the rearview mirror so they can learn more about the patterns that influence what’s ahead? Note: depending on your browser or device, many images in this report can be clicked to expand. Click the image and follow the prompts. To return to this page, use your back key, escape or follow the prompts.
    • 2022 Berkshire Hathaway is the parent company to Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage and other factory-built housing industry suppliers.
      · LCI Industries, Patrick, UFPI, and LP each are suppliers to the manufactured housing industry, among others.
      · AMG, CG, and TAVFX have investments in manufactured housing related businesses. For insights from third-parties and clients about our publisher, click here.
      Enjoy these ‘blast from the past’ comments. MHProNews. MHProNews – previously a.k.a. MHMSM.com – has celebrated our 11th year of publishing and have completed over a dozen years of serving the industry as the runaway most-read trade media.HowardWalkerEmergenceOfTonyKovachsPublicationsProfessionalsFilledVacuumDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-575x399

Sample Kudos over the years…

It is now 12+ years and counting

Learn more about our evolutionary journey as the industry’s leading trade media, at the report linked below.

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That’s a wrap on this installment of “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, stock, investing, data, metrics, 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.)

All on Capitol Hill were welcoming and interested in manufactured housing related issues. But Congressman Al Green’s office was tremendous in their hospitality. Our son’s hand is on a package that included a copy of the Constitution of the United States and other goodies. Tamas has grown considerably since this photo was taken. 

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship along with numerous awards in history. There have been several awards and honors and also recognition 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.







mas kovach mhpronews shopping with soheyla .jp

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