White Flag? Tariffs, Manufactured Housing Institute Fly-In, Antitrust Exemptions Topics by Politico in Washington, D.C.


Politico is a left-of-center media outlet that is part of the News Media Alliance. That’s a trade group of some 2000 publications, of which this trade media is not a member of, that is pressing for legislation to exempt them from antitrust laws for a four-year period. The goal is to allow them to negotiate with Google and Facebook in order to survive in the news industry, without themselves being charged with an antitrust violation. “We are at a critical time for the news publishing industry. Present trends simply cannot continue. We need to take action to give publishers the right to stand up for themselves and fight for a sustainable digital future for journalism,” says the News Media Alliance.

That is part of a ‘newsletter’ that paired or included reports on China, trade, tariffs, and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) fly-in and more. There was no mention of the Innovation in Housing event that has its final day in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall today.

MHI’s Fly-In

Per Politico, “FLYING IN: The Manufactured Housing Institute is on the Hill today for the second day of a two-day fly-in. They’ll meet with Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind,), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Reps. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), John Rose (R-Tenn.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), David Scott (D-Ga.) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.).”

Ponder that the list above. It had to be provided to one or more reporters. Who is more likely to have provided that list than someone at MHI? So why didn’t they also plug the display of manufactured homes on the National Mall?

That list of legislators includes several familiar names from the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act days. After years of effort and millions spent, that Preserving Access bill failed, in what’s been termed in hindsight as a rope-a-dope ploy. What part passed into law via S 2155 could have been achieved without legislation years earlier. See those links for more details, because even though these are well documented and evidenced insights, others in the manufactured home industry’s trade media routinely avoid such topics.

Trade, tariffs, and antitrust were dominating themes in Politico’s D.C. focused newsletter. They noted that Google and Facebook are spending millions in the nation’s capital, preparing for the antitrust, Congressional and other looming battles. It will be recalled that MHProNews spotlighted the revealing Kevin Clayton take on the matter, linked below. If Clayton is arguing to stop tariffs, that’s a possible signal to tea leaves readers to consider the opposite view.

White flag?

Andy Gedo, Partner at ManageAmerica, Raises Clayton Homes Monopolistic Practices Debate; Manufactured Housing Institute Related Issues


But a new piece of bipartisan legislation that was highlighted is a bill to fight Google and Facebook by exempting publishers from antitrust in negotiations with the digital duopoly giants. Think about that for a moment. Why not just break up Google and Facebook, and save the digital marketplace that way? Isn’t it akin to waving a white flag, to beg Congress to do what antitrust laws should be protecting digital publishers or others in business from already?

According to Roll Call on 6.4.2019, “The News Media Alliance reported spending about $385,000 on federal lobbying during the first three months of this year, while Google and Facebook both disclosed shelling out nearly $3.4 million in the same period. In all of last year, the alliance spent $1.8 million on federal lobbying, according to congressional lobbying disclosures. Google reported $21.2 million for 2018, while Facebook dished out $12.6 million.

In the convoluted world of Washington, D.C. following the money doesn’t automatically lead one to instantly discerning the underlying logic. Google and Facebook are individually outspending the combined lobbying efforts of the News Media Alliance. Allow monopolistic players to become too big, and of course they will use that power. Or as NY Stern’s Scott Galloway phrased it last year in speak about 4 of the tech giants:




Without denigrating the aim of the News Media Alliance backed bill, perhaps the simplest and fastest answer are the ones reported here and here Monday. Investigate and break up the corporate giants, but extend it formally to Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft and all of the FAANGs. #DeFaangBM.




These are not liberals vs. conservatives, or ‘left vs. right’ issues. Rather, they are about what is wrong or right, and that should be non-partisan. This pattern impacts manufactured housing professionals and investors, wittingly or not, day by day.

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

This is your hump-day, second installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,© where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)


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