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2020 News: Big Brother, Antitrust – Anti-Monopoly – Manufactured Housing, and You

April 26th, 2019 Comments off

 

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Let’s string together what may seem to be disconnected points, that are in fact quite inter-related.

 

When the New York Times this morning opens with the words, “Joe Biden Announces 2020 Run for President, After Months of Hesitation” that is less than a ringing endorsement by their staff writers.

It is followed by this: “The former vice president has stayed on the sidelines while his record has been scrutinized. His entry is sure to reshape the Democratic primary contest.” Those parts of their morning news are certainly worthy of their flagship role in left-of-center media reporting.

A routine irony in reading the NYTimes is this. They often espouse a worldview where the elite can guide the nation into a better world.  For the NYT, government plays a key role in that vantagepoint.  So, headlines like this next one that is also from the NYTimes reveals that government intervention can often make a problem worse, not better.

NYT Editors’ Picks

San Francisco Had an Ambitious Plan to Tackle School Segregation. It Made It Worse.” By Dana Goldstein, “A system devised to empower parents and integrate schools has not worked as intended, offering a cautionary tale to districts across the country.”

That subject, wittingly or not, is directly connected with access to affordable housing, and thus manufactured homes is in the background of so many of these issues.

Access to affordable housing is one of the larger issues that loom ahead.  So too are antitrust laws, and more.

Among the campaign issues in the various races for 2020 that will impact manufactured housing professionals and investors.  Among them are tax or regulatory policies, antitrust, land use or housing policies, law enforcement in general, finance or access to capital, and any rules or proposed laws that have a manufactured housing specific impact.

Ryan Young at the Competitive Enterprise Institute had this to say yesterday, “Both parties are making antitrust regulation a 2020 campaign issue. Neither President Trump nor most of the Democratic candidates are proposing improvements. Over at the Washington Examiner I take a closer look:

After a two-decade lull following the Microsoft case, big antitrust enforcement cases are back in vogue. Both political parties are making antitrust regulation a 2020 campaign issue. Regulators, politicians, and voters have reasonable concerns about concentrated corporate power. But few policies are easier for big companies to game than antitrust regulation. Reformers should favor having fewer regulations for special interests to capture, not more.”

Quoting that’s should not to be construed as MHProNews necessarily endorsing Young’s views.  Wheat and chaff, with all people and things.

 

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That disclaimer noted, it is to report that Young’s arguably correct about these aspects of his quoted statement above: “Both parties are making antitrust regulation a 2020 campaign issue,” that’s demonstrably true. Further, “big antitrust enforcement cases are back in vogue. Both political parties are making antitrust regulation a 2020 campaign issue. Regulators, politicians, and voters have reasonable concerns about concentrated corporate power.”

Other than MHProNews, there is no one else in manufactured housing trade media that has seriously dealt with the issue of monopolies, antitrust, and how those topics have and do impact the currently low state of the new manufactured housing industry production, sales and the ripple effect that has throughout the industry.

While others talk about monopolistic practices, say our competitors in trade media, they have largely avoid writing about the topic itself.  That revealing, isn’t it?

Now, hone in on this pull-quote from Young:

But few policies [antitrust law] are easier for big companies to game than antitrust regulation.”  That’s also arguably true, as our reports have tended to reveal.  For years, clever methods have been deployed that have as a goal expanding certain big-boy brands Moats. Those methods are ways to game the system.

As you discern who you plan to support in 2020, keep antitrust regulations and law enforcement in mind.

While the Trump Administration has not yet had a breakout case in antitrust, Young is correct in noting that “After a two-decade lull following the Microsoft case, big antitrust enforcement cases are back in vogue.”

As political realists here at MHProNews, one ought to recognize that the nearly two-year Mueller investigation was a drag on the White House politically. As a political ploy, and speaking from the independent perspective of a non-party aligned publication, the Mueller probe and others like it in Congress were arguably successful in hobbling the GOP during the first two years of the Trump Administration.

That’s now in the rearview mirror.  Useful economic growth policies are a testament to what was done despite a brazen attack on the 2016 election outcome.

So, it is unclear what President Donald J. Trump may or may not have done in the absence of that political assault exemplified by Mueller. That’s not to give the White House a pass, but it is a reality that in fairness ought to be considered.

 

Inside MH…

There is a message circulating yesterday and today from our publisher to specific industry leaders, trade publishers, and personalities. It seeks feedback from them.  Several in the message chain are tied to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, their attorneys, plus others.

Because there are already several federal and other investigations reportedly underway tied to the above, and the potential for more, it may not be a surprise if they continue to sit on their 5th Amendment right to remain silent.  Because anything they say could be used against them later in a court of law. MHProNews will update you on that outreach at an appropriate time.

But mainstream news evidence that such probes are ongoing is found in the video posted below.

 

Public viewing on that video are increasing since the Daily Business News on MHProNews began to post it.  Some things just take time, as Warren Buffett has said himself.

That’s this morning’s first look at “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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The Coming Breakup of Berkshire? MHI? Plus Sunday Headline Recap 10-14-2018 to 10-21-2018

October 21st, 2018 Comments off

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Among the emails waiting this morning? Some pull quotes.

 

Tony, MHProNews keeps breaking the mold, and continues to redefine manufactured housing [industry trade] publishing. Everything else is boring by comparison.”

 

There’s opinions, and then there’s MHProNews. Love the documentation you provide with your articles. Keep it coming.”

 

The next two are part of longer messages…

 

“…MHARR. MHProNews. That’s it.”

After years in MHI, it just made me feel ill to read last night’s [Saturday’s] lead…”

There’s more, and along with cheers there are a few who jeer. That Saturday evening story, are among those linked further below. Beyond the feedback, thanks too for the latest news tips.

Let’s get down to this Sunday morning’s headline topic.

Freedom is never free. It always comes at a price.

Slavery has a price too.

Choose freedom.

Several months ago, we reported on what an independent told the Daily Business News on MHProNewsthey think they own us.”

There are forces that can break the stranglehold that in direct or oblique ways have artificially limited manufactured housing. The federal government is among them.

Whether you love, hate, or are non-pulsed by the 45th President of the United States (POTUS), there are clues that successful midterm – a red tide – could witness something special happening in MHVille.

We look at facts, evidence, and follow the money. We source across the left-right media divide.  It’s necessary to have a balanced view of reality.

That said, some Democrats – including Elizabeth Warren or Maxine Waters – talk about monopolies. But it remains to be seen if their words are like what Democrats that said about a decade ago who claimed that they supported a border wall. Or like when Bill Clinton said that the “era of big government is over.” 20 years later, that’s a laugh-line now, isn’t it?

There are Democratic politicos that verbally blast billionaires, while taking millions in PAC support from billionaire Democrats. It’s a charade, a con.  That’s not a slam on Democrat supporters. We’re independents for good reasons. The pay-for-play game is done by many to various degrees in D.C. in states or locally, not just Democrats.

But the question is, are the Dems’ leader talk of antitrust words only? After all, they had eight years under Barack Obama’s presidency. Antitrust is technically part of the executive branch’s authority. What did Democrats do to break up the giants?

Nada.

Zip.

Nothing.

While it is an executive branch function, those billionaires buy votes by funding the elections of candidates.  We’ve laid out the facts.  You hear about the libertarian leaning Koch brothers in the mainstream media. But most of the big billionaire donors are DemocratsThat’s just a fact. Then, compare the promises made vs. promises kept by the 44th and 45th presidents.  Look at the facts, the evidence – because it matters to your business.

MarketWatch ran a story about how the S&P 500’s CEOs are politically active.  They give often big donations, and some are very partisan ones. Don’t be afraid of politics, don’t avoid it, because the big boys are all in.

You better be in the water too.  Not necessarily with the dollars, but with information, and votes.

It’s Marty Lavin’s generic quote, but I’m paraphrasing it here.

Pay attention to what people say, but then examine how closely their actions match their words.  Also, follow the money. Follow the facts. Follow the evidence. Use your God-given common sense.

The Trump Administration has also been sharpening the tone against billionaire monopolistic firms. Jeff Bezos/Amazon, Google, and Facebook have drawn specific mention. But they are not alone.

But are there clues that Berkshire could get the trust-busting treatment in 2019 too?

We won’t say more than the obvious. President Donald J. Trump has plenty of reasons to do so.  The president has a long memory.  He knows Warren Buffett.  He knows George Soros.  Both Buffett and Soros have worked to undermine him and his presidency.  See yesterday’s red-hot report on how following the Buffett money-trail reveals how he has funded anti-manufactured home activist MHAction, linked further below.

 

Fear of Anti-Trust Goes Beyond Berkshire

There will be some in MHVille that would cheer a federal antitrust case.

But some, and I’m not talking here about Berkshire folks, some people simply fear change. So, what would the impact of antitrust actions against those noted above likely lead to in our industry?

There has never been a federal anti-monopoly action in manufactured housing to date. But recall this: “The breakup of the Bell System was mandated on January 8, 1982, by an agreed consent [based upon federal antitrust action]…AT&T was, at the time, the sole provider of telephone service throughout most” of the U.S., said Wikipedia.

That AT&T breakup in the 1980s may provide clues for manufactured housing, and other industries too.

Smaller companies in the AT&T trust-bust resulted in a surge of new technologies and competition. The same could well occur in manufactured housing too. After the federal AT&T case:

  • Telecom grew as a result.
  • Cellular developed.
  • The internet emerged.
  • Is there any of that you’d want reversed?

Who else in MHVille has reported that NY Stern Professor Scott Galloway says about how breaking up the monopolies will bring new oxygen into the system. No one, beyond this pro-industry, pro-consumer news site.  That’s arguably why we get strong readership and feedback, like those emails noted above.

Professor Galloway argues breaking up the big four in tech will revive the economy, not harm it.  He’s a tech expert. We’re just citing the expert’s view.

Consider the facts, evidence, and money.  Democrats –

  • by default or by design,
  • fostered through legislation and regulations,
  • bigger giants in lending,
  • giants that dominate in manufactured housing,
  • huge firms that dominate in tech, and beyond.
  • Democrats are the one-party monopoly rule, that’s a reality in several parts of the U.S. today.
  • Recall that Warren Buffett is a student of history. He loves to read such things.  Mr. Buffett applies the lessons of history.  Berkshire’s boss has also admitted that he expects others not to read, not to learn from history, and to be trapped by their own habits. Prove Buffett wrong daily, as thousands of others do, by reading MHProNews each day.
  • The history of Berkshire’s purportedly bad behavior is all the reason independents, thinking Democrats, and Republicans should vote for pro-Trump GOP candidates in the midterms.

It is enlightened self-interest. Pragmatic.

MHProNews has made it clear for months why we believe Team Trump’s performance to date merits more House and Senate seats. We said weeks ago what some mainstream media outlets are only now beginning to report.

That is? Despite over half a year of bluster about a so-called ‘blue wave,’ odds are the GOP expands control of the U.S. Senate. Barring some shocking to voters, a gain by the GOP in the Senate seems likely. We think it’s possible that the GOP could end up at or near 60 seats.  Every election comes down to voters voting.

The House of Representatives is a tougher call. Democrats have more money. Democrats have the bulk of the media megaphones. The candidates are less well known. But there are still data points, policy reasons, and a booming economy that should make us believe the GOP can hold the House.

Even some mainstream media pundits are beginning to say it too.

As political independents that read the tea leaves, we predicted in 2016 a Trump upset. Yes, we worked for it, and gladly so, because we thought then and now that POTUS Trump would be world’s better than a POTUS Hillary.  We said in 2016 that the GOP could – and did – hold the House and Senate.

MHI has all of their experts, resources, and lobbyists.  But MHI got it wrong about election 2016.  So, what else is new at their Arlington, VA HQ?

With about 21 months of President Trump’s track record.  The Trump Administration has proven to be promise keepers to the degree that Democrats have made possible.

If Dems win the House, the next two years will be gridlock and endless investigations of issues that will be as spurious as ‘Russia collusion’ proved to be. Recall we said about 18 months ago that there is no federal crime of collusion on what the Trump campaign was being accused of, and that was not our opinion, that was the view Harvard University’s Democratic legal wiz Alan Dershowitz.  There’s fluff that Democrats and their media allies use to whip up the less informed parts of their base.

POTUS Trump was an is an outsider, not a classic Republican, nor a Democrat. He’s pragmatic.  He’s funny, colorful, and on policy after policy, he’s just plain correct. Sure, there are tweets that stir controversy.  We can wonder about his personal life, but there is nothing there that comes close to what Bill Clinton did.

All those tweets and stuff just keeps the mainstream media from talking about issues that matter. Don’t follow the red herring. Follow the substance over the style, but let’s admit that the style is entertaining.

We’ve built numerous reports on MHLivingNews yesterday and in past weeks that could nudge some visitors towards the President’s agenda, all based upon facts and evidence.

We have detailed numerous fact-and-evidence based reports – just one linked here – on MHProNews of the tragic ways that Berkshire and their MHI tool purportedly took illicit advantage of thousands of manufactured home independents.

Make no mistake. Buffett’s funding of the Tides and through them, MHAction and others, is a sign of just how low they can go.  If they have done it to so many others, do you want to be the next – or even the last – one eaten?

Or do you want to hitch your boxcar onto arguably the best train that is moving, i.e., the Trump agenda and his GOP allies in the House and Senate?

We’ve been told in D.C. that our formal HUD, DOE et al comments letters are getting special attention.  More on that later.

Independents and homeowners alike have great reasons to vote for a pro-growth, de-regulatory moves of the Trump agenda. But antitrust is a countercurrent.  Attacking monopolies or oligopolies would mean using regulations that are already on the books. Antitrust action can be slowed or benefited by Congress.

So, every GOP vote is like voting against Berkshire and MHI.

Should Berkshire get the break-up treatment, don’t be surprised at the ways that MHI will be caught up in that maelstrom.  There are several ways we’ve shown in recent years that MHI has purportedly crossed the line.  They’ve never challenged it.

As independents, every Pro-Trump GOP Vote is like voting for freedom, more professional and more investment opportunities.

For residents and homeowners, a pro-GOP vote is how enhanced preemption, better lending, and other reforms get done that will raise their manufactured homes’ values.

MHI has been the arguable tool for Berkshire in MHVille for some years. The triangle between Arlington, VA based MHI – and their big brothers in Omaha and Knoxville – have been an unholy alliance for too long. Vote to change it.  That’s why a new association is underway, also one of the stories linked below.

As an FYI – if you know those who were specifically hurt financially by MHI, Clayton, 21st, et al, please have them send an email with ANTITRUST in the subject line.

16 days from now, the second phase of freedom from Omaha, Knoxville and Arlington could come. God bless America. God bless, inspire and guide all.  Thanks for checking in, and we’ll turn this over to Soheyla to finish what follows below.

LATonyKovachGoodBipartisanshipShouldalwaysBepredicatedBenefitallhonestindustrymembersnotslectfewquote

The comment above was said with respect to another recent topic, but relates to this issue too. FYI, the hot lined featured image above is different than the hotlink recent topic.

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Headline News Week in Review on the Daily Business News on MHProNews

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Saturday 10.20.2018

Expose! Why Has Warren Buffett/BH Funded Anti-MHC Activists, MHAction? Why Fund Attacks on ELS, Frank Rolfe, Blackstone Group?

Expose! Why Has Warren Buffett/BH Funded Anti-MHC Activists, MHAction? Why Fund Attacks on ELS, Frank Rolfe, Blackstone Group?

 

Friday 10.19.2018 

MarketWatch Reports Warren Buffett’s Midterm Campaign Contributions 

Nickel Plan Could Boost Economy, Says Moody’s, Black MAGA Housing Story, Plus MH Market Updates

Official Federal Housing and Construction Activity Report, Video

Official Federal Housing and Construction Activity Report, Video

While GSEs Play Footsy with MHI, Congressional Leadership Demands Answers on FHFA

While GSEs Play Footsy with MHI, Congressional Leadership Demands Answers on FHFA

 

Thursday 10.18.2018

Has POTUS Trump Signaled Major Financial System Change After Midterms? Plus, MH Market Updates

Metro Media News 7 Video Report Compares MODS to Lego, Belittles “Mobile Homes” 

“The Creepy Line” Video DocuDrama, Manufactured Housing – The Problem, Solution, and You

“The Creepy Line” Video DocuDrama, Manufactured Housing – The Problem, Solution, and You

Manufactured Housing Institute Shipment Data, FEMA, an Inside Look

Manufactured Housing Institute Shipment Data, FEMA, an Inside Look

 

Wednesday 10.17.2018 

10 Year Record for America, U.S. Named World’s Most Competitive Economy

10 Year Record for America, U.S. Named World’s Most Competitive Economy

Budget Cuts, Mick Mulvaney, and Manufactured Housing Market Updates

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Women, #MeToo and Insider Information

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Women, #MeToo and Insider Information

New National Manufactured Housing Association Makes Its Appeal to Industry Members

New National Manufactured Housing Association Makes Its Appeal to Industry Members

 

Tuesday 10.16.2018 

HUD Secretary Carson Visits North Carolina, POTUS to FL, Survey Hurricane Damage, Response Efforts, Federal Funds

Morgan Stanley, CNBC – Investors Want GOP Wave but Ponder Split Control of Congress, Plus MH Market Updates

Morgan Stanley, CNBC – Investors Want GOP Wave but Ponder Split Control of Congress, Plus MH Market Updates

Big Manufactured Home Community Operator, MH Owner Kid Rock, John James, Donald Trump Jr, and Debbie Stabenow

Big Manufactured Home Community Operator, MH Owner Kid Rock, John James, Donald Trump Jr, and Debbie Stabenow

“He’s Lying,” Campaign Insider Video – “Don’t Do Politics?” Tell Jim Clayton, Phil Bredesen, and Marsha Blackburn, Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Supporter

“He’s Lying,” Campaign Insider Video – “Don’t Do Politics?” Tell Jim Clayton, Phil Bredesen, and Marsha Blackburn, Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Supporter

 

Monday 10.15.2018

Debts, Retail, Dollars, and the Manufactured Housing Industry Evening Market Report 

HUD Announces Post Disaster Assistance for Hurricane Recovery 

Was Manufactured Housing Advocate Congressman Andy Barr Backstabbed?

Was Manufactured Housing Advocate Congressman Andy Barr Backstabbed?

Celebrating Manufactured Housing! Protect, Educate, Promote, and “the Ground Floor”

Celebrating Manufactured Housing! Protect, Educate, Promote, and “the Ground Floor”

 

Sunday 10.14.2018

For Independents, Independent-Minded MH Professionals, and Freedom-Loving Investors Only, Sunday Headline News Recap 10-7 to 10.14.2018

For Independents, Independent-Minded MH Professionals, and Freedom-Loving Investors Only, Sunday Headline News Recap 10-7 to 10.14.2018

We do roughly 2 dozen stories a week between MHProNews and ManufacturedHomeLivingNews. That is roughly the same or more as all of the other trade publishers combined. We carefully selected each topic.  The evening market reports have evolved into a featured highlight, but has all of the market data wrapped around it.  No one else in MHVille does what we do.  Period. That’s why we have the largest audience, by far.  Our sincere thanks for that.

Speaking of thanks, our sources at Legacy Housing tell us that it rained an rained during their event, but they packed their seminars, there was lots of energy and hundreds – hundreds – of floors were sold. They are executed.  We thank them for the opportunity to serve during the last few months.

Back to curation.  Every topic has merit. We highlight some, but that is not to diminish others. We don’t want to weight a page down too much. That said, please take an a little more than an hour and watch the Creepy Line video, see our report and some teaser videos about it, linked above.  Once you’ve seen it, have your friends watch it too.

Then please ponder what Tony said above.

We take our publishing, consulting, marketing and other roles seriously.  When people trust you with their time, that means we are responsible for trying to get it right.  We strive to make sure that we focus on the issues that others can’t, don’t or won’t mention. Among the nicer comments from competitors is the one that said that we cover the stories that others talk about in bars and restaurants. There are nice people in our industry’s trade media. But we cover the reports that others who may be bought and paid for won’t touch.

There are still some professionals that tell us they’d rather not see anything political here on MHProNews. We understand and respect that view. But we disagree, and here’s why. Warren Buffett and his buddies are highly political. They debatably use politics to help get what they want for their businesses. Furthermore, placement issues are all about local or state politics.

Ignore political considerations at your own peril.

The manufactured housing industry is marching towards the midterms, now just over 3 weeks away. No one in manufactured housing even comes close to the kind of breadth of coverage for the issues that impact your business. Maybe that’s why we’re number 1. Our sincere thanks to readers like you, our business development clients and sponsors for making it so.

Together with honest people of good will, we can make our industry and our nation achieve its great potential. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Sunday Morning, weekly headline news review, analysis, and commentary.)

NOTICE: You can join the scores who follow us on Twitter at this link. You can get our ‘read-hot’ industry-leading emailed headline news updates, at this link here.

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Lawsuits for Triple Damages – Anti-Trust, Anti-Monopoly Law, Manufactured Housing, and You

January 4th, 2018 Comments off

AntiTrustLegalGavelAntiMonopolyManufacturedHousingMHProNews

The Clayton Act also authorizes private parties to sue for triple damages when they have been harmed by conduct that violates either the Sherman or Clayton Act and to obtain a court order prohibiting the anticompetitive practice in the future,” says the Federal Trade Commission website page, further linked below.

Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly,” per the same federal facts page.

 

The Sherman Act outlaws “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.””

Long ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Sherman Act does not prohibit every restraint of trade, only those that are unreasonable. For instance, in some sense, an agreement between two individuals to form a partnership restrains trade, but may not do so unreasonably, and thus may be lawful under the antitrust laws.”

On the other hand, certain acts are considered so harmful to competition that they are almost always illegal.”

These include plain arrangements among competing individuals or businesses to fix prices, divide markets, or rig bids. These acts are “per se” violations of the Sherman Act; in other words, no defense or justification is allowed,” their overview page states.

The quotes above are highlights from the FTC text below, which is shared verbatim as follows for their complete context.

Note that after this section, there will be additional comments and links to information for those impacted or researching this high-profile topic.

The Antitrust Laws, Per the FTC

FederalTradeCommisionWikipediaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews“Congress passed the first antitrust law, the Sherman Act, in 1890 as a “comprehensive charter of economic liberty aimed at preserving free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade.” In 1914, Congress passed two additional antitrust laws: the Federal Trade Commission Act, which created the FTC, and the Clayton Act. With some revisions, these are the three core federal antitrust laws still in effect today.

The antitrust laws proscribe unlawful mergers and business practices in general terms, leaving courts to decide which ones are illegal based on the facts of each case. Courts have applied the antitrust laws to changing markets, from a time of horse and buggies to the present digital age. Yet for over 100 years, the antitrust laws have had the same basic objective: to protect the process of competition for the benefit of consumers, making sure there are strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality up.

Here is an overview of the three core federal antitrust laws.

The Sherman Act outlaws “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.” Long ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Sherman Act does not prohibit every restraint of trade, only those that are unreasonable. For instance, in some sense, an agreement between two individuals to form a partnership restrains trade, but may not do so unreasonably, and thus may be lawful under the antitrust laws. On the other hand, certain acts are considered so harmful to competition that they are almost always illegal. These include plain arrangements among competing individuals or businesses to fix prices, divide markets, or rig bids. These acts are “per se” violations of the Sherman Act; in other words, no defense or justification is allowed.

The penalties for violating the Sherman Act can be severe. Although most enforcement actions are civil, the Sherman Act is also a criminal law, and individuals and businesses that violate it may be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Criminal prosecutions are typically limited to intentional and clear violations such as when competitors fix prices or rig bids. The Sherman Act imposes criminal penalties of up to $100 million for a corporation and $1 million for an individual, along with up to 10 years in prison. Under federal law, the maximum fine may be increased to twice the amount the conspirators gained from the illegal acts or twice the money lost by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is over $100 million.

The Federal Trade Commission Act bans “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” The Supreme Court has said that all violations of the Sherman Act also violate the FTC Act. Thus, although the FTC does not technically enforce the Sherman Act, it can bring cases under the FTC Act against the same kinds of activities that violate the Sherman Act. The FTC Act also reaches other practices that harm competition, but that may not fit neatly into categories of conduct formally prohibited by the Sherman Act. Only the FTC brings cases under the FTC Act.

The Clayton Act addresses specific practices that the Sherman Act does not clearly prohibit, such as mergers and interlocking directorates (that is, the same person making business decisions for competing companies). Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly.” As amended by the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, the Clayton Act also bans certain discriminatory prices, services, and allowances in dealings between merchants. The Clayton Act was amended again in 1976 by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act to require companies planning large mergers or acquisitions to notify the government of their plans in advance. The Clayton Act also authorizes private parties to sue for triple damages when they have been harmed by conduct that violates either the Sherman or Clayton Act and to obtain a court order prohibiting the anticompetitive practice in the future.

In addition to these federal statutes, most states have antitrust laws that are enforced by state attorneys general or private plaintiffs. Many of these statutes are based on the federal antitrust laws.”

The above is quoted verbatim from the page, linked below.

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/antitrust-laws

 FederalTradeCommissionWashingtonDCBuildingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Anti-Trust (Anti-Monopoly) Laws, Manufactured Housing, and You

During an affordable housing crisis, how is it possible that manufactured housing is doing so poorly?

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the time Belsky made this prediction, manufactured homes were selling over 250,000 new units per year. This year, MH won’t reach 40,000 of that total. What happened?

NAR’s Yun – No Quick Fixes Spell$ Manufactured Housing Opportunitie$

Was it a series of mishaps?  Or what is part of a plan, to allow the regulatory state to be used to crush many, so that those who built “the moat” could benefit?

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

Antitrust, or anti-monopoly laws exist, as the FTC said, because it harms businesses and consumers alike.

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

Are there reasons to think to think this may apply to manufactured housing?

That’s for a court to decide, and for attorneys who contemplate such a case to consider, and argue. That said, consider this.

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

As the Daily Business News has previously reported, there have been thousands of companies that have closed or were acquired in the manufactured housing industry by larger operations. Was this the result of a plan, part of the moat strategy, of Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway, as it applies to the manufactured housing industry?

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

There are certainly Democratic lawmakers who have raised this issue, and others, who have specifically called Clayton Homes and their Berkshire Hathaway sister companies of 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage, a ‘near monopoly.’

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

As MHProNews began reporting for almost a year, there are also those within the ranks of the industry, who have called out MHI – widely seen within and outside of the industry as dominated by Berkshire Hathaway – as a tool of Warren Buffett led brands.

CampaignForAccountabilityNearMonopolyRacismSteeringPredatoryLendingClaytonHomesVanderbilt21stBerkshireHathawayWarrenBuffettLogosManufacturedHousingMHProNews

Not because these reports are among the most read articles,
but because there are voices within and outside of MH that say that this matters,
and because readers thank MHProNews for “having the guts” to cover it on behalf of the independents and consumers – who allegedly have been, are being, or will be harmed – we’ve taken this issue on.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

Allegations like those noted in or linked from this article have been carefully examined, per sources to MHProNews, from within Berkshire Hathaway owned brands and from MHI.

Given that MHProNews has invited replies we would publish, why have they not done so?

Given the fact that MHProNews’ publisher has invited a public debate MHI performance and related issues, why hasn’t Gooch, their attorney Rick Robinson (who as an attorney, is essentially trained in debating), or Richard “Dick” Jennison taken up the invitation?  Such a debate could be done via a recorded video, so that the entire industry could see it.

Why has MHI ducked out on that? Why didn’t MHI’s communication professional, Patti Boerger, join the panel discussion on “engaging the media” she was invited to at Tunica in 2017?

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) SVP Rick Robinson Ducks Serious Industry Questions in Deadwood

Such reporting is only possible because some have provided their keen insights, documents, insider information, or who have otherwise made these concerns and controversies publication possible.

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

When Doug Ryan at CFED (rebranded as Prosperity Now) leveled the charge of monopoly, MHI’s Lesli Gooch was quick to publicly reply.  Frankly, Ryan’s framing of the issue wasn’t the strongest, and Gooch’s reply was thus made easy.

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews-575x237

While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge, Doug Ryan at CFED, and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI. Soheyla Kovach approaches this from a fresh and unique perspective, as her report and analysis linked below proves.

But after months of invitations to MHI – including Ms. Gooch – other staff, and their executive committee members, MHI stopped replying to these concerns roughly a year ago.  They have also expressed refused to take questions in public.

In what might be seen as a type of ‘replies,’

  • an MHI contracted outside attorney,
  • surrogates of theirs,
  • an apparently anonymous package that delivered a threat via U.S. mail (which can be a federal crime = FYI, we called that ‘bluff’ and nothing happened),
  • have all threatened the publisher ofMHProNews. We called their bluffs.

Extortion? RICO? Allegedly Illegal, and Dirty Side of Manufactured Housing, Exposed

  • They’ve arguably played games to harm us, but no legal action.

Note, these threats don’t deny what we’ve published. They are nibbles at the edges, not a denial. Last but not least, MHI sent an anonymous, unsigned letter, removing MHProNews as a member, under the pretense that they had no category for a news source in their association.

That’s demonstrably a ruse, but for reasons that will become clear in the days ahead, they would not give any of the documents requested that preceded that membership cancellation letter.

MHProNews is not alone as being singled out for a win-lose type of proposition. But all of this begs the question, what are they hiding?  Why are they hiding it?

“Accurate, but Misleading” MHI Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Alert – ‘Weaponized New$,’ Fact Check$

We hear from Congressional sources that investigations are underway.

We know from other sources that media and third parties are tracking these developments, and taking an interest.

Is there an anti-trust (anti-monopoly), case to be made?

MHARR vs. MHI on DOE Energy Rule, Pushback Pay$ Off?

Are there hundreds, perhaps thousands of manufactured home business that have been harmed by “the moat” and MHI’s arguably poor performance?

Has MHI begun ‘promotion’ (note, that favors a Berkshire Hathaway brand, a company that relies on Berkshire Hathaway product, and a company that is led by a former Clayton division executive) to duck the growing pressure to ‘do something’ demanded by this publication and numerous industry leaders, including MHI members?

Terry Decio, Skyline Homes, “The Secret” – The Rest of the Story

If MHI et al are serious about facts and defending the industry, why haven’t they corrected the documented cases of factual errors MHProNews has spotlighted, which have been disputes that arose from MHI’s own members?

TimWilliamsCreditLinkedIn21stMortCorpCEOManufacturedHousingIndustryMHIChairmanWarrenBuffettBerkshireHathawayChairman

Warren Buffett, right, credit Wikipedia. Tim Williams, right, credit, LinkedIn. Collage credit, MHProNews. Click above.

If MHI et al are serious about facts and defending the industry, why don’t they respond to each and every flawed media report, as was once floated as part of their reason for hiring Boerger in the first place?

Do you or someone you know have a case or claim against MHI, Berkshire Hathaway?

Triple damages may await those willing to jump into that fray.

We Provide, You Decide.” ## (News, review, commentary, analysis).

TwitterFacebookLinkedInNew Year’s Resolution: On this 11th day of Christmas, a request.

This writer already has one of the largest LinkedIn followings in the manufactured home industry. But we’ve frankly not asked for Twitter, or Facebook followers. That changes, starting today. If you want to keep up with posts relevant to the industry, you can connect via the links below.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach/

https://twitter.com/LATonyKovach @LATonyKovach
https://www.facebook.com/tony.kovach.71

 

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We agree with Warren Buffett on the value of the lessons of history, reading and research. Without those deep insights, the wool can be pulled over other people’s eyes.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Kovach is the award-winning managing-member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC,
parent to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
Both are #1 in their categories.

Kovach is one of the most endorsed and recommended MH industry professionals in all of manufactured housing.