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Congress, HUD, Trump Administration Warned – “Profoundly Damaging Unintended Consequences” – Manufactured Housing Industry, Lower & Moderate-Income Americans

July 5th, 2019 Comments off

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  • While we believe that this bill is well intended and that HUD Code manufactured housing is a key part of the solution to the nation’s affordable housing crisis…”
  • “…we also believe that the legislative provisions needed to advance the availability and affordability of manufactured housing are already contained in the existing federal manufactured housing law.”
  • By contrast, we believe that H.R. 926 is not only unnecessary, but could have profoundly damaging unintended consequences for both the mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing industry and the lower and moderate-income American families who rely on those mainstream manufactured homes as the nation’s premier source of affordable, non-subsidized homeownership.”

 

The bulleted pull-quotes above are from a recent letter to elected and appointed leaders in Washington, D.C. dated June 26, 2019.

 

MarkWeissMHARRphotoLogoManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformlogoIn separate letters to the leadership of the House Financial Services Committee, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, copied to President Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and FHFA Director Mark Calabria, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) took direct aim at legislation that is being backed by the coalition that includes Prosperity Now, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO).

The letters are essentially identical, save the Senate version of the MHARR letter cites their bill number as S. 1804.  The House version of the MHARR letter cited their pending proposal as H.R. 926.  

The Daily Business News on MHProNews will do some additional analysis following the House version of the MHARR letter, from Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO, that follows.

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Hon. Maxine Waters Hon. Patrick McHenry
Chairman Ranking Member
House Financial Services Committee House Financial Services Committee
Suite 2129 Suite 2129
Rayburn House Office Building Rayburn House Office Building
Independence Ave. and S. Capitol St., S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20515

Independence Ave and S. Capitol St., S.W.
 

 

 

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Chairman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry:

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade organization representing the views and interests of independent producers of manufactured housing regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pursuant to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 as amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. (42 U.S.C. 5401, seq.). MHARR’s members are primarily smaller businesses located throughout the United States.

We are writing to apprise you of our serious concerns with — and opposition to — a bill currently pending before your committee, entitled “The HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act of 2019” (H.R. 926).

While we believe that this bill is well intended and that HUD Code manufactured housing is a key part of the solution to the nation’s affordable housing crisis, we also believe that the legislative provisions needed to advance the availability and affordability of manufactured housing are already contained in the existing federal manufactured housing law. By contrast, we believe that H.R. 926 is not only unnecessary, but could have profoundly damaging unintended consequences for both the mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing industry and the lower and moderate-income American families who rely on those mainstream manufactured homes as the nation’s premier source of affordable, non-subsidized homeownership. Indeed, if enacted into law, this bill could ultimately undermine all of the gains, advancements, recognition and acceptance that the industry (and consumers) have achieved under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 and the reforms within that law designed to transition manufactured homes from the “trailers” of yesteryear to modern, legitimate “housing” for all purposes.

Specifically, this bill in light of recent developments concerning the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS) provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and the apparent effort by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, promoted by some in the industry, to divert DTS support to a supposed “new class” of pseudo-manufactured homes while providing no support whatsoever to existing, mainstream manufactured homes financed through personal property loans (which comprise 80% of the HUD Code manufactured housing market) – appears to be tailored not only to legitimize the so-called “new class” of pseudo-manufactured home, but also to mandate government support for the utilization of that “new class” of home. The legislation, consequently, if enacted, would legally validate the discriminatory DTS policies adopted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the establishment of two separate “classes” of “residential manufactured homes” the new class of high-cost, site-built-like hybrid homes favored and prioritized for securitization and secondary market support by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the one hand, and a “second class” comprised of existing, affordable, mainstream HUD Code manufactured homes on the other, with continued and worsening discrimination against the “second-class” of mainstream HUD Code manufactured homes.

The legislation would thus sanitize and institutionalize the diversion of DTS support from mainstream manufactured housing to this so-called “new class” of home. It would also pave the way for local jurisdictions to utilize this “new class” of home — while in many, if not most cases, continuing to exclude and discriminate against mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured housing in order to access HUD grants and other funding. The bill does this through a two-step process of altering the definition of “manufactured home” currently contained in federal law and then requiring the inclusion of homes meeting this altered definition in the “Consolidated Plans” that jurisdictions must submit to HUD in order to receive federal funding under multiple HUD programs.

In relevant part, the bill directs HUD to “issue guidelines for jurisdictions relating to the appropriate inclusion of residential manufactured homes in a Consolidated Plan of the jurisdiction.” (Emphasis added). The definition of “residential manufactured home” contained in the bill, in turn, while referring to the definition of “manufactured home” contained in the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, would nevertheless alter that definition by using the term “residential,” which is not contained or included in the existing federal law definition. The bill, accordingly, would create a discrepancy between the existing definition of “manufactured home” and what does — or does not — constitute a “residential manufactured home,” potentially without any type of vetting, analysis or due consideration, that would elevate the so-called “new class” of home for use in every jurisdiction receiving HUD grants and other funding, while reducing mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured homes, once again, to second-class “trailer” status contrary to the 2000 reform law.

The bill, accordingly, poses a significant threat to existing, affordable, mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing and the lower and moderate-income families that rely upon those homes. At a minimum, with its altered definition of “residential manufactured home,” which is materially different from the definition already contained in federal manufactured housing law, the bill, if enacted, would create immediate market confusion — particularly for existing HUD Code manufactured homes, homeowners, and purchasers that could further suppress the mainstream, affordable HUD Code market and could lead to legal liability and litigation over just what does or does not constitute a “manufactured home” for purposes of federal regulation and a multitude of other issues.

Specifically, the bill is unnecessary and potentially harmful, in that it:

  • Would perpetuate a negative connotation and image of existing, mainstream, HUD Code manufactured housing through its title, which implies that manufactured homes are in need of “modernization” notwithstanding the sweeping institutional reforms of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. In addition, the title is misleading and inaccurate, in that the HUD program and the legal treatment of manufactured housing itself were already “modernized” by the 2000 reform law, after input from all stakeholders and the National Commission on Manufactured Housing. Consequently, if this bill is advanced in any form, its title should be changed to the “Manufactured Housing Parity and Equality Act of [Insert] ;”
  • Would, by changing the definition of what constitutes a “manufactured home,” create a substantial risk that the so-called “new class” of manufactured homes could lead to the establishment of a new baseline for all federal manufactured home standards, which would destroy the fundamental affordability of manufactured homes;

Would even if it does not lead to more expansive and costly federal standards, as above re-relegate existing, mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured homes to second class “trailer” status;

  • Would undermine gains and advances made through and as a result of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 to elevate the status of mainstream, affordable manufactured homes to that of legitimate “housing” for purposes (including federal and federally-sponsored housing programs);
  • Would legitimize and institutionalize continuing discrimination against mainstream, HUD Code manufactured home personal property loans under DTS;
  • Would legitimize and reinforce the discriminatory exclusion of mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured homes in jurisdictions seeking HIJD grants and other related funding by effectively directing those jurisdictions instead to higher-cost, “new class,” hybrid-type homes;
  • Would direct HUD funding and grants to jurisdictions that continue to discriminate against and exclude mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured homes and manufactured housing residents;
  • Would create immediate market confusion, would further suppress the existing HUD Code manufactured housing market and depreciate the re-sale value of such mainstream, affordable manufactured homes;
  • Would benefit just a handful of industry conglomerates at the expense of smaller, independent industry businesses and the lower and moderate-income American homebuyers who rely on the affordability of mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing.

Consequently, rather than this bill, with its inconsistent language and potentially devastating consequences for mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured housing, MHARR instead supports language that could be included in any moving bill involving HUD or housing finance that would ensure equal, non-discriminatory treatment for all HUD Code manufactured housing in both HUD housing and community grant programs, and housing finance programs under the jurisdiction of HUD (i.e., the Federal Housing Administration and Ginnie Mae) and/or the Federal Housing Finance Agency (i.e:, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). It is worth noting that under the 2000 reform law, manufactured housing producers have — and have always — been capable of building homes with additional upgrades and features. Thus, the MHARR-suggested language below:

  • “The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall provide for the inclusion of manufactured homes in all housing, federal housing assistance and community development programs and activities, including community development grants, administered by the Department, and shall ensure that any jurisdiction participating in any such program or applying to participate in any such program does not exclude or unreasonably restrict the placement of manufactured homes as defined by and regulated pursuant to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C.

5401, et seq.) within that jurisdiction.”

‘The Federal Housing Finance Agency shall ensure that the Government Sponsored Enterprises provide securitization and secondary market support for loans to purchase manufactured homes regulated pursuant to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 5401, et seq.), including loans secured by manufactured homes titled as real estate and manufactured homes titled as personal property, on an equal basis with all other types of single-family homes.”

Such language, attached to any moving bill in Congress, would propel parity and equality between existing, mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured housing and all other types of housing, while simultaneously prohibiting discrimination against HUD Code housing (and manufactured homeowners) in vital areas. By contrast, when the innocuous veneer of the pending bill is stripped away, it becomes apparent that it would do serious harm to existing, mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing and the lower and moderate-income American families who rely on the non-subsidized affordability of those homes.

Consequently, while MHARR recognizes and appreciates the positive intent underlying this bill, it does not and cannot support H.R. 926 and urges your committee to take no further action to advance it. If, however, further action is taken on this bill, we respectfully urge your committee to hold a full hearing on the highly-damaging potential consequences of such legislation on mainstream, affordable manufactured housing, and would ask that MHARR be provided an opportunity to offer the above proposed language that would actually advance your positive intentions without harming the HUD Code manufactured housing industry as it exists today.

Thank you

Sincerely,

 

Mark Weiss
President and CEO

cc:  Hon. Norma Torres

Hon. Ben Carson

Hon. Mick Mulvaney

Hon. Mark Calabria

HUD Code Manufactured Housing Industry Members

###

In conversations between MHProNews’ publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach and key legislative staff from both political parties, Kovach noted that starting with the title of the bill, the measure is problematic.  He said that “The HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act of 2019” makes it sound like HUD Code manufactured homes needs to be ‘modernized,’ thus sending the wrong message to the millions who might here about the bill but never get beyond a headline.

Tony Kovach did not go into the same points that MHARR did, as his contacts with Congress relative to this measure were prior to the MHARR letter.  But he did note similar concerns, namely, that what is needed is enforcing existing laws, not passing a new one that might in fact undermine the enhanced preemption portion of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000.

Rephrased, MHARR and MHProNews’ leadership came to similar concerns and conclusions apart from each other about this bill. GovTrack gives it only single digit odds of passage. But even the discussion of the measure – due to the name of the bill – can prove damaging.

Our prior report on this is linked below and is very relative in the light of the more recent MHARR comments.

It should be noted that MHProNews was a leader in sounding the alarm about the new class of homes promoted by Clayton Homes and their association mouthpiece, Arlington, VA based MHI.

We said at that time that it could prove to be a Trojan horse for the industry and warned that it could undermine the sales and acceptance of all other types of manufactured homes. That warning has been repeated several times, such as when the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rolled out their programs, which made distinctions between the ‘new class’ of homes and all other manufactured homes.

The ‘new class of homes,’ related issues, and this new measure are examples of how the good news about manufactured homes can be and has been obscured. That has often been done by those who claim to be promoting the industry.

That the promotion of operations owned by Berkshire Hathaway, such as Clayton Homes, or MHI and some ‘big boy’ members there has not been successful is self-evident, based upon the latest shipment data and recent new manufactured home sales trends.  See that report, linked below.

 

Manufactured Housing Production and Shipments, Official HUD Data, Report for May 2019

 

That it need not be so is exemplified by companies that are growing, while others that are shrinking in sales.  A publicly traded example is spotlighted in the report linked below.

 

Nobility Homes Bucks National Trends, Reported Serious Growth, plus Manufactured Home Stock Updates

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Tic Toc – July 4th, Tim Williams 21st Mortgage, John Greiner, JD, Graydon Law – Message Review

https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/masthead/america-the-story-of-us-declaration-of-independence/

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Trump Administration Move on Housing Financing Draws Sharp Manufactured Home Association Response

March 29th, 2019 Comments off

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MHARR URGES CONGRESS TO PRESERVE DTS IN GSE REFORM LEGISLATION

 

Washington, D.C., March 28, 2019 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), in written testimony submitted to the Senate Banking Committee in conjunction with its March 26-27, 2019 hearing concerning reform of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) and the domestic housing finance system, has called on Congress to maintain the express “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) mandate of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) in any final reform legislation.

MHARR’s testimony stresses that given the fact that the GSEs, after more than a decade, have yet to implement DTS at all with respect to the personal property loans that comprise nearly 80% of the federally-regulated manufactured housing market, even with the express DTS statutory mandate, the elimination of that mandate in any GSE reform legislation, would essentially end any leverage over the GSEs (or a successor organization or facility) to provide secondary market and securitization support for the inherently affordable manufactured housing market.  This would not only have a strongly negative impact on the availability of highly-affordable manufactured homes (with production levels already having significantly declined over the same period), but would constitute an undeserved windfall for the handful of dominant, higher-cost lenders already within the manufactured housing market (affiliated with the corporate conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Corporation), which do not need – or apparently want – government securitization of a broader segment of manufactured housing consumer loans.

Recognizing, however, that Congress may want to take a different approach to DTS – as it did in an earlier, 2013 GSE reform bill that would have created a “Market Access Fund” in the place of DTS and the existing GSE affordable housing goals – MHARR, in its testimony, asks Congress to include specific protections for manufactured housing loans, and manufactured housing personal property loans in particular, in any such provision, based on language developed by MHARR in connection with that earlier bill and incorporated by the Senate in later versions of the bill that it ultimately approved.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.  

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Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Conservatorship Draws Secretary Carson’s Broadside, Plus MH Stock Updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Jimmy Carter Blasts Trump Administration on Affordable Housing, Carter’s Manufactured Home Ties

September 14th, 2018 Comments off

 

PresidentJimmYCarterBlastsTrumpAdminstrationAffordableHousingCartersManufacturedHomeTiesMHProNews600

CNBC reported last week that former President Jimmy Carter took aim at the Trump Administration on the important issue of affordable housing.

 

Low-income housing needs to be raised much higher as a priority for our country,” former President Carter said in a phone interview with Emma Newburger. “That’s the first step toward making people who are now dependent on government assistance, on welfare rolls, to get a good job and have a chance to raise their families and put their kids through school.”

Mr. Carter told CNBC that the Trump Administration is ‘ignoring a national housing crisis,’ and he urged voters to support candidates who promote affordable housing.

 

The Carters, HUD’s Carson, and Manufactured Housing

CNBC’s Newburger told MHProNews that the “topic [of manufactured housing] didn’t come up in the interview” with former President Carter.

By contrast, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was asked to respond to former President Carter’s broadside, a HUD spokesperson offered to MHProNews the very specific answer of Secretary Carson’s strong statement of support for manufactured housing.

The HUD spokesperson who replied to the Daily Business News on MHProNews was one that has not previously spoken or messaged with MHProNews. Her reply for HUD is all-the-more interesting to investors and businesses in manufactured housing (MH) who read the tea leaves that may signal what direction the agency will take when their regulatory comments review are completed, later this year.

Those comments the spokesperson sent from Secretary Carson were previously published by the Daily Business News, and are found on HUD’s website here, or at the article with some commentary linked below.

“A New Era of Cooperation and Coordination,” is Promised by HUD Secretary Carson, Saying “I Hear You”

Mr. Carter is a prominent supporter of Habitat for Humanity. An informed source in Carter’s home state of Georgia told MHProNews that Habitat rarely uses manufactured homes, preferring to get “free labor” from those who are putting their “sweat equity” into the house that they help build. That keeps Habitat’s construction costs low.

In Habitat’s view, per our source, this combination of factors creates a greater tie of the Habitat dwelling buyer to their home and mortgage payments.

However admirable Habitat is, it obviously only scratches the surface of our nation’s affordable housing needs.  Their own data shows that the majority of their work is done in other countries, instead of here in the U.S.

HabitatForHumanityManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It’s noteworthy that a Google search of former President Carter reveals no obvious criticism by him of the Obama Administration over their handling of affordable housing efforts.  By comparison, even some progressives criticized former President Obama for his perceived missteps at HUD regarding affordable housing. One such critique was about Shaun Donovan’s selection by former President Obama, and that source viewed Donavan as a Clinton Administration ally throwback.

So why did Mr. Carter give former President Obama a pass for 8 years, when the rate of home ownership dropped?

HomeOwnershipRatesUSCensusBureauDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Where was Mr. Carter on the issue of rising rents during the Obama Administration?

USCensusBureauMedianAskingRentDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Or why didn’t the former president from Plains, GA not critique Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy, debts, and deficits? During the Obama era, rental rates continued to rise. Regulatory policies during the 44th president’s term in office constrained or even crushed small businesses by the thousands, while large companies recovered and grew.  Manufactured housing has slowly recovered during the Obama years, due in part to regulatory overreaches.

MedianAskingSalesPriceVacantExistingSalesUnits1995to2018ManufacturedHOusingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Details further below will outline factors that began during the Carter Administration years, which culminated in some of the housing and mortgage issues of our era. See further below.

MedianHouseholdIncome2016NARManufacturedHomeOwnersVsRentersDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Yet, in an apparently partisan Democratic Party fashion, Mr. Carter’s recent blast wasn’t aimed at former President Obama for the erosion in home ownership rates.  The peanut farmer turned president from Plains didn’t take at rising rents under former President Obama. Instead, Mr. Carter attacks President Donald J. Trump?

The Trump Administration has only been in office for about 20 months.  Dozens of the 45th president’s nominees have been slow-walked by Democrats in the Senate.

Ironically, the rate of home ownership and the economy are both improving at a significant clip since Mr. Trump won the election.  So where’s the logic of Mr. Carter’s claims? CNBC apparently failed to ask – or did not report it if they did – insights into any of these salient questions.

Perhaps equally interesting is the following issue and related question.

The federal manufactured housing construction and safety standards administered by HUD had their first full year in effect during President Carter’s Administration.

Figure1MobileManufacturedHomeSalesSHipmentsVsExistingingNewHouseSalesManufacturedHousingiinudstryDataMHProNews

There were certainly many factors that contributed to the steep drop in sales of mobile homes from their peaks in 1973 and 1974. When the HUD Code kicked in and manufactured housing was ‘born’, sales levels stayed fairly low during the Carter years. They went up modestly during the Reagan Administration era.

Mr. Carter’s colorful younger brother Billy served two different independent HUD Code manufactured home builders in high visibility roles for several years in the 1980s.

So why didn’t actively-retired President Carter do more to promote manufactured homes as an affordable housing solution? Or why hasn’t Mr. Carter done more to elevate manufactured homes as an obvious and proven free market solution to affordable housing since he left office?

After all, Mr. Carter can’t claim ignorance of the topic. The former president’s home state was at one time a top-tier manufactured home producer.

So, why did HUD Code manufactured home shipments nose-dive relative to the end of the mobile home era timeframe compared to the Carter years?  By contrast, as Daily Business News on MHProNews has reported, both prior Presidents Nixon and Ford each promoted “mobile homes” as an important part of the U.S. affordable housing mix.

Help Others “Get It” – Loans on “Mobile Homes” Promoted by Another U.S. President

The photo below was provided to MHProNews by ScotBilt Homes, which has produced manufactured homes in GA for many years. Left-to-right in the photo are Sam Scott, Judy Cazel, President Jimmy Carter, his brother Billy Carter, and Jim Cazel, the pilot of the aircraft they are standing by.

SamScottJudyCazelPresidentJimmyCarterBrotherBillyCarterJimCazelManufacturedHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

 

The Reaction to former President Carter’s Comments From Washington, D.C.

There is no widely published comments to be found from a Google search (see downloadable screen capture) from the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) regarding the recent comments by former President Carter.

But the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) weighed in on the conventional comments by Mr. Carter in a nuanced comment as follows.

While Secretary Carson as we noted in a recent article has said the right things about the need to eliminate exclusionary zoning, there is much more that HUD could do to support consumer financing for affordable housing, most particularly chattel financing for manufactured homes,” said Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR to MHProNews.

Weiss and MHARR members are on record encouraging more lending from the FHA, while acknowledging the progress made to date during the Trump Administration.

It should be noted that MHARR has no PAC, by design, but MHI does. MHARR has praised the Trump Administration, as has MHI.

 

“Move, Open, Live” De Rose Industries & Senator Thom Tillis’ Mobile Home Comments

But a key distinction between the two trade groups on this issue is that MHI put two paid pro-Clinton speakers on stage in their pre-election Chicago event, a claim MHI has never opted to deny or try to explain.  The mainstream headline below is one of several that document that Berkshire’s chairman backed the party that favored heavy regulations. Why?

IBTInternationalBusinessTimesWarrenBuffettHillaryClintonDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

MHI’s primary “big boy” member is Berkshire Hathaway owned Clayton Homes and their affiliated lenders, 21st Mortgage Corp and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. Kevin Clayton is seen with former President Bill Clinton in the disastrous post-Haitian earthquake “recovery” effort photo and linked report below, that dives into those alleged scandals.

“Toxic Trailers” – Clayton Homes, Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clintons – Exposé Videos

Warren Buffett campaigned for Secretary Hillary Clinton against Mr. Trump in 2016, saying on several occasions, that Buffett believed in her policies.  As MHI award-winner – and periodic MHI critic – Marty Lavin has said, “Pay more attention to what people do than what they say,” and “Follow the money.”

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

 

Forbes’ John Moratta Weighed In on Carter to Obama Era

But there’s other issues that need to be raised, one of which a Forbes Contributor David John Marotta examined. In 2012, Marotta argued that the entire contest between Democratic candidate and incumbent, President Barack Obama vs. GOP nominee, former Governor Mitt Romney should come down to a single subject.

It’s one that directly relates to affordable housing, manufactured homes, the U.S. economy, and the future direction of America.

The Forbes headline was, “The Election Should Be Settled by a Single Question: Who Caused the Financial Crisis?”

ForbesElectionSettleSingleQuestionWhoCausedFinancialCrisisDailyBusinessNewsMHprOnews

Two key paragraphs by Marotta on the subject framed by the headline above read as follows.

“…It all began with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 under President Jimmy Carter. Its goal was to reduce discrimination against people in low-income neighborhoods by FDIC banks. The law did not provide any criteria for equal process. Thus any bank whose lending results were called into question could be challenged. And banks needed regulators to approve their actions.

DavidJohnMarottaForbesContributorDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews300The CRA increased the oversight of financial institutions and empowered organizations such as the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN). Obama’s work as a community organizer included working as ACORN’s attorney suing banks in Illinois.”

Skipping further into his column, the following extended quotes from Marotta said, “In the last election campaign, it was vehemently denied that Obama had been an ACORN trainer until the New York Times uncovered records demonstrating he was.”

Now Democratic New York Governor “Andrew Cuomo was the assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and then secretary under President Bill Clinton from 1993 through 2001. Cuomo created 800 new HUD employees who were paid as much as $100,000 to fight against abolition of the agency. These community builders, as they were called, worked with local groups to lobby against tax cuts and to aid Democratic candidates.

Under Cuomo’s leadership in 1998, HUD forced banks in Texas to lend $2.1 billion in affirmative action loans with a higher risk and higher default rate.”

President Clinton touted these supposed achievements. “In 1998 he boasted,In the 20-year history of the Community Investment Act, 85 percent-plus the money loaned out under it to poor inner-city neighborhoods has been loaned in the five years since I’ve been president.”

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were on the path to disaster. Now Obama blames deregulation under the Bush administration for the financial meltdown, but there was none.

After Clinton, George W. Bush and Republicans tried to tighten up lending standards for which they were demonized by the Democrats. These efforts were pushed unsuccessfully throughout the Bush administration starting in April 2001. 

Ranking Democrats Barney Frank and Charles Schumer led their party to block these efforts in the fall of 2003. Frank made light of Republican concerns. He said, “I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disaster scenarios. And even if there were a problem, the federal government doesn’t bail them out. But the more pressure there is there, then the less we see in terms of affordable housing.”

Those points in Forbes are ones MHProNews has raised several times over the years –  including, but not limited to – by previously sharing the video posted below.

 

It should also be noted that former President Bill Clinton himself acknowledged that, “The responsibility the Democrats do have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was president to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

Let’s let all of the above sink in for a few moments.

That should not imply that several Republicans weren’t also complicit in the housing/lending issues in the run-up to 2008, because Fannie and Freddie were donating to candidates on both sides of the aisle.

But more influence buying cash went to Democrats. Politico reported that the GSEs spent a stunning $200 million dollars in campaign contributions, see the screen capture below.

2008GSEsFannieFreddieGaveDemocratsMorePrior2008FinancialMeltdownDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

So it seems more than ironic that former Democratic Presidents Carter, Obama, and the Clintons now gleefully point a public finger at President Donald J. Trump. But the evidence and factual reality is that those Democratic leaders are guilty of blatant hypocrisy. They and their party bear a significant degree of responsibility for the economic turmoil, starting in the Carter years, during the Clinton Administration, as well as the run up and through the Obama Administration eras.

Big government solutions, the ones more commonly proposed by Democrats, have proven for 50 plus year not to work.

UCDavisUnitedStatesPovertyRateSince1959to2015DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

It’s federal government policy that turned toward more subsidized conventional housing, which has never kept up with the needs in over 50 years.  Manufactured homes, or the mobile home era before the HUD Code existed, were the free enterprise solution that have proven to be as “amazing” as HUD Secretary Carson said in Senate testimony earlier this year.

 

 

Summing Up the View from MHVille

There is little doubt that members of both major parties have over the years made their respective errors, along with efforts to spin or cover up those mistakes.

But there’s plenty of evidence that former Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama – along with Democratic allies in Congress – fostered the conditions that have undermined manufactured housing, and hurt the economy at several times, and in often severe ways.

As industry investors, professionals, and all others ponder their support and votes in the upcoming midterms, it’s vital to consider the issues noted above.

Democrats and disaster-capitalists have long ties. Mr. Buffett and Kevin Clayton’s connections to top Democrats ought to be weighed by all those who care about the issue of affordable housing and manufactured homes role in that effort.

As a disclaimer, while the publishers of MHProNews are political independents, this writer published an article that supported then candidate Trump during the Republican primaries in 2016. That article was republished by the Trump campaign on their website, as the screen captured image below reflects.

12ReasonsEducatedIranianAmericanWomanSupportsDonaldTrumpPostedMastheadBlogMHProNews954x846

While the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) paid for two pro-Clinton speakers in the closing days before the 2016 election, the Kovach family supported Donald J. Trump’s candidacy as the best for the industry, small business and hundreds of millions of Americans. One of those stories ended up on the president’s campaign website, and hundreds of conservative and pro-Trump websites.

Resistance Democrats, and some Republicans too, have caught to slow or stop the reforms that former Democrat turned Republican Donald J. Trump has sought to bring to the U.S. in economic and foreign policies. Those who claimed that Mr. Trump could never win were proved wrong.

Some of those same voices are shouting daily now that Democrats will carry the House, and maybe even the Senate in a supposed “blue wave.” It is a “knife fight,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said.

But the races are close. And the polling touted in 2018 has some of the same problems that 2016 polling had.  It is every bit as likely, perhaps more likely given consumer and business confidence levels, that a “red wave” is coming.

President Trump is taking over the GOP, and is transforming it into a pro-worker and pro-business, pro-growth party.  1/3 of the counties that went for Mr. Obama flipped in 2016 and supported Mr. Trump.

The midterms will be all about turnout. Turnout will be determined by energy and enthusiasm. The economic recovery this time isn’t driven by Federal Reserve monetary easing, or doubling the national debt in just eight years, as occurred during the disastrous Obama Administration years.

We are only now beginning to see details and documents about the level of corruption that occurred at the FBI, DOJ, and perhaps the CIA during the Obama era in the 2016 campaign.

The future of our industry’s growth potential may hang in the balance of a builder-businessman turned politician. President Trump has systematically been keeping his campaign promises.

HUD Secretary Carson’s pressroom spokesperson pointed to his manufactured housing comments as their reply to former President Carter’s controversial, and demonstrably misleading claim made to CNBC.

Yes, MHARR’s president is correct in saying that positive words and the regulatory freeze must be followed by more concreate and positive action.

But the Trump Administration, for all the drama that surrounds it, is keeping their promises to put American jobs, businesses, and our national interests first.  It’s a vast improvement over the presidents of both parties since the days of Democrat turned Republican, President Ronald Reagan.

That’s “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Principle of ‘The Lesser of Two Evils,’ and MHVille’s Future

 

“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case

Clayton Homes’ “Robots” – Automation’s Role in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway’s “Durable Competitive Advantage” in Manufactured Housing

April 24th, 2018 Comments off

RobotsClaytonHomesKeithHoldbrooksPresidentClaytonBuildingGroupLogoManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The opportunity to change our industry’s image is tremendous today.  There’s never been a better time to change it,” says Keith Holdbrooks, President of Clayton Building Group, in a carefully crafted video, posted further below.

 

Robotics and automation are playing a role in that image and the Clayton reality, as will be revealed in this report.

In a release to the Daily Business News, Clayton identified themselves as “a national home builder and Manufactured Housing Institute’s 2017 Manufacturer of the Year…”

Besides changing the “industry’s image,” what Clayton is striving to do is carefully advancing their own image too.

As MHProNews has previously reported, Warren Buffett’s “the Moat” strategy promote the concept of a “durable competitive advantage.”  Readers can finish this column, and later circle back to the in-depth look at Buffett’s thoughts on the issue linked below, or in the Related Reports at the end. Those reveal what Kevin Clayton, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway owned Clayton Homes, has said for years about how to get and keep a durable competitive advantage by using and expanding Buffett’s principle of “the Moat.”

Best Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Competition, and “the Moat” Video Collection

 

Robots and Automation

The soft musical undertones in the video are part of that image crafting, for which Clayton has hired a branding team.  Clayton previously told the Daily Business News via a release that “Clayton Homes has selected Made Movement (Made) to handle strategy, digital experience design and advertising for the brand.” The “Have it Made” campaign, some observers say, promotes the Made agency, as well as Clayton.

Clayton’s recent acquisition of yet another site builder – Brohn Homes of Austin, one of Texas’ largest privately-owned homebuilders – are all part of their drive to “world domination,” as Builder put it, in two different articles.

The key to Clayton’s tech, robotics and automation-fueled offsite-site build business-model bid for world domination of lower-priced new homes,” said Builder, a statement that Clayton’s social media page endorsed by posting it.

 

“World Domination”

About five years ago, leadership called on us to do what it took to make [Berkshire Hathaway unit] Clayton a world class company,” says Rick Boyd, director of operations, working out of the enterprise’s Maryville, Tenn.-based headquarters. “We didn’t know what that was. So we had to define what that meant, and that process gave us three pillars of priority: team member experience, customer experience, and leadership.”

It is interesting to note that in their release, Clayton cited Starbucks and Google as their examples of companies to study and emulate.

Google is drawing fire for being monopolistic, if they’re not already an outright monopoly. Those are the positions governmental actions in Europe and the U.S., as well as civil litigation, are underscoring.  And although Starbuck’s has a history promoting inclusiveness, their president recently publicly apologized for racially insensitive actions at one of his stores. Sound familiar?

Starbucks, Google and Berkshire’s Clayton each arguably have their own moats, in their respective spaces.

ClaytonHomesAutomoationRoboticsLogosManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinesNewsMHProNews

 

Velvet Monopoly?

While the have it made people are crafting one image, another is emerging too, across the left-right media and political divide.

That image is of Warren Buffett being portrayed by some as the creator of a new forms of ‘company stores’ and ‘company towns.’  In those Buffett towns, Berkshire is:

  • earning a few cents a day per households from the sale of Heinz ketchup – with millions of families using their products daily,
  • earns a thousand (+/-) dollars or more annually from millions of GEICO policy holders,
  • wants you to stop at Dairy Queen for Fan Food ®,
  • buy your sweet heart some See’s Candies,
  • and hopes to sell you a home – either through their real estate division, or from their growing footprint of conventional or factory-built homes.

Beneath that velvet glove image they are grooming at Clayton, is another story.  It is told by retailers like “Kevin Carroll, former owner of a Clayton-affiliated dealership in Indiana, as saying that if he steered customers to a Clayton lender, he got “a kickback” in the form of a discount on his business loans. Carroll later went out of business and sued Clayton for fraud, but the case was dismissed,” per Omaha, a Berkshire owned business.

WarrenBuffettMonopolynsiderMonkeyManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Warren Buffett, say critics, is building a new type of “company town.” Like the proverbial slow boiling of the frog in a pot of water, the placid pace nevertheless has an impact over time. Clayton has gone from an large also ran in 2002, prior to Buffett’s takeover in 2003, to some 50 percent of the industry by 2018. Monopoly?

It was part of a response to the controversial Seattle Times reports about Clayton, which opponents of the Clayton/Berkshire/MHI backed Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act used to give a black eye to the essentially the entire industry.

A competitor – a non-MHARR member, that is a MHI member builder – tells MHProNews that Clayton is poised to do even more with robotics.

Because of the new tax law, that senior executive says, Berkshire can pump more money into Clayton.   Indeed, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act recently signed into law by the President includes multiple provisions increasing depreciation,’ says KTLIP. And if that HUD Code builder executive is correct, putting more into automation and robotics could more rapidly be expensed.

The result?

A new kind of durable “moat” competitive advantage will be gained by Clayton over their competitors over time.  Velvet gloves, tossing sharks into the moat’s water, that’s the image that Buffett himself has arguably painted, in his own words.

 

 

Will Trump Administration Reforms Fuel More Completion?

But the new tax law and regulatory roll back will work in more than one way.

PresidentDonaldTrumpHUDSecretaryBenCarsonManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsNew HUD Code builders are entering the manufactured housing (MH) industry in 2018, as a report from Tunica and one in April 2018 underscored.  It must be noted that in a different tax and regulatory environment, these new competitors to Buffett’s/Berkshire’s/Clayton’s dream of ‘world domination’ may not have come into existence before 2017.

If there is a change in the makeup of the House and/or Senate after the 2018 midterms, will Democrat Buffett benefit anew?  Will his hand-picked politicos once again promote heavier regulations?

As MHProNews has reported, a long time MHI member told the Daily Business News that Clayton and the other big companies have ‘figured out how to get smaller companies to pay for what they want, using the Manufactured Housing Institute.’

That too fits the use of non-profits by Berkshire and Clayton.

Berkshire’s Clayton benefits during heavy or lighter regulations.  Are they lifting the industry, as Clayton and their incentivized apologists and paid promoters say?  Or are they slowly killing off competitors, via their slow-motion, sharks-in-their-moat strategy dictates?

IBTInternationalBusinessTimesWarrenBuffettHillaryClintonDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Warren Buffett has said he won’t attack the president. But Buffett has surrogates. Buffett’s son has sought to undermine President Trump, as have others in the Berkshire orbit. Clayton issued a recent press release that claims to support the president’s agenda. But are Kevin, Keith, Tim Williams/21st Mortgage, or Eric Hamilton at VMF – all Berkshire brands – going to go against Buffett’s public positions?

These are questions that Trump Administration officials will have to answer as they examine concerns over monopoly that are being raised about Berkshire’s manufactured housing (MH) brands, with concerns from voices inside and outside of the MH Industry.

Independent producers, retailers, communities, lenders and others in the factory-built home industry will have to answer these questions about the growing Clayton/Berkshire moat too.

What is certain is that Clayton’s market share has been growing.  Yet, per prior reporting, their own percentage of growth in sales year over year is at a slower pace than the industry at large. Is that a kind of indirect proof that their marketing isn’t working quite as planned?  Are they a beatable monopoly?

l_a_tony_kovach__mhlivingnews__creditThere is evidence that suggests that the HUD Code manufactured home industry needs more than great videos, pretty websites, advertorials, and overly-crafted messages,” says award winning industry veteran, L.A. “Tony” Kovach. “Clayton’s videos collectively have millions of views, and they have millions of visits to their website, per sources.  Yet, the Berkshire annual letter says they only sold some 49,000 homes in 2017? There’s a clear disconnect, and that’s one more data point that the MH industry needs to sit up and take notice about.”

Kovach says the need is to get to the root issues that keep the industry from advancing. While MHI promotes Berkshire’s desires, are they ignoring – or undermining – the kind of work that has proven effective in local markets?

Are They Among the Best Advocates for Manufactured Housing and Manufactured Home Living?

As the affordable housing crisis rages, manufactured housing may top 100,000 new home shipments in 2018. When 8.3 million housing units are needed now, isn’t 100,000 homes a big yawn?  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

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Senator Tim Scott, Sec Mnuchin, Politico, Bloomberg on Tax Reform’s Hurdles, Importance

October 18th, 2017 Comments off

SenatorTimScottR-SCHarrisFalknerFoxTaxReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe top 20 percent of the people pay 95 percent of the taxes. The top 10 percent of the people pay 81 percent of the taxes,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Politico.

So when you’re cutting taxes across the board, it’s very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy with tax cuts to the middle class. The math, given how much you are collecting, is just hard to do,” Mnuchin said.

The Daily Business News has been reporting on the push by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) have not taken a public position on tax policy.  informal surveys of industry members suggest that the notion is popular among many industry business owners.

In his interview,” per Bloomberg, “Mnuchin also defended the framework’s call for repeal of the estate tax, which applies to estates worth at least $5.49 million per person.”

 

Why should people have to pay taxes again when they die?” Mnuchin said, per Bloomberg.The Treasury chief gave an “absolute guarantee” that Trump would sign a tax bill by the end of 2017.”

Fox News’ Harris Faulkner interviewed GOP Senator Tim Scott, (R-SC) in the video, below. Scott is seen by many as a rising star in the GOP.

As MHProNews noted in today’s industry market report, “The economy is moving in a healthy direction.  So says Stifel’s Hans Olsen, who gives his 18 to 24 month market projections and insights.”

The update added this pragmatic, cautionary note. “Here on the Daily Business News market report our take is nuanced.  Growth is a natural result of the right policies, and other conditions. If meaningful tax reform gets passed, the market recovery can be sustained, or may accelerate.  Without that, even voices in the Trump Administration admit the markets could turn if the anti-tax reform segments win the battle now underway.”

Among those voices that admit that the markets could sour without passing tax reform?

Steven Mnuchin. See the videos, from across the left-right political divide. “We Provide, You Decide.”  © ## (News, Analysis.)

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Is an Economic Crisis Looming for Seniors? Manufactured Housing Industry Impact?

September 11th, 2017 Comments off
PensionCrisisCreditTheDailyEconomistDailyBusinessNews

Featured image credit, The Daily Economist.

Retirees and those 50 or over make up about half of all manufactured home (MH) buyers, per sources such as Foremost Insurance’s MH industry research.

So the security – or lack thereof – of pension funds could prove important – perhaps even critical – for the industry in markets where pension funds are at risk.

It is one of several problems the new Trump Administration will have to take on, after decades of Democratic and GOP failures to successfully address the issue.

How bad is the problem?

U.S. public pensions lack $3.85 trillion needed to pay the retirement benefits of current and retired workers, per research shared with Financial Times.

SenatorOrrinHatchCreditSenatorOrrinHatchDailyBusinessNews

Senator Orrin Hatch. Image credit, Senator Orrin Hatch.

This [research] further underscores the financial risks of the nation’s public pension crisis and the need to act on smart policies that will help secure retirement programmes for Americans that work for state and local governments,” a spokesperson for Orrin Hatch, chairman of the US Senate finance committee, said.

Not One Fund Balanced?

According to Stanford research, out of 649 pension plans reviewed between July 2014 and June 2015, not a single U.S. city or state was running a budget that was balanced to fund existing pensions.

Joshua Rauh, the author of the study, says that the situation is more difficult for cities such as Chicago, which has unfunded pension liabilities that come out to the equivalent of 19 years-worth of the cities tax revenue.

Greater Chicago, as many land-lease community professionals know, is home to several sizable operations, as well as dozens of “mom and pop” operations.

Other cities facing similar situations include Forth Worth, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Dallas. States like Illinois, New Jersey and Kentucky also ranked poorly in the Stanford study.  Most of these locations have a significant manufactured home community presence, some are in areas where retailer operations are important to independents and the industry.

Zero Hedge recently reported that many Kentucky residents have been retiring early in order to lock-in their pensions as legislature and Governor Matt Bevin discuss making cuts to retirement plans.

DavidSmithCreditKASEKYDailyBusinessNews

David Smith, executive director for the Kentucky Association of State Employees. Image credit, KASEKY.

There are folks that are saying you know what, I don’t care, I’m going to lock in my retirement now and get out while I can and fight it as a retiree if they go and change the retiree benefits,” said David Smith, executive director for the Kentucky Association of State Employees, per the Financial Times.

Pensions, for most government workers whether local, state or federal, are expected to support an individual through retirement.

With around half of manufactured home owners and buyers reportedly at 50 plus – retirees, and nearing retirement – this pension crisis is nothing to ignore for the industry’s professionals.

While it could prove a threat for some professionals current business model, it also could be an

l_a_tony_kovach__mhlivingnews__credit

L. A. “Tony’ Kovach., publisher, MHProNews.com MHLivingNews.com

opportunity in disguise for others who prepare for this,” says publisher and consultant, L. A. ‘Tony” Kovach. “Still, the ideal is for national leaders to come to grips with this issue. That will require enacting a robust pro-growth agenda, combined with prudent action to stabilize fundsOtherwise, there’s not enough money in the system today to fix this issue.”

A government with a serious pension funding problem is like a ship trying to sail with its anchor stuck in the mud.” said Ed Bachrach, chairman of the Centre for Pension Integrity, an organization that studies public pension plans. ## (News, analysis.)

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Does the Government have a “Problem with Overspending” Tax Dollars?

September 5th, 2017 Comments off
TaxBreaksReformGovernmentOverspendingCreditCPAPracticeAdvisorDBN

Featured image credit, CPAPracticeAdvisor.

The federal government does not suffer from a lack of revenue; it has a problem with overspending our hard-earned tax dollars,” per an Op-Ed in The Hill contributed by Jonathan Williams and Alfredo Ortiz.

Jonathan Williams is the chief economist at the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Alfredo Ortiz is the president and CEO of Job Creators Network.

In the op-ed that the above quote comes from, Williams and Ortiz are encouraging Republicans to pass the tax reform that President Trump has been promising. They propose that Republicans pass a bill that would address tax breaks for small businesses and middle-class workers, without making big spending cuts as well.

The president is determined to energize the American economy, especially with the necessary tax cuts for job creators – small businesses all across the country who create 70 percent of all new jobs,” Ortiz said in a statement, per Newsmax.

AlfredoOrtizCreditAmericanLegislativeExchangeCouncilDailyBusinessNews

Image credit, American Legislative Exchange Council.

Job Creators Network will be very vocal and supportive over the coming weeks and months in an all-out effort to ensure small businesses and the country’s hard-working taxpayers get the help they’ve been asking for over so many years.”

Williams and Ortiz suggest that rather than going with a tax reform plan that is based off revenue neutrality, that there would be more success in a plan that was aimed towards deficit neutrality instead.

Revenue Neutrality Vs. Deficit Neutrality

If policymakers adhere to the false revenue neutrality notion that all tax cuts must be matched, dollar for dollar with tax increases so that total revenue stays the same, they create far too many economic losers in the tax reform process and minimize the benefits to the economy. Numerous well-intentioned tax reform efforts have succumbed to that fate,” per The Hill.

They went on to point out that, “Deficit neutral tax changes provide real tax cuts for hardworking taxpayers, and by nature, bring discipline to the spending side of the ledger.”

JonathanWilliamsCreditAmericanLegislativeExchangeCouncilDailyBusinessNews

Image credit, American Legislative Exchange Council.

Advocates of big government will say some federal tax burdens should be increased as a part of “tax reform,” Williams and Ortiz wrote.

However, they go on to point out that academic evidence says otherwise, and that the U.S. Treasury reported that in the first 10 fiscal months of 2017 the federal government collected more than $1.3 trillion.

Fiscal hawks should also be reminded of the fiscal benefits of tax cuts. Keeping more money in communities to be spent on Main Streets and less money shipped off to Washington to be spent on the federal workforce would be a massive economic stimulus.”

They go on to cite a nationwide poll conducted by Job Creators Network, which found that owners of small businesses would use their tax savings to

  • Raise wages,
  • Hire new employees,
  • Or expand their business.

Overall, the economic boost from those tax cuts would end up providing more revenue for the government in the long-run.  That was the case with Democratic President John F. Kennedy’s tax cuts, as well as Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Growing the Public Call for Tax Reform

Job Creators Network is one of the largest grassroots, pro-jobs organizations in the country. They have partnered with Freedom Works for a two weeks-long bus tour as a part of their “Tax Cuts Now” tour, per Breitbart.

During the tour, the goal is to encourage Americans to sign the organizations petition. Signing the petition sends a pre-written letter to Congress, asking them for meaningful tax reform.

Are Republicans Running Out of Time?

GingrichAndersonCreditWikipediaDealerscopeDailyBusinessNews

Newt Gingrich and Brad Anderson. Image credits, Wikipedia, Dealerscope, MHProNews.

To regain their legislative momentum and keep their majority, Republicans must clearly demonstrate they are fighting for the country’s hardworking taxpayers. This means passing a major tax cut by Thanksgiving — and making it retroactive to the start of this year,” per a USA Today op-ed by Newt Gingrich and Brad Anderson.

Gingrich is a former speaker of the House, and Anderson is the former CEO of Best Buy and a current member of the Job Creators Network.

Their belief is that if Republicans want to keep control of Congress they absolutely must pass a meaningful piece of legislation that benefits American workers before Thanksgiving this year – with the suggested bill being one on tax reform.

Republicans must get on the offensive now and argue not only that hardworking taxpayers deserve a tax cut but also that tax cuts need only be deficit neutral, not revenue neutral, in order to preempt the inevitable attack from the Congressional Budget Office,” Williams and Ortiz wrote.

Tax reform has been a hot topic again in recent weeks. Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Ryan suggested simplifying tax codes and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit in order to boost the economy.

There has been even more talk of tax reform since President Trump’s speech in Missouri where he said that he “doesn’t want to be disappointed by Congress.”

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) has been calling on tax reform that would benefit small businesses and entrepreneurs for a long time.

Many NFIB members are manufactured housing professionals who understand how simplifying the tax code and reducing the amount paid into taxes will benefit both businesses and consumers.

VPMikePenceNFIBPresidentJunaittaDugganSmallBusinessConfidence

Small business owners and entrepreneurs confidence has been starting to fade with the lack of action on repeal and replace of ObamaCare, the Daily Business News previously reported. Passing a beneficial tax reform bill would certainly be a step in the right direction for the Trump Administration – which must wait on action from Congress on this matter.

We are excited by the Trump Administration’s dedication to the small business owner and the American Dream. If we give tax relief to these job creators we can grow the economy and provide opportunity for millions. These small business entrepreneurs can’t wait any longer. They need tax relief now,” Ortiz said. ## (News, analysis.)

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Labor Day Origins, U.S. Income and Job Growth, is the Trump Administration’s plan working?

September 4th, 2017 Comments off
LaborDay2017CreditPixabayDailyBusinessNews

Featured image credits, MHProNews/Pixabay.

Over the years holidays change, and some can tend to lose their original meaning.

For Labor Day, the holiday was meant to recognize the working class.  While that meaning isn’t forgotten, today the holiday has become a marker for the transition from the summer into fall.

Millions today enjoy BBQs, swimming, or other ways of celebrating the end of the summer months. Meanwhile, millions of others will work today. In that dichotomy, some see wisdom in taking a few moments to remember why the holiday was created in the first place.

To celebrate the average worker and his contribution to society.

Labor Day Origins

The first ever Labor Day celebration on record, per the U.S. Census Bureau, was likely September 5, 1882. On that day, around 10,000 workers in New York gathered for a parade.

Over the next couple years, similar celebrations popped up throughout the nation.

It was 1894 that then President Grover Cleveland signed the bill officially designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

The problem with declaring a single “founder” of Labor Day is that, at the time, no one realized that a new national holiday was being born. It was only after the fact that people tried to pinpoint a single founding father,” said Linda Stinson, a former U.S. Department of Labor’s historian, per AL.

So the historical conundrum seems to hinge on the fact that the two names sound alike and were probably mixed up in the common consciousness. Toss in the years of bitter rivalry between the American Federation of Labor and the Knights of Labor and, of course, you’re going to have multiple heroes emerging in the legend of Labor Day.”

An Overview of U.S. Labor Statistics

The unemployment rate in the United States, as of August 2017, is 4.4 percent, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This number has remained stable since April, at 4.3-4.4 percent each month as we reach what some economists are calling “full employment.”

UnemploymentRateUSAugust15to17CreditUSBLSDailyBusinessNews

Unemployment rates in the U.S. from August 2015 to August 2017. Image credit, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You can download the full report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics here.

Over the last few years the unemployment rates have continued to drop. Now, incomes are finally starting to rise as well.

You can download the “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015” report from the U.S. Census Bureau here.

IncomeandPovertyCreditUSCensusBureauDailyBusinessNews

Click the image above to download the Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Image credit, U.S. Census Bureau.

More recently, a report from Sentier Research says that annual household incomes have increased to $59,361 as of April 2017.

This is up 2 percent from January, and a record-high since February of 2002.

There is debate over whether this is just the economy finally leveling out again after the recession, or if this points to positive impacts of the Trump Administration since the inauguration in January, per Investors.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 159.8 million people age 16 and older currently make up the U.S. workforce, as of May 2017.

How These Statistics Apply to the Manufactured Housing Industry

OccupationsMostEmployeesCreditALDailyBusinessNews

Image credit, AL.

Many of the occupations on the list to the left are being served by professionals in the manufactured housing (MH) industry. Some of those retail sales people also sell manufactured homes.

Other occupations found within the industry include customer service reps, general and operations managers, general laborers, administrative assistants and more.

Another important note for industry professionals, is that with income growth will come more people looking to buy homes.

For families making under the median income, who have still seen increases in their annual income, manufactured homes are the ideal option for quality and affordability.

With the proper local promotion of the benefits of manufactured homes – especially as news about FEMA, HUD and others rushing to get Hurricane Harvey survivors out of shelters and into homes – many more might look towards the more affordable and durable option for housing.

Is the Trump Administration Improving the Job Markets?

President Trump, during his campaign, promised that he would create more jobs than any other president.

So far, there have been over a million jobs created since Trump took office in January, per Politico.

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Image credit, New York Daily News.

Last week when the Labor department announced that 209,000 jobs were added in July, president tweeted, “Excellent Jobs Numbers just released – and I have only just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!”

Plans the Trump Administration have for increasing jobs and wages in the U.S. include cutting down on illegal immigrants coming into the U.S., loosening restrictions and regulations, tax reform and a repeal-and-replace of ObamaCare, new trade deals and more. This can all have a positive impact on job creation and boosting wages.

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However, just on what the administration has gotten done so far, the economy has already seen improvements, as the Daily Business News has previously reported.

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Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in years – and the nation has nearly reached “full employment.” On top of that, wages are – albeit too slowly for many – on the rise after years of being stagnant.

Happy Labor Day, from MHProNews!  As the markets are closed, their is no stock market report today. ## (News, analysis.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

 

 

 

 

Pew Research Facts Don’t Lie, How Productive has the Trump Administration Really Been?

August 31st, 2017 Comments off
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Featured image credit, Project Management Hacks.

With a lack of resolve on issues such as a “repeal and replace” of ObamaCare, much of the mainstream media makes it appear that the Trump Administration hasn’t done much of anything since January.

However, a new study from Pew Research Center tells a different story all together.

To date, Congress has passed 55 measures that have been signed into law, 46 of which we consider substantive by our deliberately generous criteria – that is, any legislation other than renaming buildings, awarding medals, commemorating historic events or taking other purely ceremonial actions.”

For this study, Pew Research Center counted all bills that received final legislative approval prior to the August recess, even if they were signed into law after the break.

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Image credit, Pew Research Center.

Of the 46 laws which were considered “substantive” there were “14 whose sole purpose was to overturn various rules adopted by the Obama administration, under the 1996 Congressional Review Act.”

The Trump Administration is the first to utilize the Congressional Review Act in this way. Previously, only one law had ever been undone through this procedure since the Act itself became law.

Those 14 resolutions of disapproval account for about 30% of the substantive laws, and a quarter of all the laws, enacted so far by this Congress.”

The chart to the right shows that over the years the number of laws enacted by Congress has fluctuated. However, it hit an all-time low since 1987 during the years of the 112th Congress (2011-12) with only 20 laws enacted in total.

The current Congress turns out to be the fifth most productive when it comes to enacting substantive laws – tied with the 110th Congress (2007-08).

While the Pew Research study found that while the Trump Administration might be light on signature legislation – such as repealing and replacing ObamaCare or tax reform – nevertheless, there are things happening in Congress.

TrumponomicsFirst6Months9ChartsDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

The Daily Business News has previously reported on how the economy is responding to the new administration in the first six months.

While Congress continues to debate over key issues like healthcare and tax reform, it’s untrue to say that they haven’t accomplished anything. Rather, this year Congress has been more productive than it has been in nearly a decade. Still, public polling shows Congressional approval just a fraction of what the president’s is. ## (News, analysis.)

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JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

 

 

 

 

MHARR, MHI Statements on HUD’s Frost Free IB Rule

August 18th, 2017 Comments off
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Featured image credit, MHARR, MHProNews.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is calling for the withdrawal of a proposed “Interpretive Bulletin” (IB) regarding “frost free” manufactured home foundations.

The IB violates multiple provisions of the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974. It also violates HUD’s own regulations and regulatory reform policies of President Trump, the MHARR said.

The HUD proposed ‘frost-free’ IB, at best, is a purported solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist,” Mark Weiss, MHARR President and CEO, stated in a press release to MHProNews.

“At worst, it represents indefensible regulatory overkill that will needlessly harm Americans and American small businesses, while it simultaneously seeks to illegitimately divest the role and authority of state governments with respect to the installation of manufactured homes.” Weiss said.

In either case, it should be resoundingly rejected by the Trump Administration and Secretary Carson.” Weiss stated.

MarkWeissManufacturedHousingAssociationForRegulatoryReformMHARRPresidentCEOMHProNewsMHARR pointed to the American Action Forum (AAF) report finding “that federal rulemaking and the imposition of new federal regulatory burdens on American businesses and consumers has fallen to record-low levels during the first six months of the administration of President Donald J. Trump.

MHARR

As regular Daily Business News readers know, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association. They represent the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

While they do not claim to be an umbrella organization, they have in recent years become more involved in finance, community and retail related issues, because – as they put it – of the failure of the industry’s “post-production” sector to properly address such matters.

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Lesli Gooch. Credit: MHI.

On the surface, MHARR and MHI’s position (click here) on this issue look similar. But unlike Lesli Gooch, Senior VP at MHI, Weiss goes to the heart of the matter. Without changing HUD program director Pam Danner, Weiss says, no changes will take place in the manufactured home program. See a prior report, with Gooch’s comments and Weiss’ sparks flying, linked here.

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Image credits, MHProNews/Pixabay.

Sources tell MHProNews that MHI has communicated to some state executives that the door is closed on the removal of Danner topic.

Not so for MHARR.

Weiss’ statement said, “the HUD manufactured housing program, under its current Administrator, continues to churn out reams of new unnecessary and unnecessarily-costly de facto regulatory mandates, including its proposed “frost-free” IB, designated “I-1-17.”

As MHARR’s comments demonstrate, the proposed IB is not, in fact, an “interpretation” of HUD’s existing standards at all, but rather, a disingenuous manipulation of the IB process to substantively alter the existing regulations – and impose costly new requirements on consumers and thousands of smaller industry businesses.

The MHARR goes on to point out that there is “no evidence whatsoever of systemic problems with “frost-free” manufactured housing foundations designed for – and used – in “freezing climates” under the existing HUD installation standards for homes.

Instead, they suggest that “the proposed IB is part of a broader pattern of action by the current administrator – an Obama Administration holdover parachuted into the HUD program nearly four years ago — which has substantially intensified the scope, extent, compliance burdens and costs of needless federal regulation on consumers and the industry, to the ultimate benefit of program contractors and industry competitors.”

Based on these violations of applicable law, HUD regulations and Trump Administration policy, MHARR’s comments call on HUD to withdraw the proposed IB.”

The entire MHARR release is linked here.  The MHARR comments letter on the frost free IB proposal, is linked here. ## (News, anlysis.)

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JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to Daily Business News for MHProNews.