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Affordable Housing and Financial Common Sense – Good Policies and Economics Consist of Considering Immediate and Long Term Effects for All, Not Just Some Favored Group(s) – Hazlitt, Bastiat

The art of [good] economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” – Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson.

What is true for honest individuals should also be true for a good government.

In a complex world, it can be useful to look at simple, basic, and timely concepts. Numbers of Americans in general, and manufactured home owners more specifically, feel that they are being abused by powerful forces that they think that they have little or no control over.  This report and analysis will explore that, because knowledge is power. There is more that could be done, if the causes and cures are understood.

With that in mind, let’s turn to someone that Hazlitt said inspired his thinking.

 

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

– Frédéric Bastiat, a member of the French National Assembly, in The Law, per GoodReads.

 

Each of us has a natural right, from God, to defend his person, his liberty, and his property.”

– Frédéric Bastiat.

 

Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”
– Frederic Bastiat, The Law

 

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
– Frédéric Bastiat

 

Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.”

– Frédéric Bastiat.

 

If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?”

– Frederic Bastiat, The Law

 

Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism – including, of course, legal despotism?”
– Frédéric Bastiat

 

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”
– Frederic Bastiat, The Law

 

When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”
– Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

 

When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.”

– Frédéric Bastiat

 

In short, is not liberty the freedom of every person to make full use of his faculties, so long as he does not harm other persons while doing so?”

– Frederic Bastiat, The Law

 

As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose–that it may violate property instead of protecting it–then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder.”
– Frederic Bastiat, The Law

 

A proper role of good government should be to protect the rights of honest citizens. This could be accomplished by seeking to deter and stop those who would strip the rights of honest citizens by any unethical, immoral presumably illegal means.

The new deep dive into examining decades of U.S. housing policy could be summed up like this.

  • There are dozens of nations with lower average annual earnings that have higher average rates of homeownership than the U.S.
  • During both Democratic and Republican administrations, decades of federal policies have time and again identified the same basic set of problems.
  • The obvious solutions to those basic problems were identified decades ago too.
  • The status quo enriches a few who effectively control the government at great expense to the many.
  • The evidence and details of the problems and solutions are found in the deep dive found in the report linked below.

 

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Trillions of dollars have been spent by the federal government to supposedly help the poor and disadvantaged.

But approaching 60 years after those policies were put in place, the poverty rate is largely the same. Meanwhile, the concentration of wealth in the hands of an economic and politically connected elite has risen. Those facts are clues as to what is actually occurring as opposed to what so many politicians and the wealthy that help put them into office say that are doing.

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During both Democratic and Republican administrations, despite claims by both that they desire to see more home ownership, the overall rate in the U.S. is lower today than in 2000. This is but one of several possible examples of why failure to implement the 2000 Reform law matters. https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/whistleblower-hud-nominee-marcia-fudge-senators-collusion-coordinated-by-manufactured-housing-institute-video-mhi-evidence/

 

Let’s return to Bastiat.

 

Life Is a Gift from God.
We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life — physical, intellectual, and moral life.

But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.

Life, faculties, production–in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it.

Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”
– Frederic Bastiat, The Law

 

Additional Information, more MHLivingNews Reflection and Commentary

A couple of years ago, this writer was at a Lens Crafters getting my glasses adjusted. The woman on the other side of the counter was perhaps 10 years or so younger. I asked her, does she know what TANSTAFL means? She replied, no. “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” = TANSTAFL. That was taught in junior high (middle school) in my day. Try asking others if they are familiar with that basic truth. Many, perhaps most, will not know about it.

The basics are being washed away by a blizzard of information and ideas that is often useless to the majority of Americans. Reading something as basic as this should be done periodically, perhaps once a month. Keep reading other articles. Then, come back to this. You will be surprised as to how often these principles will prove insightful and useful.

 

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But these ideas were penned by Bastiat about 170 years ago. They are timeless. If you think about it, they are similar to the practical effects of the Ten Commandments. If those 10 Commandments were routinely followed, how many laws would be redundant or unnecessary?

  • You shall not steal. That means theft in any form of unjust taking, not just robbery or burglary, but also by fraud or deception.
  • You shall not give false witness (testimony, lie or deceive)
  • You shall not murder (take a life unjustly). Or as Oxford Languages says it, murder is “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.” But what is “lawful” or “unlawful” should be based on Divine truth, not manmade substitutes, even if it is by a majority. Otherwise, something like the extermination of Jews and other minorities by the National Socialists (NAZI party) in Germany under Adolf Hitler’s authoritarian rule can be justified.

It is time to get back to basics.

A key concept of American life in the founding of the country was to stop the monopolization of the financial and political system. That was accomplished by establishing a system of limited federal government.

Broadly speaking there are two types of government. It would be government with limited power and government with unlimited power.

Here is how Sutori expresses it.

QuoteSignSymbol100x156MHLNLimited Governments

Government in which the leaders have LIMITED powers.  They are limited by a Constitution.

Unlimited Governments

Government in which the leaders have UNLIMITED powers.

 

LIMITED GOVERNMENTS: CHARACTERISTICS

  1. Majority rule while protecting the rights of minorities
  2. Protect individual rights
  3. Equality of opportunity
  4. Consent of the governed

 

UNLIMITED GOVERNMENTS: CHARACTERISTICS

  1. Has nothing limiting the power of the government
  2. You do not get the right to vote
  3. Do not get the same amount of freedom that limited government has” ##

 

That may be broadly true. But the right to vote (#2) is not sufficient to limit a government.

The characteristic that makes America’s system – at least on paper – superior to so many nations is that America is NOT a pure democracy. Because the tyranny of a majority is in practice no different than the tyranny of a minority.  In America we have a Republic with democratic features. “Majority rule while protecting the rights of minorities.”

Per ThoughtCo:

QuoteSignSymbol100x156MHLNKey Takeaways: Republic vs. Democracy

  • Republics and democracies both provide a political system in which citizens are represented by elected officials who are sworn to protect their interests.
  • In a pure democracy, laws are made directly by the voting majority leaving the rights of the minority largely unprotected.
  • In a republic, laws are made by representatives chosen by the people and must comply with a constitution that specifically protects the rights of the minority from the will of the majority.
  • The United States, while basically a republic, is best described as a “representative democracy.”

In a republic, an official set of fundamental laws, like the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, prohibits the government from limiting or taking away certain “inalienable” rights of the people, even if that government was freely chosen by a majority of the people. In a pure democracy, the voting majority has almost limitless power over the minority.

 

Pure Democracy Republic
Power Held By The population as a whole Individual citizens
Making Laws A voting majority has almost unlimited power to make laws. Minorities have few protections from the will of the majority. The people elect representatives to make laws according to the constraints of a constitution.
Ruled By The majority. Laws made by elected representatives of the people.
Protection of Rights Rights can be overridden by the will of the majority. A constitution protects the rights of all people from the will of the majority.
Early Examples Athenian democracy in Greece (500 BCE) The Roman Republic (509 BCE)

When the concentration of wealth in America is carefully examined, it is often caused by a benefit that government has directly conferred or allowed to a small group that is not possessed by the population as a whole.

 

Let’s sum up.

  • Government should not be able to do what a private citizen ought not do (i.e. theft or coercion) that limits the God-given rights of the people.
  • Government does not create rights or goods, it must first take them from one or more groups of the people.
  • Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”
    – Frederic Bastiat, The Law
  • When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
    – Frédéric Bastiat

To truly remedy of “fix” what’s gone wrong with a “rigged” system, millions of more Americans have to learn the truth about economics, politics, and what is right or wrong.

To be clear, the principle here is not that being wealthy is automatically bad, nor that having a super-successful company is necessarily wrong. Rather, the issues are more nuanced.

For instance.

  • HOW did a person become wealthy?
  • By what methods did a corporate giant becomes so powerful?
  • Then, once wealthy and powerful, how are they using that in the economic, political, cultural, health, spiritual, or other spheres of influence?

In our manufactured home profession, a clear-cut case can be crafted that answers several of those questions. Some of those will be linked below. But for now, suffice it to say that the case can be made that market manipulation has occurred. That market manipulation is arguably harmful to tens of millions, or more precisely, to hundreds of millions of Americans. That is no exaggeration, the evidence is there.

As part of a White House signing statement, Joe Biden said that “Capitalism without competition is not capitalism.” One does not have to be a Democrat, as Biden is, nor does someone have to spend decades as a Washington D.C. insider, as Biden is, to agree with that evidence that makes that statement demonstrably true. Biden was quite correct in describing the harms caused by a lack of competition.

 

https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/no-kings-in-america-john-sherman-speaks-to-manufactured-housing/

 

The current constitution was actually our second form of federal government. The Articles of Confederation were the first. The original governing documents were deemed insufficient after the early years of practical experience. That led to debates between federalists and anti-federalists. Ultimately, our current constitution and the bill of rights were established.

In order to fix what is wrong broadly these things must occur.

1). The issues must at least be broadly understood.

2). The root causes of those issues should be understood by sufficient numbers of motivated individuals to apply the lawful solutions that exist.

3). Once the issues and possible solutions are understood, then even a reasonably modest number of individuals – by ‘pushing the correct buttons’ – can move public officials to act to enforce the law.

What that critical mass that is needed to move public officials to do what the law already requires is an open question. But time and again in American history, fairly small percentages of people have been able to achieve often significant outcomes. For example, agree or disagree with the right for homosexuals and lesbians to marry in the same sense as heterosexual men and women marry, a tiny minority of the U.S. population nevertheless accomplished their goal.

If they can do it, why not others whose rights are being harmed?

Let’s draw to a close with some a review of some Bastiat quotes, while encouraging readers to re-read this in a day or two and periodically. Because thinkers like Bastiat studied for years to distill down these potent notions. It is fair to say that Bastiat was quite aware of the U.S. revolution and motivations.

Slavery, protection, and monopoly find defenders, not only in those who profit by them, but in those who suffer by them.”
– Frédéric Bastiat

The most urgent necessity is, not that the State should teach, but that it should allow education. All monopolies are detestable, but the worst of all is the monopoly of education.”

– Frédéric BastiatWhat Is Money?

Editor’s Note: this “monopoly of education” principle also applies to a monopoly on information.

There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.”
– Frédéric Bastiat

HowLegalPlunderIdentifiedSeeIfLawBenefitsOneCitizenAtExpenseAnotherDoingWhatCitizenCantDoWithoutBreakingLawFredericBastiatTheLawPixabayGraphicStockMHLivingNews
Image and collage credits, MHLivingNews/GraphicStock.

 

Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve… But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn’t belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay – No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic.”
– Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

The problem with America today can be summed up like this. What is supposed to be a limited government that is focused on protecting the rights of even ‘the weak’ against that of ‘the strong,’ has been steadily subverted over time. But the good news is that the solution already exists in constitutional law and in statutory laws too. In a follow up to this report, specific examples will be provided that will relate to the broader American picture as well as the ways that it matters for affordable housing and manufactured home owners, seekers, and advocates.

Or as Hazlitt summed it up:

The art of [good] economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” – Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson.  With respect to that one liner, Amen.

Until next time… ##

###

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We lay out the facts and insights that others are too lazy, agenda-driven, or otherwise uninformed to do. That’s what makes our sister site and this location the runaway leaders for authentic information about affordable housing in general, the politics behind the problems, and manufactured homes specifically. That’s a wrap on this installment of “News through the lens of  manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)

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All on Capitol Hill were welcoming and interested in the discussion of manufactured housing-related issues in our 12.3.2019 meetings. But Texas Congressman Al Green’s office was tremendous in their hospitality. Our son’s hand is on a package that included a copy of the Constitution of the United States and other goodies. MHProNews has worked with people and politicos across the left-right divide.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.

Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.

http://latonykovach.com

Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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