New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a law placing a fine of up to $7,500 on anyone who uses a home sharing site to advertise a short-term rental apartment — essentially killing the popular operation of Airbnb.
Supporters of the law claim Airbnb is fostering an environment where real estate owners can potentially buy up entire properties and then operate “illegal hotels” by using room-sharing services.
Typical bossy, intrusive, big government, “progressive” leftism. When they don’t like something, they label it “illegal”. If it’s not illegal, “Well, then it should be”. And especially in one-party states like New York, they make it so. Presto, just like that: a business gets wiped off the planet, or at least in the state. (Once Hillary rules in the Imperial City, it will all be national.)
And the rest of us are supposed to say, “Wow, those Airbnb people sure are a bunch of meanies. Thank goodness our government protects us from them.” Where would we be without wise, all-knowing professional political hacks like Andrew Cuomo?
Of course, millions of people have benefitted from and enjoyed the perfectly legitimate use of private property that one of the few innovative businesses of the Obama era produced. I’m willing to bet that a lot of people who vote for politicians like Andrew Cuomo are upset about losing Airbnb as an option when they go to New York City, and perhaps elsewhere if this relentless attack on private enterprise continues.
The problem with this argument is that it simply isn’t true — and couldn’t be according to Airbnb’s own concessions to New York legislators. Over 95 percent of New York Airbnb hosts sharing their whole home for rent advertise no more than one to share. On top of that, Airbnb agreed to enact a rule forcing hosts to advertise only one property for rent.
That wasn’t good enough for Democratic constituencies, thus it wasn’t enough for New York politicians.
Proponents of the legislation claim the law protects the “little guy” and will stop Airbnb from purportedly raising living costs. A large swath of Airbnb hosts are young professionals and millennials who use the sharing service to help them with rent and deal with the high costs of living that comes with residing in New York City. Go figure.
You can be sure that Governor Cuomo is not protecting anyone, other than his own donors and pull-peddlers who secure the only thing he cares about: power. Not unless you consider the “right” of a hotel or other Airbnb competitor to be free of economic risk.
We wonder why politics is so corrupt. This is why. It transcends parties. Democrats are more often guilty of it only because they’re better at it. That isn’t a compliment. It even transcends conservatism and liberalism, because for the most part both sides agree with using the force of government when it suits them. The highest bidder wins. Why? Because government is given power it never should have had, both at the state and national level.
The solution to this matter is the same solution as all other matters: Keep the government the hell out. No, that’s not anarchy. Anarchy would mean violating property rights, tolerating theft and even murder. Look at Black Lives Matter and other “liberation” groups for an example of anarchy. We must have the best government we can muster to fight these things, as well as to uphold private contracts.
Some people claim that they don’t like having a neighbor with a bed and breakfast. It’s kind of like moving into a hotel, they say. But why or how is that a legal issue? When you sign a contract to buy a house, does that contract include a guarantee that you will have certain kinds of neighbors? What if you decided that you only wanted your neighbors to be a member of a certain race? Or gender, or sexual orientation? Would it be proper to pass a law making your preferences the law of the neighborhood? Of course not. It’s not any different here. If you don’t like the fact you live next door to renters, then move. Sell your property. Adjust your attitude. You’re not entitled to anything just because you want it. If you are, then why aren’t Airbnb and their customers entitled to what they want?
You can claim Governor Cuomo upholds the rights of property owners all you want. The fact remains: He’s upholding the unearned “rights” of some property owners at the cost of sacrificing the legitimate rights of other property owners, i.e. those individuals or companies who wish to make a rental/vacation service available. In America, laws are no longer determined by the standards of justice and individual rights; they’re determined by pull.
Keep in mind that Airbnb is a highly successful enterprise. It got that way because it competently and efficiently met the needs of thousands of customers who willingly and gladly pay money for the service. This is something that Governor Cuomo and his ilk never have done, are not capable of, and never will do. It’s these incompetent, low-life power-grabbers to whom we have entrusted our entire civilization.
And we wonder why America is going down the drain.
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