I was in a Chicago suburb last week, heading into our radio station, WCGO (1590 on your radio dial. How’s that for a shameless plug?), when I heard on a competitor that Rahm Emanuel (“never let a serious crisis go to waste…”) had declared war on Airbnb.
If you don’t travel a lot, Airbnb is a web site which matches travelers with people who want to rent rooms in their houses–or their whole house.
It’s a lot like Uber in that it pairs willing buyers with willing sellers and facilitates the transactions.
As luck would have it, I was staying in an Airbnb rental in Evanston because I had a sackful of a certain high-priced hotel with two trees in the logo in a nearby suburb and have no problem staying with a willing host for one third the price.
Rambo doesn’t like the idea of anybody making some money without his taxes and regulations in the middle. Or, to quote Ronald Wilson Reagan:
“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
He said that at a White House conference on, get this, small business, almost 30 years ago.
Rambo and his ilk…read: Barack, Hillary and every other liberal member of the Democrat party who has ever pushed a government to the bring of bankruptcy…have no clue how regular people think because their American Express bills are paid by us, the taxpayers. WE are THEIR ATM.
But let some little guy try and make a few bucks with his or her hard-won real estate, and he wants more regulations and more money from them for the same reason a dog can lick his genitals…because he can.
While Rambo was doing this, he was also dealing with the fact that the Chicago Public School system is so broke that the State of Illinois—which is just as broke—is considering a hostile takeover, and the words “Chapter 9 bankruptcy” are being whispered in some quarters. He’s also busy dealing with the recently uncovered emails showing that it was his administration which played a large part in covering up the existence of a pretty damning video of a policeman murdering a teen in the street.
But, by God, he’s got time to go after some folks who want to make a little extra money renting out their properties to short-term visitors and taking the attendant risks involved in being in business.
It’s not enough that these folks pay real estate taxes.
It’s not enough that Airbnb clearly says on its own web site:
Guests who book Airbnb listings that are located in the State of Illinois will pay the following taxes as part of their reservation:
Illinois Hotel Operators Occupation Tax: 5.98-6.17% of the listing price including any cleaning fee for reservations 29 nights and shorter. For detailed information, visit tax.Illinois.gov.
Guests who book Airbnb listings that are located in Chicago, IL will pay the following taxes as part of their reservation:
Chicago Hotel Accommodation Tax: 4.5% of the listing price including any cleaning fee for reservations 29 nights and shorter. For detailed information, visitCityofChicago.org.
Other Taxes administered by the State of Illinois: 5.73% of the listing price including any cleaning fee for reservations 29 nights and shorter. For detailed information, visit tax.Illinois.gov.
No, you must first kiss Rambo’s ring or his butt, whichever you see first.
Why do you suppose that is?
Well, perhaps it would be wise for the United States Attorney in Chicago to ask about what might have motivated the city to invest $55-million of taxpayers’ resources in a new Marriott as part of the new DePaul University basketball arena complex. And how one of his top campaign donors, Kenneth Griffin, knew to have his hedge fund, Citadel Advisors, buy lots of Marriott stock in the year leading up to that decision.
It’s possible, of course, that is all purely a coincidence.
It’s also possible that winged pigs will be flying a shuttle between O’Hare airport and Reagan National in Washington. But not likely. Especially in view of the fact that a former top Citadel executive is now Chicago’s comptroller by Rambo’s grace.
No, this is clearly a shot over the bow of any competition for the hotel business in Chicago with which Rambo has a very cozy relationship.
It won’t work.
First of all, Richard J. Daley is no longer with us–and Rambo is no Richard J. Daley.
Secondly, trying to stop companies like Ebay, Uber, Airbnb and other market disrupters is the equivalent of trying to stop a locomotive by standing in front of it.
If those companies don’t run over him, the voters will.
Ask Donald Trump. Trump is where he is because the voters have had enough of the Rambos of the world.