The Big Apple Is a Big Banana Republic

Don’t be fooled by how pretty New York City gets in autumn. The so-called Big Apple is really just another banana republic. (In fact, the term “Banana Republic” even if justified in different places, was probably coined as a term to divert attention from the fact that governments in cooler zones can be just as corrupt.) It is run by rich politicians attacking and shaking down those who don’t have power for the sake of even richer sponsors who own the politicians.

In one recent example, the Mayor Bloomberg’s administration has filed suit against what the Wall Street Journal calls “what is believed to be the largest operator of illegal hotels in New York City.”

Illegal hotels? The very fact that there is such a thing in New York City tells you that the metro area is a pit of cronyism, protectionism, and political corruption.

People need to be protected from robbers and burglars (whether they are elected into office or not). That is what the government is for. While I have no hope of seeing this done right in my lifetime, the government should also protect society from the moral degeneracy of prostitution, sexual predation—despite libertarian ideology about victimless crimes. Of course, Michael Bloomberg isn’t content to just live and let live in that area. He actively campaigns against the real family. After dropping a quarter-million dollars to fight for “gay marriage” in Maryland, he gave another half-million to fight for the redefinition in Maine, Minnesota, and Washington State.

But don’t worry. This poster child for “the one percent” is on the job being diligent to protect New York residents and visitors from those dangerous and evil “illegal hotels.”

Of course, the state is claiming all sorts of complaints have been filed, but that hardly constitutes proof of anything. Furthermore, I have had plenty of horrible experiences in “legal hotels” involving used sheets and other problems. Where is the evidence that people are given ways to complain about all hotels and not just the ones that the state deems “illegal”? From what we see in the Wall Street Journal story it looks as if these “illegal” hotels have been targeted from the beginning so that the results are targeted at them and not at “legal” hotels.

Has any effort been made to calculate the cost of the nearest “legal” hotel and ask if the complainer would have been happy to pay to price difference to stay there?  Do the owners of the company now being sued have any means of identifying or cross examining the witnesses who are being used against them?

Weirdly, the Bloomberg Administration is claiming that the hotel rooms were “unsafe.” But the reasons the rooms were “illegal” is because they were in normal residential apartments in the city. So does this mean that “legal” apartments are all unsafe?

What is actually going on is pure shakedown. Bloomberg doesn’t want to protect anyone except older, more expensive hotels. This is about shaking down consumers. It is effectively a way of taxing tourists. Economist Robert Wenzel said it well:

“What’s really going on here is that the two firms are competing with establishment hotels and providing cheaper rates. Bloomberg is creating a moat around the crony establishment NYC hotel industry that will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for operators like Smart Apartments to provide cut-rate hotel prices in a city with extremely high hotel rates.”

 Personally, I’m curious if any other the owners of the “legal hotels” have recently made contributions to Bloomberg’s superpac, which he plans to use to make sure a chosen successor gets into office.