• COMMENTARY: Airbnb – A Liberal Scheme to Not Pay Taxes?

    What is Airbnb? Airbnb is an online marketplace that brings people and places directly together. It allows people to rent short-term lodging straight from the property owner with agreed upon amounts negotiated between them. Airbnb gets a percentage fee from both the renter and hosts. Founded in 2008, it has soared to heights unimaginable in that amount of time, reaching more than 2 million listings in 34,000 cities servicing more than 191 countries. Wow!

    Airbnb is headquartered in San Francisco and is privately owned. The unique venture has skyrocketed to a value of more than $30 Billion. That gives the company a whole lot of weight when it comes time to win friends and influence people in government who might be a threat to your new kingdom.

    What’s wrong with people coming together in an online marketplace? Nothing, unless you are part of the traditional hotel and tourist industry and you are coming under the heavy hand of government. If you own a brick and mortar hotel you pay all kinds of fees, taxes, and must endure inspection requirements. All that puts regular lodging businesses at a significant disadvantage.

    Evading the taxation is an incredible boon to the bottom line of any company. Finding the legal and not so legal ways to do that have been part of American business for generations. Airbnb has enjoyed a virtual “honor system” as far reporting what they want to the government. A complete lack of transparency at Airbnb has some wondering about a sweetheart deals and well connected friends.

    It’s kind of ironic when you find out that Airbnb is a hotbed of liberal Democrat political connections mostly designed to outsmart the crushing weight of a big government on free enterprise. The irony lies in the fact that those liberals now working for Airbnb are some of the very same ones who created the overbearing government in the first place.

    It would be great if we could level the playing field by freeing the brick and mortar hotel industry from the burdens of government, but that is about as likely as running into Frosty the Snowman on the beaches of Cabo! The only other alternative is ensuring that everyone, even Airbnb, is operating under the same rules. At this point, it looks like Airbnb may be getting away with flying under the radar.

    Airbnb has enjoyed incredible success by not playing by the same rules as their direct competition and they have hired powerful people with connections to keep the money spigot flowing. It’s funny how they all seem to be powerful Democrats. Not funny. The word is cronyism.

    Ever wonder where Eric Holder went after that little stint as Obama’s Attorney General? Among other things he was recently hired by Airbnb to navigate the dicey waters of discrimination and formulate their anti-bias policies. It’s all in who you know, or in who you can afford to hire.

    Eric Holder said this about his relationship with President Obama:

    “Our relationship goes beyond him being the president and me being the attorney general…He and I are friends. We discuss issues and share a worldview.”

    The list of powerful democrats now working for Airbnb is rather impressive. Here are just a few.

    David Hartman – Former Chief of Staff for Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) most likely the next Democrat Senatorial Leader. Hartman has also been Airbnb Head of Global Pubic Policy stating, “the company is focused on changing laws it believes are unfair.”

    How convenient to be “in” with the world’s most powerful Dems.

    Jamie Hartman – Wife to David and one of Airbnb’s most influential lobbyists in DC and former special assistant to the President of Legislative Affairs.

    Chris Lehane – Former Bill Clinton advisor and Al Gore campaign manager, also an Airbnb strategist.

    Bill Hyers – Mastermind behind New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio’s campaign and election. He has helped in various capacities with the campaigns of Barack Obama, Charlie Crist in Florida, as well as, Martin O’Malley. He is often cited as one of the most powerful men behind the scenes in liberal politics. He has also become and Airbnb consultant.

    The success of Airbnb has afforded them the ability to hire powerful people to keep their business model going. As legal challenges arise, Airbnb is now situated and ready to play hardball with either the legislators or the courts. They will not give up the cash cow that is their business model

    The best way to beat heavy taxation and the legal consequences of operating a business that is defying state and federal laws may be to hire the very scoundrels who levied the taxes and wrote the laws.

    S.C. Sherman

    Senior Editor

    Steve Sherman is an author, popular radio commentator, and former Iowa House candidate. His articles have appeared nationally in both print and online for Townhall, Human Events, Clash Daily, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Red Alert Politics, Forbes, NRATV and others. All of his novels including his most recent tome, Lone Wolf Canyon, a modern day western that infuriates the left and all "Snowflakes," are available here.

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