Crony Capitalism in Robbinsdale?
July 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm
We’ve talked about it before, noting especially the Crystal Medical Center’s deal with the City of Crystal worth $400,000, but Robbinsdale refuses to be outdone. The Robbinsdale City Council recently agreed to give local hipster joint, Travail, a $300,000 loan to move into a bigger building.
Now, I’m no hipster. I’d rather be getting my fingernails full of dirt and grease than manicured. I’d rather drive a F150 than a Prius. Get me away from high rise condos and lattes in favor of a few acres and home-brewed coffee. I’ve been to Travail, and they have great food. The atmosphere is really fun. The whole staff quit working long enough to sing Bohemian Rhapsody with the restaurant’s in-house music system. How cool is that? Maybe an $80 meal-for-two’s-worth of cool, but that’s pushing it.
So, if $80 worth of hipster street cred is equal to the experience, what about $300,000 of your money? Last time I checked, businesses that want to expand go to the bank for a loan. When did the City of Robbinsdale become a bank? This is a lesson straight from George Bush’s TARP bailouts. Travail is too big (to Robbinsdale) to fail. I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t make sense. You are using the people’s money to help Travail grow. Now, if Travail should fail in their new building…. (say, for example, the new environment loses all its current charm) who pays back the remainder of the loan? You thought this was an acceptable risk? $300,000 is approximately $25 for every man, woman, and child in Robbinsdsale. $25 can’t even get one person a full meal at Travail.
Once again, we see a City coming to aid a single business within its borders. Why give money to Travail and not The Lodge, or Broadway Pizza… or Dairy Queen? When governments prop up certain businesses, it affects those that do well, based on business alone. Crony capitalism is not true capitalism. It’s distorted. It rewards those that provide value to the government, not consumers. This is the system that everyone is sick of, not true capitalism. It is this perverted version of something good that has tempted some to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
If Travail is so sound an investment that this loan was a good idea, why didn’t the Council urge that they approach a bank? If they tried and couldn’t get the cash from a traditional lender, then was it a good idea for the Robbinsdale City Council to finance this? I guess you can chalk this decision up to another thing I’m just not hip with.
Entry filed under: City Government, Robbinsdale.