Aviation as a Public Good / Socialism

There is this meme going around of a super rich guy updating a 747 with nearly obscene amenities. I say, hey, if you want to throw money around like that, and you don’t mind the headaches and wastafe, good for you… alas, another point of view is that spending with abandon is morally inferior and as such taxes need to be increased to at least put the brakes on doing so. The thing is, there is a much bigger issue at stake, and that is the issue of socialism / the public good vs a fee for service model as a means of funding.

The nations aviation infrastructure, a socialistic driven system, was built on other peoples money via some pretty high taxes over many decades… but in todays world, socialism is considered a grave evil, unlike the era of decades past, where it was also considered a grave evil, but with an exception carved out for govt funding of specific things for the public good. Alas, the public good model is getting slammed in a huge way today, and not without good reason. A couple big issues.

1, First, a few overly entitled wealthy individuals lobbied municipalities to build gold plated airports as a means of economic development. If said development activity came to light and was sustainable, ok, but far too often, its transient, leaving the local aviation community and taxpayers holding the bag for gold plating no one needs, often for decades. This often times puts aviation, which should be a public good in an evil place… which leads to…

2. No one wants to pay taxes anymore, even those who have built their enterprise often times with serious infrastructure support provided by uncle sam, at no, or very limited direct cost. The saying, I have mine, screw you rings very true in this. Many sacrifices were made by the greatest generation to get us to where we are today… and now that some have done very well, they no longer want to pay anywhere close to what the prior generations did to help them get there. There is a real push for fee for service, rather than socialism (ie aviation as a public good funded by fuel taxes as well as general revenue at the local, state, and fed levels as has been the case for many decades).

To add insult to injury Government has been complicit in this, throwing other peoples money around like it grows on trees… and being more than willing to gold plate things and/or offer govt guaranteed monopoly status for campaign donations.

As a pilot, a prior aviation business owner, and a user of Uncle Sams aviation services since the early 80’s, there is no way I could have accomplished anywhere near what I did had it not been for the aviation as a public good model. Such a model is one of the reasons why aviation is still somewhat viable in the US, as contrasted with much of the world which relies on the fee for service model.

Granted, one can argue that today’s world of global competition should obsolete the aviation as a public good model as its just too expensive. On the other hand, imagine what a few decades of fee for service could do to the substantial public investments we currently have… is trashing the investments of the greatest generation really worth the tax savings that might come about from doing so?

Would it not be better to surgically go in, and slash and burn the waste, the gold plating, and the monopolies? Such could save a boat load of money, and at the same time maintains very useful services… but this means campaign donors will squeal in a huge way.

I think some major squealing is a small price to pay, but then again I’m not running for office.

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