“90 Day Wonder”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC)

Back in the day (1995-1996) liberal newspaper columnists would write a column on the (sure to get a reaction) latest happenings of their arch villain Patrick Joseph Buchanan. Probably the greatest American that ever lived. The decline of newspapers was just starting then, but it could be felt. Half the country wasn’t buying their liberal excrement. So they’d write hit pieces on Buchanan just to get conservative hate mail. They hate being ignored.

12 years later in 2008 a young lovely that drove liberals nuts arrived on the scene named Sarah Palin. Once again they’d write hit pieces just to get a rise out of the right. She was great copy, especially if you could get a picture into the piece. Yes they hated the ‘out’ Christian, Palin, but I think most of it was to get readership. I think Republican writers and YouTubers are doing something similar today with a good looking Democrat (I know that sounds like an oxymoron) named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Back in WW II they called the graduates of Officer Candidate School ’90 day wonders’, comparing their 3 month school to that of the 4 year academy graduates. AOC hits her 3 months in Congress tomorrow, April 3. If you were to listen to Republican writers, television commentators and YouTubers, AOC is the greatest threat to the republic (if not the universe) that we have ever faced! A political junkies day is filled with account after account of her nefarious plots!

I do get confused about 1 thing though. On the 1 hand according to our experts, she’s the dumbest thing that ever drew a breath. On the other she is so deviously clever she will singlehandedly bring down Western Civilization! Well which is it? Diabolical or dumb? Personally I wonder how much she could have done in 3 months. It takes Congress that long just to agree on the new  menu in the Capitol cafeteria. I’m not sure they have passed a bill since January 3?

Personally, if it isn’t Sarah Palin posting a minimum of 3 AOC pieces a day (always with picture), its a continual stream of YouTube videos with our Democrat darling in the thumbnail. I think its for the readership. Personally, I admire a woman with balls. So to speak. Conservative commentators aren’t used to having a Democrat woman who isn’t a mirror cracker. I mean face it, Hillary, Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard, Democrats have a long history of women who do not cause hearts to flutter.

But my problem isn’t craven conservative writers who won’t write on the merits, its that you don’t solve problems by inventing ‘boogeymen’. And that’s what Republicans are doing. Their problem, the nation’s problem, is RINOs. Its themselves. About half their members. About 50% of the GD POS GOP are RINOs! That’s your damn problem! Not AOC!

Jim Roach

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Modern business: its not about a better mousetrap

Last years corporate tax cut from 35% to 21% provides a perfect example of how modern business purposely and repeatedly screws the shareholder. Ostensibly the purpose of the tax cut as Trump put it, was to “spur investment, increase wages and bring home capital from overseas!” Nothing of the sort happened of course. The only wages that were increased were senior management and the board of directors through an accounting slight of hand known as “stock buybacks.”

A large part of the ‘compensation package’ for corporate bigwigs is the issuance of mass quantities of stock out of thin air. When corporations got this Congressional giveaway last year in the form of a huge tax cut, did they increase dividends to shareholders? Did they do any of the things Congress said they were going to do with this windfall? Hell no. They paid senior management and the board of directors real money for the stock they had earlier issued them out of thin air.

All that huge giveaway did that further bankrupted this nation, was to further enrich very rich people. Americans are so stupid nowadays they don’t realize that even just 60 and 70 years ago corporations in order to be competitive paid share dividends of 4%, 5% and 6%. An amount historically typical to be paid for the use of your money. Today the vast amount of business pays no dividends. The few that do are the S&P 500 average of a pathetic 1.5%.

It never ends with modern business. As I have pointed out time and time again on this blog, is another way American business screws the working man and the country is their manipulation of labor costs. What job they can’t ship overseas, they bring in cheap foreign workers under H1-B and H2-B visas to do the job cheaper. It will either be made overseas, or be made here by overseas workers. Below is another example from an excellent book called ‘The Intelligent Investor‘, by Benjamin Graham. Originally printed in 1949, the 70 years since show without a doubt, that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

   Even Graham would have been startled by the extent to which companies and their accountants pushed the limits of propriety in the past few years. Compensated heavily through stock options, top executives realized that they could become fabulously rich merely by increasing their company’s earnings even for just a few years running. Hundreds of companies violated the spirit, if not the letter, of accounting principles – turning their financial reports into gibberish, tarting up ugly results with cosmetic fixes, cloaking expenses, or manufacturing earnings out of thin air. 

Business for the most part rarely tries to come up with an innovative product or method of doing business, they generally spend their time trying to cheat and defraud the shareholder and the customer. Rather than work for it, business prefers the easy way. Most greedy people are sweat averse.

Jim Roach

[Regrettably, this book like most others, while pointing out the malfeasance of the corporations, lets the watchdog off the hook. Rarely do they hold the SEC accountable. Corporations are going to do what they can get away with, that’s why the taxpayer pays government agencies to bring down the hammer when they operate outside the law. Contrary to their belief, their existence is not for the hell of it, it is to protect the public.]

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“It can’t get any worse!”

Katie Couric and the crew crying on election night is so sweet. It helps to put in context what was coming on the other afternoon on the Simon Conway Show on WHO radio. He was interviewing Senator Joni Ernst who comes from the most worthless body on the planet, the United States Senate. Joni’s schtick is the bread bags. Iowa’s other Senator, Chuck Grassley, his schtick is wearing plaid. They don’t do anything, they’re wishy washy, they’re establishment Republicans.

She was on Simon’s show to elect more Republicans to office (I have no idea why). I just wish I had the guts to call up his show. What they do is they find out what you want to say before they put you on the air. They then have time to prepare their response to make you sound stupid, then they cut you off before you can reply (even if nerves didn’t finish you off first).

But the point is Joni, you’re not going to do anything. Not you, not Chuck, not any of you Republicans. Friends of mine, good people, will continue to give you their votes and money. But I won’t. I know you’re frauds. Simon Conway, his livelihood depends on keeping the game alive. The illusion that the Republicans are capable of accomplishing something. They’re not.

That’s what Katie & Crew missed from the video above on election night. They had no idea that the Republicans were incapable of doing anything! On the video they literally talk about the wall, deportation squads, pulling us out of NATO, the Muslim ban! None of that shit’s going to happen. But by gawd they were worried on election night! They forgot that politicians were liars.

Jim Roach

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“Trump can’t win!”

One of the most delightful things for an American / Trump supporter to do is go on to YouTube and watch videos of the networks on election night November 8, 2016. You get to watch this slow motion meltdown of the most ignorant people that God ever created. The abject horror that begins to spread across their hideous faces as they realize that Trump is going to win and crooked Hillary will be thrown into history’s pile of also rans.

In the video posted above, Mary Matalin stands up to these twin peaks of stupid Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, from the now defunct (thank God) ‘With All Due Respect’ show. Mary is one of 3 people who predicted Mr. Trump could win the presidency. The other 2 being of course the great Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. (This video is from exactly 2 months prior to the election when “everyone” knew Hillary was going to win.) Mary has more political acumen in her little finger than those 2 Bozos will ever know.

It is so wonderful to watch these ignorant asses get it thrown in their face over and over just how impossibly obtuse they are. But it didn’t matter! Just as on that night they didn’t even begin to see this tsunami of discontent about to wash away the establishment that night, just last week they were showed their ignorance again! Trump had complete and total exoneration in regards to “Russian collusion”, despite their crying he was guilty for 2 years!! On and on and on they went about Russian collusion, a conspiracy these nuts had based upon a completely false dossier.

None of this matters to the mainstream media. They just go on with their ‘ignorance is bliss’ credo, never letting the facts get in the way. 

I just wish there was some way to communicate to them how utterly hated and despised they are to a large portion of the American people. The revulsion and contempt so many have for them. If only there was an address I could write to. An email I could send, that would even begin to convey if only in the smallest way, the revulsion they elicit from decent people. It will forever be my cross to bear, my inability to share this with them. Such is life.

Jim Roach

[One of the more obvious clues these mainstream morons should have see was in respect to crowd sizes. Trump was filling stadiums with 25,000 roaring people. Hillary was lucky to get 25 paid stiffs to show up.]

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The point of no return

See all the women and children?

Historians will no doubt pinpoint the period of America’s inexorable  slide into the ash heap  of history as the years 2017 – 2018. The Republican Party had rotted out by being infested (and tolerated) with liberals, particularly the Senate. They had doomed their own future by allowing open borders for 50 years with the shortsighted goal of cheap labor. They had so shifted the demographics of the country by their own corruption,  they guaranteed they would never return to power. We imported the 3rd world, we became the 3rd world. These people aren’t the caliber of those that built America. Not even close.

Jim Roach

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Would you like to lay down on the couch, CNN?

Okay CNN, are you comfortable? Good, now let’s start off with a few simple questions. Is Collusion in the room with us right now? Does Collusion ‘talk’ to you? Is Collusion touching you? If you are in a locked room can Collusion get in? Do you see Collusion in this picture? Does Collusion come into your room at night? What kind of things does Collusion tell you to do? Does Collusion ever hurt you? Can you show me on this doll where Collusion touched you?

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This web page not available!

This July I will attempt to go to the free side of WordPress. When you do that, as I found out from my other blog https://iowalifedotorg.wordpress.com/ , they change your address slightly so it won’t come up in a search. Just a blaring error message, “That web page not available!” As though the searcher did something wrong. The page is still there, they just want to make it as inconvenient and damaging as possible if you decide to go to the free/dark side. They want to kill your traffic for having the audacity to go to the very free side they offer.

If I was more techno I could probably go back and insert the new address onto the old page of the more popular posts. The other point of this post is to apologize to about half the people who have hit ‘Like’ on a post since the first of the year (that could be upwards of 23 people). During some update from WordPress my site got damaged. I lost my ‘tool’ bar. For some reason half the sites I go to, to return a ‘Like’, won’t accept my WordPress credentials. So I am not able to hit the ‘Like’ on their site. I tried. Its broke. Here are 4 sites. 2 recognize me, 2 don’t. My apologies.

Recognizes me:



Doesn’t recognize me:



I have no idea what’s going on. And like I say, this July when a search says, That page doesn’t exist! It does, it just takes a little searching.

Jim Roach

[P.S. I take my ‘Likes’ seriously. While other blogs might have 243 ‘Likes’ on 1 post, I’m lucky if I get 4. Years ago I was associated with a conservative organization that Google Search didn’t find acceptable. They put the kibosh on my site by altering the analytics on a search. Even though I am no longer associated with that group, the bias continues. It was evident in my year end ‘hit’ totals. 2006: 2,384 – 2007: 10,253 – 2008: 50,200. The fourth year it went back to the low four digits and has never changed. How do you go backwards? That’s why I get a kick out of this or that celebrity when they get kicked off a platform, or demonetized from YouTube, dude, I’ve been dealing with the bias of liberal social media giants for 10 years. Republicans act like its a new phenomena.]

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John Brown

What a pivotal moment in time – 1859. A nation built on a false premise, that it was acceptable to hold humans in bondage, was about to pay dearly for the sins of its Fathers. Let me rephrase that, half a million poor saps were about to die for the 1%. One of the men calling out the nation was John Brown. A figure I had known nothing more about than say Robin Hood or Daniel Boone (the pathetic nature of public school history being quite evident in me). I had picked up the book: John Brown – Great Lives Observed (Prentice Hall, 1973), for a couple of reasons.

Part of the interest in this historical figure was to fill in some gaps of my ignorance. The other was to figure out why this local radio host (Jan Mickleson) had such a burning hatred for the man. My ‘George Washington chopped down a cherry tree’ knowledge of history had only told me Brown was a man who wanted to free the slaves. How is that controversial? Turns out that the ethical waters get muddied when you throw in robbery and murder to accomplish this noble goal.

In an attempt to convey the basis of this moral dilemma I’ll put below in italics some quotes from the book that frame the issue rather well. (from pages 142,  143, 148 and 178)

   But the true deliverance came with John Brown behind the bars at Charlestown, when there was suddenly revealed to him how inferior a weapon was the sword he had leaned upon from the time he had abandoned the pursuits of peace for his war on slavery.

   Brown is and must remain a great and lasting figure in American history. Not, however, because he strove to undo one wrong by committing another; not because he took human lives in a vain effort to end the sacrifice of other lives and souls entailed by slavery. The methods by which he essayed to achieve reforms are never to be justified until two wrongs make a right.

  For the abolitionists, it will be remembered, he had had nothing but contempt. Theirs were “but words, words”; yet it was by words, and words, embodying his moral principles, the theological teachings he valued so highly, the doctrines of the Saviour, who knew no distinction of  race, creed or color, and by the beauty of his own peace of spirit in the face of death, that he stirred his Northern countrymen to their depths and won the respect even of the citizens of the South.

   Another is that he and Harper’s Ferry were in fact and represent in theory the kind of man and event engendered by national despair. They could only come together in a time of turmoil. It is not surprising, therefore, that Brown’s memory should be revived at similar moments. Malcom X did so most recently when in 1965 he advised young white liberals: “If you are  for me and my problems – when I say ‘me’, I mean us, our people – then you have to be willing to do as old John Brown did.” 

   John Brown embodies, then, the actual despair of his own time and the potential despair of all times. He is a watchword and a warning that when a nation fails to resolve its problems and allows them to reach crisis proportions – particularly those that threaten human rights and liberties – the response of a John Brown is possible and often inevitable.

   There is, however, a further legacy of John Brown. He was, in his last years especially, a man of purpose who translated thought to action, who attempted what others only contemplated, and who was faithful to the dictates of his conscience. 

   John Brown believed in the promise of the Declaration of Independence and anguished over its unfulfillment. However one may judge his means, he sought to realize that promise for black Americans. He dreamed of the more perfect Union that would not come until, as he predicted, the crimes of this guilty land were purged away with blood. 

There, I just condensed for you the wisdom of several hundred pages to a few paragraphs. Ah brevity, another trait that forever escaped Mickelson. But in these few paragraphs I believe contain the two sides of the argument that Brown and Mickelson represent. The doer versus the guy who is going to talk you to death while others suffer. Do you let the man drown because the rope that you could throw to him does not belong to you?

That’s what it comes down to: Are you going to do something? Or are you going to maintain the ethically pure Ghandi-like high ground of non-violence? Malcom X versus MLK. I think that’s what forever irritated Mickelson about Brown. Brown was a doer, Mickelson was a talker. Mickelson spent a career doing nothing. That’s what talk show hosts do. They have a monetary stake in maintaining the eternal “struggle”, never solving anything. If they actually were to solve something, their show would be over.

You’ll see it with Rush too at the national level. The radio host wants to keep people tied up in the false dichotomy of Democrat versus Republican, making sure to never let the truth escape and let it beknown that the truth lies in the third way. That maybe where the answer lay, was in a melding of the two, the peacenik and the murderer. (I think this elusive 3rd way is also an explanation for the universal hatred of Trump among the establishment. God forbid the people ever figure out they’ve been played for fools by the crooks running the game. The whole system would collapse.)

Another key paragraph was when it talked about “national despair”. The cowards in Congress can and do ignore a problem, but it will eventually have to be dealt with. Their procrastination often rewarded with the ‘solution’ being passed in the dead of night on a voice vote. In the case of slavery, their procrastination resulted in the death of 500,000 Americans. A catastrophe that did not have to happen, if only they had had the courage to address the problem earlier.

But what are the lives of the 99% to the 1%? They could care less about the hopes and dreams of ordinary folks. I think what people like John Brown do is force the elites to face the depravity of their cowardice. He holds that mirror up and doesn’t allow them to look away. He grabbed them by the scruff of their neck and made them look at the warts and ugliness of America. He didn’t allow them to look away.

History may condemn Brown, but I don’t. I blame the very elites who looked down their nose at Brown. The very people who think themselves so much better. The “crisis” the elites used to justify the death of half a million men, was a hundred years in the making. It didn’t have to happen.

Jim Roach










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Fear of flying

2019 Cessna 172

Or more accurately a fear of the high cost of flying. I saw an interesting comment after another flying video about a twin-engine aircraft. “$10,000 each for a couple of 912’s (the engines), you telling me $450,000 for the airframe and avionics? I don’t think so.” It’s nice when an awakening happens, slow as it is. Some people are starting to see something is wrong in Wichita (where most domestic certified small aircraft are made).

The plane pictured above goes new for $300,000 dollars. In 1956 it went for $9,000. That’s a 33 fold increase. A loaf of bread then went for .18 cents. It now goes for $1.80, an increase of 10 times. Median home price in 1956  the internet tells me was $18,356. Today: $226,000, a 12 fold increase. A car, $1,800 vs $10,500, an increase of 6 times. The value of $100 in 1956 is now worth $937.44 (a 9 times increase).

Its not every product that can sell for than the customer can pay. Most products can only move with the rate of inflation like the examples with the staples above. Detroit can continue its planned obsolescence by continuing its use of steel. Cessna has to continue with the eternal properties of aluminum and fiberglass for aeronautical reasons. Let’s hope the awakening continues. When the law of supply and demand no longer applies, something is screwed up.

Jim Roach

1956 Cessna 172

You’d think some people might start to notice that aluminum and fiberglass lasts forever, and why couldn’t their cars? The limited lifespan of the auto results in an environmental disaster considering the energy and materials it takes to build a new car every dozen years or so.) If cars were made out of aluminum, fiberglass, stainless steel, ‘N’ type polymers (gun plastic), they’d last forever. Just get them repainted every 10 years or so. Like planes. The exterior of the one above is 63 years old and has only required new paint every dozen years or so.

In 1969 a Boeing 747 went for $24,000,000, a Cessna 172 for $12,500. In 2019 a Max 10 (maybe the equivalent of the 747) went for $134,000,000. A Cessna 172 for $300,000. A 172 started out as .05% the cost of a 747. 50 years later in 2019 it is .22% the cost of a Max 10. Its price relative to the jetliner increased over 4 times as a percentage. During that 50 years the price of a 172 multiplied 24 times. The jetliner’s price multiplied 5.6 times. 24 times versus 5.6. The private plane buyer is being taken for a ride.

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In the beginning…

Piper Cub circa 1947 (In the beginning, God created the Piper Cub… )

I’ve found that I tend to notice the ‘big swings’ in history. Macro economics rather than micro. Pivotal moments, minutia bogs me down. The best way to illustrate this is by using the horribly distorted markets of healthcare and higher education. One of the big moments in the American economy was in 1965 and LBJ’s “war on poverty” and the 1965 Medicare Act. As soon as the government has a “war” on something, you know its going to increase. Like the “war” on drugs or the “war” on terrorism.

With the involvement of the federal government into healthcare and its bottomless wallet, hospital costs skyrocketed and have never returned. A study using 1962 prices showed a hotel room and a semi-private hospital room were very comparable during the time people were paying for their healthcare and not insurance companies. Once the ‘3rd party payer’ concept was introduced, prices were never the same. (Like P.J. O’Rourke said, “If you think its expensive now, wait until its free!”)

A lot of people can’t grasp the concept that it is impossible for the price of a product to outpace the market. If the buyer can’t afford the product, the maker can’t survive. Its self fulfilling. The key being if there is market forces controlling the market, and not the government. Another market that has been grossly distorted by the government is higher education. A person could still work their way through college up through the 70’s. After the government made it “free” with the federal student loan program, the cost of college went through the roof.

For reasons beyond my understanding, Americans can’t seem to grasp basic economics. Having spent less than a week researching small planes, I saw instantly what happened to prices over the past 70 years. The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 doesn’t seem to have killed the market (one of the things it did was create the FAA), general aviation prospered for another 20 years. It took another 20 years from its birth for the FAA to kill aviation. When you insert government influence, you remove market forces. This ain’t real tough.

What has killed general aviation in America was the General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) of 1994 and the FAA. The official story is that manufacturers were getting killed by product liability lawyers in the 1980’s and their bottom line was going into the red. Manufacturers banded together and their lobbying efforts resulted in Senator Nancy Kasssebaum of Kansas (which just happens to be where Cessna / Textron Aviation is from) introducing GARA in 1994 and having it signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1995.

Manufacturers promised price drops would result with the 18 year limit on product liability enacted. Nothing of the sort happened, of course. Whereas in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s market forces had kept entry level plane prices inline with slightly more than a year’s wages of a good blue collar job, in the 80’s they exploded to where they are now of ten times a year’s salary! In the 1950’s a Cessna 140 (2 seater) could be had new for around $8,995. Today a new  Cessna 172  costs $230,000 dollars. That’s no where near the historical average of a typical year’s wages.

Typical annual earnings for a working man back then being between $6K and $8K (yes people made more, and yes people made less). At the end of the 60’s, $5 an hour ($10,000 a year) was a good wage. And guess what? A similar Cessna purchased new was then around $13,000 dollars. The same thing happened in the 70’s when $15,000 dollars was a good salary and new plane prices were around $20,000.

Everything was kept in line by market forces. But by the 80’s trial lawyers were putting manufacturers between a rock and a hard place with lawsuits after each resulting small plane fatality. When in reality as Wikipedia puts it, consolidation and unwise mergers were resulting in monopolies that fostered a lack of competition that ended up distorting pricing models. Manufacturers were crying all the way to the bank. Textron Avionics essentially became the only manufacturer of general aviation aircraft bodies, Garmin of electronics and Rotax of engines. Yes of course there are other names, but lobbying of the FAA paid off. Cessna and others essentially said to buyers in the recreational market ‘to hell with you’.

Competition was eliminated. And despite all the squawking about ‘globalization’, American manufacturers were able to keep out foreign competition. They got the FAA  to make it illegal for makers like the Czech Republic’s Merlin PSA solo aircraft so that it could only be sold in kit form in the U.S. The finished product can’t be sold here. They would rather endanger the public by having amateurs do final assembly than have it assembled by factory professionals as allowed in European sales. Think about that, lives are endangered just so manufacturers can keep domestic prices artificially jacked up.

Americans have no idea how lucky they were to have electrical products regulated by a private entity, the Underwriters Laboratory. The efficiency of a private body puts a governmental one like the FAA to shame. That’s one of the reason electrical appliance prices have tracked pretty close to wages over the decades. Its the only thing that COULD happen in a market not distorted by government influence. If there had been a government agency in charge of refrigerators, you’d be paying $25,000 dollars for a new frig.

But in the case of Textron Aviation and their manufacture of Cessna and Beechcraft aircraft, in typical corporate fashion they were incredibly shortsighted. All they could see was jacking the price of a new 4 seater from $24,000 to $240,000. They were willing to forgo private sales and just concentrate on corporate sales. Just 2 years ago they announced layoffs in January 2017 because even corporations got tired of paying those ridiculous prices. And rather than adjust prices to match the market, Textron would rather go under.

If they hadn’t been so greedy, and had stayed in the recreational market, they wouldn’t have been so devastated when corporate sales cooled. They would have had some diversification. And when they stopped production of 2 and 4 seaters in 1986, they never saw the long term of aftermarket parts sales and the like that would have resulted from a healthy recreation and small business market. They were so intent on gouging the consumer, they never saw how it would impact them in the long term.

The sickness of the American economy can be seen by  the casual observer in a number of ways. You can catch Trump daily trying to tout how “healthy” the American economy is under him. Bullshit, Donald. I’m no economist, but I can see what’s going on around me. 32 years ago me and another guy were walking into an employer to test for jobs. He made an observation about the cars in the employee parking lot. He knew he wanted to work there because the employees drove nice, new cars. Smart.

Trump can sit there all day and say the economy is great, but that’s bullshit. Look around you. Malls look like ghost towns. Some are completely vacant, others are at 60% occupancy. Consignment shop growth is exploding. Every city used to have a pawn shop or two, but secondhand store growth is booming, becoming mainstream. “Checks into cash” operations are all over. College graduates now routinely work at Best Buy. The percentage of new car buys by individuals has dramatically plummeted. New car sales now are largely limited to government agencies and other fleet sales like rental car agencies, as compared to decades past. New home sales as a percentage of population compared to 60 years ago is another indication.

Politicians can sling their bullshit all they want, but people have eyes, we can see what’s going on. One of the final ‘ballpark’ indicators is interest rates. The fiscal legs of both business and government start to buckle when interest rates move from zero. That tells you something when BOTH government and business are existing on borrowed money at zero interest. When government and business can’t survive without free cash, something is wrong.

Jim Roach

The Merlin PSA (Personal Sport Aircraft). It supposedly can be built by the kit buyer for $42,000 dollars. A single seater (even one you have to build), does fall roughly inline with the historical average of getting a plane for a little more than a years wages at 42K. The similarities of this plane from 2019 and the one pictured above from 1947, are beyond striking.

General aviation is being kept on life support by this obscure corner of the flying world called “experimental aircraft”. The FAA has allowed this little niche of the industry to exist with a rather macabre bargain. In rough terms experimental aircraft come with a lethal proviso, we’ll allow you to kill yourself by buying and building these, but there is no product liability. If you die you can’t sue. This 1 little corner of general aviation has true market forces. You live or die on what sells, what works. If a product doesn’t work, it doesn’t survive. The downside is neither will you.

One of the best examples of how markets keep things affordable is in another area of transportation: cars. A Ferrari is a car. A Ferrari costs $330,000 dollars. Does that mean all cars cost $300,000 dollars? Of course not! The doctor can buy his new Cadillac XT6 SUV for say $92,000. The plumber can buy a new Ford F-150 for say $31,000. The guy working at the supermarket can buy a used Toyota for $9,500. A student can pick up a working ‘beater’ for $2,500. The unemployed guy who can’t afford anything can take the bus. See how that works? In a market everyone gets covered from top to bottom. A demand is always met with supply.

Everybody at every price level has some form of transportation available to them. From the Ferrari to the bus. The reason this occurs is because luckily the government has largely stayed out of the car market. I say “largely”, because little things like the ‘cash for clunkers’ program during the Obama Administration did result in a dramatic spike in used car prices. But as long as we don’t have an FCC (Federal Car Commission), prices have to stay somewhat affordable. GM can’t exist if no one can afford their product.

It would be like if the 3 social media giants (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) had no real competition and were allowed to run roughshod over freedom of speech and privacy standards. (That’s irony of course because that’s exactly what happened.) Cessna made the conscious decision to quit being a “pioneer in aviation”, and instead chose to be a multinational industrialist (to hell with the American consumer). If you watch YouTube videos on small aircraft, you’ll see all the innovation is happening in Europe.

While the manufacturers banded together in the late 80’s to fight what they considered unfair product liability laws, the pilot’s association (AOPA) either didn’t have the ability or the desire to lobby Congress for their side. Increased competition, stopping monopolistic mergers and opening domestic markets to foreign competition should have been the goal of AOPA. Instead the private pilot got steamrolled.

I found an inflation calculator at http://www.dollartimes.com , I plugged in the value of a Cessna 172 in 1956 at $9,000. In 2019 dollars that comes to $84,369.29. There are a couple of things to take into account there. Over that 63 years the experience and Cessna’s learning curve would have went through the roof. Coupled with a more automated manufacturing process, that would have clearly offset the cost of a better plane being produced. What a new Cessna 172 comes to is $300,000 dollars. There’s no justification for that except FAA BS and corporate greed. What should have been an increase of just under 10 x is in reality an increase of 33 times.

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