Americans for Tax Reform article comment

Americans for Tax Reform article comment
January 25, 2011

TVA, a federal agency in search of a mission, gloms on to anything for a little PR notice. It is the most propaganda prone federal agency that I know of and it will put out paid press releases at the drop of a hat.

I think I know a bit about the TVA and I continue to impugn their motives almost daily. Of course, TVA is not in the business of building preposterous “charging stations” or efficient houses. Consumers in fair numbers have got to buy those expensive electric cars first and probably will gauge their very short distance away from home before a recharge. That trip will not be very far; “weakness” in their capacity is a fair term.

But TVA is interested in selling more electricity by hook or crook to feed a collapsing bottom line. We’re talking about deep red ink here. TVA is so top heavy in management costs it is hard to see how it can pay its own way. And their CEO leads all federal employees in compensation, $3.6 million last year.

The problem with TVA, however, is that by law it is supposed to survive on its income from electricity sales without resorting to any congressional appropriations. And that, pure and simple, is why the Congress pays no attention to TVA’s mounting debt by the billions.

In the past ten days, TVA has finagled added borrowing capacity of 2 ½ billion dollars in short term loans with no way to repay them except through refinancing. One of the reasons that banks are so eager to lend TVA money is because of their AAA credit rating. The fraud here is that the government explicitly does not guarantee repayment of TVA’s risky loans while credit reporting agencies (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) believe the government never would let TVA’s loans go into default.

Yes, TVA’s assets should be sold to entrepreneurial utilities willing to take risks, to provide electricity at rates approved by states’ public utility commissions and to put the people back in charge.
I’ve written much about the TVA to their consternation (remind me to tell of their power to have me banned from Scripps newspapers; just a bit scary). TVA already has overcommitted its $30 billion borrowing cap and probably has violated the Anti-Deficiency Act as a starter.

Who then is absent from this crazy equation? It is the voiceless ratepayers, some 9 million of them, who have no choice but to continue taking it from the all powerful federal government and to go ahead and pay their electric bill.

Ernest Norsworthy

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