The Utopianism of TVA
March 17, 2016
TVA is not magical although some would have you believe it was. TVA was not the beginning of dam building along the Tennessee River. It started as a munitions project in WW1. Utopia for TVA didn’t start until the 1930s. A federal senator from Nebraska dug in his heels by preventing the entrepreneurial development of the unfinished dam, later named Norris Dam, in the Shoals of north Alabama. Well, it was FDR’s cockamamie idea also to keep the old munitions property in the hands of the federal government. TVA was to be the center post of numerous “little TVA’s” all over the United States. But Congress had the good sense to squelch that part of the original TVA. The country was in the deepest part of the Depression of the 1930s and frankly, Congress didn’t know what to do (much as today) and allowed the TVA to become enacted into law on the narrowest ruling of a sales contract. Constitutionality? It was never tested. The TVA Act of 1933 was so loosely worded that it was subject to many interpretations.
So it took only three directors appointed by the U.S. president; so it was soon discovered there was too much squabbling among the three and the president fired one of them. TVA advocates got the law changed to nine directors run by a CEO and look what we have! The highest paid federal employee in the history of America; that’s what the TVA Act of 1933 has got us! Who is in charge here? Keep asking that question for a non-answer.
Clear and simple, TVA has never had anyone in charge; never had anyone held responsible and that’s the way it has been from the start. You will not find a name attached to anything TVA has done wrong. Slide on by, slip through the responsibility noose while wasting billions, that’s the federal government style, that’s TVA’s motto “nobody gets fired from TVA.” That’s the Utopianism in TVA.