Is The TVA A-OK?


Columnist Ron Hart, who hails from Tennessee, is proud of the TVA:

In fact, the only government program one might arguably call a success, the Tennessee Valley Authority, was spawned in Tennessee. In an aberrant and odd use of government, the TVA actually produces things Americans need: hydroelectric and nuclear power, fertilizer manufacturing, flood control, recreational lakes, and barge transportation routes. In an Obama-nation where federal power is exerted in legislation that, by the second page, treads on dubious constitutional grounds, the TVA seems overlooked as a government-owned, independent corporation with $11 billion in revenue and an operating income of about $2 billion in 2009.

If Obama does not shut it down for making an evil profit and providing 9 million customers with products they want at competitive prices, the TVA may be the only thing the Federal government has been involved in that actually helps us Americans. The good people of Tennessee were a big part of TVA's success.

His Daily Caller col is actually about a lawn mower race and is filled with good lines ("Atlanta is the 'City Too Busy to Hate,' which leaves it ample time to tax.") Read it all here.

But before you get carried away by the TVA's arguable success like a billion gallons of wet coal ash did when a dike broke in 2008, remember the words of the man who got fired by General Electric for pissing on the Depression-era project in 1962. His name? Ronald Reagan. His rap agin the TVA as delineated in his speech "A Time for Choosing":

One such considered above criticism, sacred as motherhood, is TVA. This program started as a flood control project; the Tennessee Valley was periodically ravaged by destructive floods. The Army Engineers set out to solve this problem. They said that it was possible that once in 500 years there could be a total capacity flood that would inundate some 600,000 acres (2,400 km2). Well, the engineers fixed that. They made a permanent lake which inundated a million acres (4,000 km²). This solved the problem of floods, but the annual interest on the TVA debt is five times as great as the annual flood damage they sought to correct. Of course, you will point out that TVA gets electric power from the impounded waters, and this is true, but today 85 percent of TVA's electricity is generated in coal burning steam plants. Now perhaps you'll charge that I'm overlooking the navigable waterway that was created, providing cheap barge traffic, but the bulk of the freight barged on that waterway is coal being shipped to the TVA steam plants, and the cost of maintaining that channel each year would pay for shipping all of the coal by rail, and there would be money left over.

More here.

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  1. This is a libertarian wetdream: if the government shuts down the TVA, they fucked up, if they leave it, they fucked up by ever creating it.

    Personally, I blame the teacher’s unions.


    2. It’s just another example of the Libertarian Catch-22. Oh, and quit spoofing me, asshole.

      1. I am Dan T.

      2. Nope, I’m Dan T.

    3. And you know this can’t be me, because this guy just proved libertarians’ point instead of refuting it.

  2. That is a great paragraph by Reagan. He used to be able to just eviscerate government programs in debate.

    And please, ignore the troll.

    1. And please, ignore the troll.

      This a thousand times. He keeps getting ignored, and so keeps casting his bait into the water. When I wrote this, he had three comments with no replies.

      1. We need to keep H&R free from all dissenting opinions. Dan T. and others like him tend to spread doubt among the sheep and our numbers are small enough as it is.

        1. See how it feels to be spoofed, John? Maybe you should go by some empathy on the Holy Free Market.

          1. I prefer to use the wholly free market, but then I am an atheist.

          2. This is a blog; it is just a blog.

        2. Wow, John, typical libertarian fascism in action. See? all my arguments about libertarians have just been proven true.

  3. I’ll give Reagan credit: he said that government never works and then he got elected and proved it.

    1. There is no food here for you troll. Be gone!!

      1. Sorry, I will let you get back to your regularly scheduled daily dogma affirmation.

        1. Stop spoofing me!

          1. No you stop spoofing me!!

            1. At least get my handle right, you pathetic spoofer.

              1. No. You get my handle right. The proper handle is “Dan T”. Any handle that has a period at the end is a spoof.

                1. Any handle that doesn’t contain a period is a spoof.

                  1. When you can’t tell the fake from the real guy, the solution is to shoot them both:-)

                    1. So much for your Non-Aggression Principle. Goes right out the window when you are faced with the toxic nature of your asinine beliefs.

                    2. Joke Scarlett. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn who is who.

                    3. Stop spoofing me!

                      Now back to the topic at hand:

                      So much for your Non-Aggression Principle. Goes right out the window when you are faced with the toxic nature of your asinine beliefs.

                    4. If you guys don’t stop spoofing me I am going to have a temper tantrum and leave. I swear to Obama.

                    5. Promise? Really?

                    6. Oops, I mean – promise? Really?

                    7. I promise to be good too.?

  4. Well, if Ronald Reagan said it, it must be true.

    1. Not as true as if Obama had said it.


    2. You guys don’t know what you are missing. This guy’s semen taste like a mix of champagne and malt liquor.

  5. Step 1: TVA
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit

    1. If the whole valley were flooded all the time, we wouldn’t have to worry about floods anymore.

    2. I believe Wendell Willkie worked for a ‘competing’ utility before he was forced into politics by the TVA. In other words, sans TVA, a private company would likely have electrified the interior. Either that, or squandered their own money trying.

  6. Did Mr. Gillipse actually refer to a public program as an “arguable success”?

    You’re getting soft, Nick.

    1. No he didn’t, it was columnist Ron Hart who did. You might want to think about enrolling in a remedial reading class.

      1. I stand corrected. I see that Mr. Gillipse was being sarcastic.

        Whew. That was close. Sorry Nick.

        1. Stop spoofing me!!!!

          Everyone knows I have a huge man-crush on Nick. I wish I could wear that jacket in the morning with no pants on…

          1. Don’t we all?

            1. The Brotherhood of The traveling Jacket

  7. My grandmother worked for the TVA in their propaganda department. They sat her right next to the big web presses and made her close to deaf at an relatively young age. No money for the damage, of course.

    1. This explains many things.

    2. She gave up her hearing for the needs of the people. That should be reward enough.

      1. If only Reason had been around back then to warn her of the dangers of socialism. She could have starved to death a free woman.

        1. Um, yeah. Just for the record, I’m not spoofing anyone else, so I’m not sure why anyone would bother targeting me.

          My only point about the deafness thing was to say I’ve got some personal animosity for the TVA. My grandmother didn’t, being a very kind and forgiving soul. It’s a little ironic that the government that’s supposed to protect workers so well did this harm without trying to recompense her in some way, but, on the other hand, we’re talking about the 60s, not now.

          1. “I’m not sure why anyone would bother targeting me.”

            It’s the Pro Lib brand. We all crave your market share.

            1. Well, that’s understandable.

    3. At 18, my grandfather worked for another federal flood control project in a state immediately east of Tennessee. He was crippled when a beam was dropped on his back. According to his claim (which I’ve never verified), private industry at the time would have been required to pay him at least some disability for the rest of his life. The Army Corps of Engineers’ only compensation other than his immediate medical bills was that they re-trained him to be a watchmaker so that he could work without use of his legs.

      1. How is being retrained a bad thing?Isn’t it better to have a paying job than to be on disability?

  8. I haven’t even posted on this thread yet, assholes.

    1. Yeah I didn’t even post this, assholes.

  9. I refuse to post on this thread, Dan.

  10. Seems pretty reasonable when you think about it.


  11. I think anon-bot just made a Drink! joke. I’m not posting in this thread.

  12. I came here looking for a Tits vs Ass battle royale. I’m leaving now.

    1. I am sure that picture of Ron and Nancy really had your heart racing to.

  13. Dan T.

    You have been Leffitied.

    1. Who’s Leffiti? Some other intelligent and compassionate commenter you called a troll so you wouldn’t have make coherent arguments?

      1. Leffiti was an annoying troll who finally got so ubiquitous and annoying that people spontaneously started spoofing him to such an extent he stopped posting here.

        1. Actually he still posts Leftiti was one of the many names of Edward, who posts as Forrest these days.

          1. Wow. Trollology is not one of my better subjects.

            1. Tulpa is Forrest

      2. Stop spoofing me!

        I would never talk like a babbling retard!

  14. I don’t know why people are obsessed with that picture of Ronnie’s belly. President Ronald Reagan was an old man, was President Ronald Reagan not allowed to look like an old man?

  15. Reagan actually died about three weeks before that photo was taken.

    1. Obviously a spoof post.

      1. Obviously a spoof of spoof post.

  16. These Dan T. spoofs are far, far more edifying than the motherfucker himself.

  17. Obviously a spoof post.

    Obviously, because it displayed wit.

  18. Maybe Hart’s sockpuppets will assimilate Dan T when they arrive.

    Meanwhile, Ron Hart continues to SUUUUUCK!

  19. Enought of this shit, let’s get back to fellating the ghost of Ronald Reagan, he of such great libertarian ideas as the huge deficit and War on Drugs!

  20. Oh Dan T., you suck at spoofing too. I feel so sad for you.

    1. Really? That was a spoof?

      Huh. Fooled me. HURR DURR

    2. Fuck you, that was so funny you didn’t even realize it was a spoof. Admit it!

    3. I blame the teacher’s unions.

      1. I do blame the teacher’s union, my fuzzy-nutted little spoofer friend. Because private education would quietly drown genetic mistakes like you, for the collective good.

  21. Hart, like most Tennesseans, believes the TVA belongs to them. Six other Southern states kick in too. Nope, TVA didn’t spawn there either. If it spawned anywhere, it was in the devious mind of Nebraska Senator George Norris.

    Actually, the TVA Act still reads that the principal offices of the TVA are supposed to be in Muscle Shoals, not TN, but in Alabama. A sore spot for many Alabamans.

    TVA, plain and simple, was, is an abomination that not only is anti-competitive (get that, the U.S. government competing with free enterprise?)

    I look back at all the time and effort I’ve spent trying to purge that ill-formed unconstitutional behemoth from my soul and find that still people like Hart just do not get it.

    For some of my writings, contemporary stuff, can be found at
    My latest article:…..ative.aspx

    TVA A-OK? Not, not, not!

    Ernest Norsworthy

  22. My day won’t be complete until every comment in the entire comments section of a blog entry is submitted only by Dan T.

    Oh what fun that shall be!

    1. We are all Dan T. now.

  23. The FedGov through the TVA is still pushing social engineering in the states it “serves” by handing out payments to counties that are “dry”. The “wet” counties in these states receive no such payments.

  24. TVA running a net profit? That would be a first. Are they counting the money spent on retirees? One time sales of land (they took by force) to private developers?

    I’m betting No and yes.

    1. SIV, I checked it, Hart is dead right, The TVA has $11 bil in revenue and about $2bil in profits.

      Another funny and smart column, I like the way this guy writes.

  25. …the TVA actually produces things Americans need:

    here comes the list

    hydroelectric and nuclear power,

    good to have power

    fertilizer manufacturing

    I have to admit, I do like eating

    flood control,

    floods never did me any good. Keep those needs coming, Mr. Hart!

    recreational lakes,

    what’s this, now? Are bass fishing and knee boarding really needs? Perhaps they’re rights! Obama’s America continues to amaze me. Finish strong, now, Mr. Hart.

    and barge transportation routes.

    Taking a page out of DeWitt Clinton’s play book. How 18th century of you!

    1. Does the TVA make fertilizer? The original pre-TVA dam at Muscle Shoals was supposed to extract nitrogen from the air for WWI munitions. The war ended before they wre up and running so they made fertilizer for a while. I’m no engineer but I think we have better uses for electricity now than atmospheric nitrogen extraction. IIRC, the stuff is “free” as a byproduct of natural gas processing.

  26. barge transportation routes.

    A nation of grateful unionized barge pole manufacturers salutes you.

    1. More likely the tugboat sailors union or something.

  27. Hart is on fire in the south, folks love him. This is his typical humor with a libertarian message.

    The column in our paper said, “It is a small world, but I would not want to mow it…”

    The dude is funny.

  28. If the government must do something, they should do it at market rates like the TVA does in pricing its power.

    Hart is a libertarian and is not for any form of Obama intervention, his point is that this agency is now working because it has a profit motive.

    Profit is a powerful motivator.
    And, P Brooks does give blow jobs at the Grayhound bus station in New Jersey. That is where he meets politicians.

  29. What? No fuddled-minded quotes from the star-worshiping Gipper as to how TVA hydrogeneration dams provided the electrical power need by Oak Ridge National Labs to build America’s nuclear bombs and for Alcoa to produce aluminum for the construction of the U.S. military aircraft during World War II and beyond?

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