published Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Dalton Roberts: Corker, Obama wrong on TVA


by Dalton Roberts

The only thing that would have shocked me more than seeing our Sen. Bob Corker and President Barack Obama agree on selling TVA or selling it out through some new managerial structure would have been seeing former Mayor Ron Littlefield running as a tea party candidate.

The latter would certainly have done less damage to the entire seven-state region served by TVA. Just because Bob Corker has become the new fiscal voice for the right does not mean we should listen to him on TVA.

Somehow, Sen. Lamar Alexander has managed to maintain a high degree of sanity in an ocean of right-wing foolishness. "Spinning off the nation's largest public utility could mean higher electricity prices for the seven states that the authority serves," he said.

Alexander wisely points out, "Just the talk about selling TVA has hurt its bond values and raised TVA's effective borrowing costs."

Anyone with any experience in governmental borrowing and bonding knows what a millstone this could be around the neck of TVA.

Obama's talk about selling TVA is just another thoughtless steam release from an immature locomotive. Too often he pops off when there is a desperate need to walk off into the woods and think a while. It is a fallacy to think the president should speak out every day on all issues. He should only speak out when he has something important to say.

I was so proud when he was elected. It gave America a more reasonable and compassionate face to the world. His brilliant wife and two children were just a picture-perfect first family. I regret to say that, on this issue as well as many others, he does not have the maturity and balance the presidency requires.

My inside sources say he recommended selling TVA because he was irritated that Marilyn Brown was not approved as a director. If this is true, it is a sadly childish reaction. He needs to spank Congress over that one. But from Day One he has been much more interested in doing triple back flips to please them.

Even Republican Mo Brooks of Alabama commented, "Obama's suggestion to privatize is insupportable and inexplicable."

Several leaders have reiterated Alexander's point that having the backing of the federal government helps TVA keep a favorable bond rating.

Corker admits that TVA "is a big driver in our economic success in Tennessee." If we have a big driver, why change the driver?

If his intent is good and he is not just having some old Goldwaterian flashback, I will accept his statement, "There are all kinds of things that you could look at to force TVA to step its game up and be a better asset to the Tennessee valley."

This is like saying anything can be improved, including Corker. We'd all like to see many federal agencies changed and improved. Occasionally, one wiggles like a sleepy worm in the right direction and we all clap so hard we bruise our hands and cheer so loud we lose our voice.

It's just that, in this case, Corker has not hit the nail on the head.

It looks like he's hit his thumb.

Contact Dalton Roberts at downhomep@aol.com.

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Carl said...

I agree, Corker's stance on this issue is indefensible. TVA is a true success story, it receives no federal funding and must generate it's own operating revenue. TVA manages this and keeps rates to a minimum. This should be cause for celebration and ridiculous ideas. Privatization would only result in higher rates for consumers. I hope people remember this at election time, especially a few thousand TVA employees.

May 28, 2013 at 8:47 a.m.
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