Tuesday Linkorama


  • Memo to the new new dealers. If you’re going to hold up the Tennessee Valley Authority as a model of what great things the government can do, this might give you pause. Read the whole thing, but here’s my favorite bit.

    As for flood control, the TVA has flooded an estimated 730,000 acres—more land than the entire state of Rhode Island. Most directly affected by TVA flooding were the thousands of people forced out of their homes. And while farm owners received cash settlements for their condemned property, black tenant farmers received nothing.

    The TVA is $26 billion in debt, despite not having to pay taxes. Ralph Nader, noted right wing fascist, has condemned it as one of the worst polluters in the nation. Oh, and it slowed economic growth.

    Seriously. Read the whole thing.

  • Various groups want the Feds to start regulating charities so that they give more money to minorities. Oh, yeah. That’s going to work out just great.
  • Port St. Lucie wants to use natural disaster funds to build their economy. So what happens when an actual natural disaster happens? That’s right. You and I will pay the bills.
  • Ah, America. The only nation willing to give a corrupt stupid governor a 6-figure book deal. Well, that just means the government will get the money when he’s convicted.
  • 2 Responses to “Tuesday Linkorama”

    1. rpl says:

      It’s not clear to me that the permanent flooding produced by TVA dams qualifies as evidence of TVA’s failure at flood control. The purpose of flood control is to prevent intermittent and unpredictable flooding in places where people live, not to ensure that every acre of land stays bone dry. So, the relevant question here is, has TVA reduced the incidence of property damage due to floods? If so, then that part, at least, is a success.

      To evaluate the plight of the tenant farmers we have to ask, did they have a property interest in their tenancy? That is, suppose one of them had decided to move away to work in a factory. Would he have been able to sell his tenancy to someone else, or would the land owner have had the right to choose a successor. If the former, then failing to compensate the tenants when the land was flooded was unjust. If the latter, then the decision not to compensate them was legally correct, albeit possibly indicative of a problem with the institution of tenant farming.

      Anyhow, I thought the real problems with TVA were the aforementioned economic drag and the fact that it took huge amounts of tax funding to keep the thing running.

    2. Mike says:

      Good points, all. There’s some detail left out. What was going on in TN at the time was the former slaves and black sharecroppers were basically squatting on farmland, since they weren’t allowed to own it. TVA drove them off and flooded their land without any compensation … because they could. FDR’s quiet racism is one of the great unmentioned stories of his era.