SUCH unified control and operation implies government
ownership and operation. The control of this great electric-power
system by a private corporation would give economic power over
the people of the region which no self-appointed private business
men ought to hold. Such management and operation would of necessity
be governmental and public in its nature, whether privately
or publicly owned. It would be necessary to exercise the right
of eminent domain, and to have control over the economic life
blood of a vast region.
Just as an adverse balance of foreign trade tends
to bankrupt a nation, so the constant drain from a municipality
of payments to a foreign-owned utility tends to economic impoverishment.
Given administration of equal quality, the ideal status of a
city utility is that it is fully amortized and is owned by the
public it serves. Regional independence from a perpetual drain
is no less important for an area as large as that of the TVA
than for a city.
I believe the President knows that no waving of
a magic political wand will do away with such economic drains
and the social frustration that goes with it for the people
of a whole region. In every move we make to bring about a change
from waste to order we shall be treading on someone's toes,
hurting someone who profits by it. Even the housewife who establishes
thrift in her kitchen is robbing the scavenger who collects
her garbage. Every step of economic planning will be contested
by those who are interested in things as they are.
Support for such a program of social and economic
planning as projected in the Tennessee Valley must come from
those who will for the moment overlook their minor losses in
the process of readjustment, and will think of the widely distributed
prosperity and well-being which will come if a fair chance can
be given for the fulfillment of reasonable hopes on the part
of all men.