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Shocker: Republicans Fight Obama Plan to Privatize the Hugely Popular, Cheap Energy Source of the TVA

Obama's scheme to sell off the Tennessee Valley Authority gets push-back from Tennessee Republicans who know the benefits of a publicly-owned facility.

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Around the world, there are also thousands of highly successful examples of so-called socialism like the TVA. Public enterprises operate advanced high-speed rail networks in many countries. Public ownership of significant or controlling shares of airlines is also common. More than 200 public and semi-public banks, along with over 80 funding agencies, account for a fifth of all bank assets in the European Union. Faster and more widely available Internet access is provided in many countries where public corporations exist side by side with private companies, and public telecommunications companies are also common around the world.

Most Americans are clearly not nearly as ready as citizens of other countries to think about public ownership at this scale—or even at the scale of the TVA. On the other hand, stranger things have happened. Possibly one day the United States might catch up with the kinds of practical things being done in many parts of the world—or even, for that matter, with what Republicans representing areas served by the Tennessee Valley Authority think makes sense.

Gar Alperovitz is the co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative. His most recent book is "What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution."

Thomas M. Hanna is the senior research assistant at the Democracy Collaborative.