Date: January 30, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
(Original document available here)
The management of Muscle Shoals demonstrates the utter hopelessness of having any considerable business enterprise conducted by the buCongress. Development of this plant was commenced under war-time pressure to furnish power to make nitrates for explosives and fertilizers. More recent discoveries and processes render it, if not obsolete, at least unnecessary for that purpose. Other domestic sources of supply make it a superfluity.
Like other war property, this plant should have been liquidated years ago. But in spite of committee, commission and executive recommendation, politics has always intervened. Rivalry among power, industrial and agricultural interests has prevented any decisive action. Nearly all concerned apparently have wanted to get some special advantage out of the government. That will always be the case with any business with which the government is involved or any property the government owns. Meantime, many useful projects on the Tennessee River are held in abeyance.
For the United States to go into the electrical business would be a gross misuse of its powers and involve it in all kinds of political abuses. The thing to do with Muscles Shoals is to dispose of it to private interests, with suitable restrictions.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Robert Manchester who prepared this document for digital publication.