President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called the Tennessee Valley Authority "neither fish nor fowl" when he proposed the federal utility as one of his New Deal programs in 1933.

Roosevelt described TVA as "a corporation clothed with the power of government but possessed of the flexibility and initiative of a private enterprise." On May 18, TVA will mark its 80th birthday. As it does, it may also face an accounting of whether it should wear the cloak of government or take on the trappings of a free enterprise operation.

In his fiscal 2014 budget, President Barack Obama proposed a "strategic review" of TVA, including whether the government should divest itself of TVA.

In a section titled "Reorganizing, Consolidating and Streamlining Government," the budget proposal notes that, although TVA funds itself through electricity sales and bond financing, its debt counts against the federal deficit.

Read more from our news partner the Knoxville News Sentinel.