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Opinion April 12, 2011

Making Political Sense The myth of ‘too big to fail’ James Miller

Staff Columnist A large and profitable corporation engages in extremely risky behavior. A disaster occurs. The corporation quickly loses all marketable value. The government steps in to stop the fiscal unraveling by pumping in billions of taxpayer dollars. The public is told that if said corporation fails, it will be the end of the world. Profits get privatized while losses are socialized. The cycle continues. Sound familiar? Once again, the wondrous notion of “too big to fail” is beginning to rear its ugly head. Rather than be used to validate the socialistic “saving” of the global banking system, the disaster in Japan will be met with the same type of reactionary response that botched the Hurricane Katrina clean-up effort. The Japanese government has announced it is ready to offer financial assistance to the owner of the now damaged Fukushima Power plant, Toyota Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). TEPCO will most likely have a $1 billion bill on its hands whenever the accident at Fukushima is said and done. This compensation will most likely bankrupt the company. Rather than look at the circumstances that led TEPCO to build a nuclear plant unable to withstand a natural disaster, the government is opting for what it is best at: a handout. Like the financial crisis, bailouts only serve to reinforce the notion that “big daddy” government is always there to fix everything. These guarantees only entice banks to rack up billions in

mortgage backed securities without worrying about the risk they carry. In essence, implicit guarantees of support encourage investors to devote capital without proper risk assessment. Making a quick buck becomes easy in the short-term when your losses are protected in the long term. The same concept applies to Fukushima, TEPCO and its financiers. By bailing out TEPCO, the Japanese government not only sends the wrong signal to the operators of power plants, but to the public as a whole. Bankruptcy of TEPCO will be devastating to both the company and victims whom it owes compensation. This is the price to pay for building a nuclear reactor unable to withstand a natural disaster. It is the price to pay for those who were willing to live within proximity of a nuclear plant. Failure is a fact of life. It is a byproduct of the human condition. Protection from failure only inhibits success in the end. “Too big too fail” is a myth perpetuated by those who have access to the government’s wallet. Its enforcement needs to end immediately. This is not an issue of legislating barriers to taxpayer money. Barriers crumble as soon as the next disaster hits. The real issue is one of altering the mindset of the public. Letting TEPCO and its investors fail sends the perfect message: “you failed to calculate the risk involved in building a nuclear power plant, you failed by on your own accord and the public will not suffer by absorbing your loss.” It will be a tough lesson to learn, but it must start somewhere.


A coffee a day keeps the doctor away Chelsea Wehking Opinion Editor

I have been a self-admitted coffee addict since high school. My reliance on caffeine is so great that my friends know to leave me alone until I have had my coffee. I am not a morning person, and I never have been, and coffee makes me bearable during those excruciating morning hours. Because of my addiction, I have had to withstand quite the witty comment or two from my friends. But that cup of caffeine deliciousness is worth dealing with those jokes. But now, I have something to throw back at them. According to, high caffeine consumption may be determined by genetics. The study found that some people have a genetic mutation which allows people to metabolize caffeine faster than others. What is even more interesting, is that this mutation has been theorized to protect people

from dangerous toxins because they are flushed more quickly out of the body. This theory could be an explanation for why research has found coffee drinkers have been found to have fewer health problems such as strokes. This is according to a study conducted by scientists from several institutions including the National Cancer Institute and Harvard School of Public Health. For the avid coffee fiend that I am, I was very excited to hear this. The thing I am obsessed with above everything else could be good for my health. I will take that. However, what really stuck out to me is how we consume something, like coffee, every day and yet we still do not know very much about what it could do to

our bodies; whether that effect is good or bad. We have made so many advances in every branch of science, but we are still learning information about something so simple as coffee. We have visited the moon, cloned a sheep and cured HIV in a patient in Germany. And we just now discovered that coffee could prevent strokes. This just makes me wonder what other discoveries we have yet to find. Something like this really makes you realize how young our understanding of the world really is. In a small time frame, we have managed to advance astronomically, yet we still have numerous advances ahead of us. And with every passing year, our rate of progression increases. We learned and gained so much, but we still have a long way to go. It is just remarkable how much we still do not know.

What not to ‘like’ about Facebook Kevin Battersby

Asst. Opinion Editor In today’s world of flirting among college students, there is a shocking emphasis on the use of social media Web sites like Facebook to let someone know that you are thinking about them. There are some good things about this tactic, but there can also be some drawbacks if you are in a relationship. Some features, which include “poking” other Facebook users or sending them “gifts” to their page, have been used to get this point across. Although I have never used the tactics myself, there have been several instances where a young lady has sent me a “poke” to let me know that she is interested. It is confusing sometimes, as many people just poke you for fun. The way one knows they are being hit on is when the person “poking” them is someone who would not poke them in real life.

Essentially, the use of Facebook is the shy person’s approach to flirting. Facebook loses its value in holding your love interest’s attention when you post something they interpret as flirting on someone’s wall, or “poke” the wrong person. After speaking with some

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friends, it is obvious that Facebook has become a staple in all relationships. When a member of the opposite sex you are seeing tells you to not post on their wall, since their former significant other may see it, there is a definite take over of all former dating etiquette. In addition to posting on someone else’s wall being overblown

by some people, not having the proper relationship status or commenting on someone else’s photos have nearly become things that will put a wedge between couples. When did the world of dating become this bad? There will always be the traditional ways of meeting people, like at a club or through a friend, but how people can maintain a healthy relationship in our generation seems to have shifted. With all that is going on in our daily lives, silly behaviors on Facebook should not deem whether or not a relationship will be a success or a failure. People who “poke” on Facebook should not hide behind such a goofy behavior to attract a person. As for the bad side, couples should begin to have a minor talk about each others’ use of the Web site and come to an understanding that it is silly to take anything like the above mentioned so seriously. Hopefully, we will somehow overcome the power of Facebook.

Slate B1 4-12-11  
Slate B1 4-12-11  

k evin B attersBy J ames m iller Staff Columnist Opinion Editor Essentially, the use of Face- book is the shy person’s approach to flirting....