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Also Too Big Too Fail


Our look at some prime, albeit overlooked, candidates for a bailout.

Over the course of the near-collapse of the financial system, the government has moved quickly to shore up those institutions it deems to be too big to fail, while letting others go quietly into the night. Bear Stearns and American International Group (AIG): Too big to fail. Ditto Bank of America (BAC), Goldman Sachs (GS), and Morgan Stanley (MS), which will share in $250 billion in cash infusions. Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual: Not so much.

By restricting help to the financial sector, the government's overlooking a number of strong candidates for a bailout - institutions, past and present, that should all be deemed "too big to fail."


No, not Detroit's Big 3, though they're passing the hat around in Congress. We're talking about those big, lovable reptiles whose reign could have lasted millions of years longer had they been adequately prepared for that asteroid collision. Maybe we'd have less Jeff Goldblum movies and fewer claims of intelligent design.

San Francisco 49ers.

The 21st century hasn't been kind to the venerable 49ers. Scandal, injury and poor decision-making have kept them banging around at the bottom of the NFL ranks for the last few years. To help, the government could offer to buy their toxic assets (read: players).

Sarah Palin's hair.

There's a saying in Alaska -- we know it's in Tennessee, probably in Alaska -- that says: The higher the hair, the closer to God. A collapse of Palin's locks would destroy what her governorship was founded on. For her constituents' sake, it's best lawmakers keep that beehive taut and sprayed.

Britney Spears.

The tastemakers at MTV have already done part of the job by awarding Spears 3 Video Music Awards for a record of questionable quality. But it's just a matter of time before another tornado tears through this trailer park.

The Sun.

About 5 billion years from now, the Sun's going to run out of hydrogen in its core - and no amount of offshore drilling can replace it. From there, well, it's lights out. What can the government do? For one, quit trying to "harness the power of the sun." The Sun's just squeaking by as it is.

Leaning Tower of Pisa.

In the 90s, the Italian government spent over $25 million to keep this shabby hut from falling over. But they didn't finish the job: It still leans! Girders would take away the vista's pastiche, so how about a hand-crafted, stained-glass support beam?

Eddie Murphy.

The Adventures of Pluto Nash cost $100 million to make, but grossed just $7 million worldwide. The latest flop in Eddie Murphy's downward spiral, Meet Dave, cost $55 million and grossed only $5 million. What's needed here isn't a bailout, it's a law: Eddie Murphy can only make R-rated movies and play one character per film.

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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