Did you catch President Obama’s latest pandering to the youth vote?
He suggested that current law be changed so after graduation students carrying heavy loan burdens could declare bankruptcy and be freed of the debt. Congress changed the law not that many years ago because graduates were routinely declaring bankruptcy instead of paying off the debts of their college education.
Tightening the loan package was the right move—it’s the alliance between the lenders and the universities that march tuition upward regardless of the economy that has seen college students taking on ever greater debt. For the classic liberal arts education—let alone the one-offs that are good only for careers in academia—think xxxx studies—the chances of paying back those loans are getting slimmer by the day. For those majoring in hard sciences or engineering or pursuing advanced degrees leading to professional jobs, it’s a different picture.
What’s particularly telling about the President’s latest proposal is that it would only cover private lenders. With the health care reform, the government also took over the higher-education loan program. No bankruptcy would apply there—it’s only the private sector that would be left holding the bag under this latest proposal. Perhaps the horrible federal deficit had something to do with that decision.
It’s nothing new—when the Obama Administration engineered the bankruptcies> in the auto industry, it protected the unions, but left the bondholders with worthless paper. It’s proposing to do the same thing with the private lenders in the student loan sector.
SWITCHING GEARS: With San Francisco—or should I say Santa Clara—49er fans suffering sticker shock at the cost of seat licenses required for season tickets in the new stadium, it was intriguing to read a Wall Street Journal piece recently about the challenges NFL teams are having getting fans to attend the games.
Poor performance on the field—think Oakland Raiders—naturally is a top reason, but price and experience also count. Crowds have fallen by 4.5 percent across the league since 2007.
Coming off a narrow loss in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers are riding high for this year with season tickets sold out.
Whether that will be the case in Santa Clara with a minimum one-time seat license charge of $2,000 plus tickets at $85 per game or more, costs are going way up. The ‘Niners will readily argue so will the amenities in the new state-of-the-art stadium compared with the ancient Candlestick Park.
Journal reporter Kevin Clark reported that the NFL is loosening the sell-out rules to reduce blackouts of home games as well as> allowing stadium fans to watch the same replays the rest of us see during reviews of controversial calls. Teams will now have the flexibility to set their own sell-out level as long as it’s 85 percent of capacity or more.
With the broadcast experience steadily improving at home and on mobile devices and television rights revenues soaring, improving the in-stadium experience to maintain crowds has become the priority of the owners.
The Journal piece points out that the Indianapolis Colts went from a season ticket waiting list of 16,000 in 2010 to having 1,900 season tickets available for the first year without quarterback Peyton Manning, now a Denver Bronco with former Stanford star Andrew Luck poised to start for the Colts.
Stay tuned to see what happens with the 49ers. There’s lots of wealth in the South Bay, but it’s the long-time 49er Faithful who may be too stretched to part with $4,000 or more for the right to buy their tickets.