Hard-hitting pieces today in the SMN on entitlements and jobs

I like tough, plain talk — as long as it is grounded in facts. And that’s been the problem with so much of the rhetoric about the deficit and debt, especially from the Tea Party: not enough facts.

As I noted in a post late last night about Robert Samuelson’s column, it’s impossible to have a serious discussion about deficits and the debt without discussing Medicare and Social Security.

Columnist Russ Wigh tackles this issue in today’s Savannah Morning News, and essentially makes the argument that taxes will have to be raised because beneficiaries like him will not stand for significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security:

As a life-long fiscal conservative I am not a fan of entitlements, but I have paid for Social Security and Medicare for 45 years. My retirement planning is predicated on the trust I have in the government that those programs will be there when and as I need them.

However, Medicare is likely the sacrificial lamb when an agreement is reached. Do you want health-care providers to do with less?

I don’t. I want them compensated for the training, the skills and knowledge they have learned and practiced, the thought they give to my needs and even to those who simply walk away from their obligations.

I also don’t want to be relegated to the back of the line because I depend on Medicare.

There is much more in the piece.

On the SMN’s op-ed page, there’s a great piece — again one based in facts — by Clare Richie with the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute titled Job creation lacking Georgia. It’s an implicit critique of the back-slapping false confidence that many of the state’s leaders have shown throughout the last four years. She cites lots of fact and then concludes:

Georgia’s discussion on unemployment should be focused on getting our unemployed workers back to work by creating more jobs, investing in education and training and providing temporary assistance.

We can start by supporting Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, who said that the primary focus of his agency needs to be “getting people connected back to a job.”

Otherwise, obtaining employment will remain a game of musical chairs in which four out of every five unemployed workers are left standing when the music stops.

Regrettably, so far Butler seems more interested in spin than in the type of substantive policies that Richie and the GBPI would advocate.

There is much more in the piece.