We're glad to see Sam Nunn, until his retirement last year the senior United States senator from Georgia, move back into the public arena as co-chair of the Concord Coalition, the citizen lobby for budget sanity in Washington. In that capacity he takes up the work of the late Paul Tsongas, another former senator and independent-minded Democrat. Mr. Tsongas, from the liberal bastion of Massachusetts, was a tireless campaigner for fiscal responsibility - and a bright example of the courage needed to buck the political tide.
Mr. Nunn, joining with yet another Senate alumnus, Republican Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, stepped into the Concord Coalition post with these words: "We'll have deficits as far as we can see them unless we put all the cards on the table, including Social Security."
Easy to say if you no longer have to worry about the next election? Perhaps, but there are a few courageous politicians who have looked hard at the figures and have been saying that right along - including Nunn, Rudman, and Tsongas. The Georgian also proclaimed the need for such reasonable steps as adjustment in the consumer price index to get rid of overestimates of inflation and thus temper government entitlement payments. And he expressed faith that all Americans - including the retirees whose electoral clout is legendary - would back such common sense moves when forthrightly presented with the facts.
Common sense is always in political favor but rarely in evidence politically. Nunn and Rudman have an ample fund of it, and their fellow citizens, in and out of office, would do well to listen.