08/23/2012 11:49 am ET Updated Oct 23, 2012

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that cutting spending is neither easy, nor simple, nor fast. Republicans may imagine that they are leading a Blitzkrieg against government, but the reality is that it is trench warfare." -- Bruce Bartlett (2011)

I am seeing a lot of commentary these days indicating that liberals condescendingly believe that without the government's redistribution of wealth, people in this country are incapable of success.

Thus, conservatives who want to pull government spending from public programs like to say that they are doing so out of a profound confidence in the American individual.

Sadly, the elimination of such programs actually amounts to a profound inequality within our economic structure.

Yes, individual resourcefulness, ingenuity and hard work are necessary for success. But they are not a substitute for government funding of necessary programs related to health care, child welfare, temporary unemployment, or infrastructural repairs, among other programs.

Gore Vidal said that "to be liberal is to want to extend democracy through change and reform."

I believe that our democracy is best served when reforms allow for all people to have a fair chance at success.

And in a country that has been historically classist and racist, that reform necessarily includes programs providing increased access to opportunity for the poor and for people of color.

And in a country that has been historically no-holds-barred capitalist, that reform necessarily includes programs providing relief for those who are experiencing hardship under our troubled economy at the present time.

And yes, that reform necessarily includes individual and corporate taxation and accountability according to actual income level, unlike the policies previously enacted (to bailout acclaim) among the Wall Street set.

I do not believe that without government spending, people in this country are destined for failure.

I believe that without balancing the access to health, wealth, and opportunity in this country, America itself is destined for failure.