However, beyond the populist outrage over the size of Wall Street bonuses and other excesses of the super-rich is the simple logic that the federal government is the only entity big enough "" and the tax structure the only means powerful enough "" to divert some of the wealth at the top downward to pay for needed programs and to create needed jobs.
Government spending also is the only practical way to redistribute the extraordinary wealth created by technological productivity and global trade so those twin developments can benefit the broader population and keep the economic wheels spinning.
This spending could focus on pressing needs, like renewable energy, public transportation, improved education and accessible health care. But of equal importance, it could provide today's "surplus workers" with meaningful work so they can pay their bills and support their families.
As Justice Louis D. Brandeis noted more than 60 years ago, "we can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
But first the American people will have to decisively reject another famous quote, Ronald Reagan's paradigm that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.