After the first few lines of liberal columnist Thomas Friedman’s piece in Sunday’s New York Times, you would have thought he had finally seen the light:

“If we want to bring down unemployment in a sustainable way, neither rescuing General Motors nor funding road construction will do it.”

Yes, exactly. Maybe he’s finally seen the disastrous stimulus bill (that he supported) for what it is—a failure.

“We need to create a big bushel of new companies.”

Preach it, brother.

“We’ve got to get more Americans working again for their own dignity—”

Yes! Exactly!

“—and to generate the rising incomes and wealth we need to pay for existing entitlements, as well as all the new investments we’ll need to make.”

Say what? And he was doing so well.

This sort of commentary exemplifies a pervasive liberal attitude towards the economy. Even when they are worried about it, their main concern is their ability to continue to fund increasingly large and unstable dependency programs. As in so many other areas, liberals see “job creation” as a means to an end. And that end is the expansion of the welfare state and the rising dependence of the average American on government. A recent Heritage report revealed that roughly 60.8 million Americans rely on the government for their daily housing, food, and health care while a growing share of Americans—more than 34 percent of all tax filers—pay no income tax.

This is simply unsustainable.

What we need as a country is entitlement reform, a reduced dependency economy and—fundamentally—a shift in the conception of the government’s role as a benefactor for moral as well as economic reasons. As President Reagan once said, “Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.” We need to restore a government that encourages growth while empowering people to be self-sufficient.