The statement is saying that there is a price to be paid, referred to as the ugly truth, if people are to achieve their goals.
It can be understood in two ways.
The first is that a certain level of income is required for individuals to be able to exploit their potential. Poverty is a trap that prevents people from gaining the skills and education necessary for advancement. So society has to be ready to pay the necessary wages and give the assistance that people require to prosper.
The obverse is that people have to pay the taxes that government requires in order to provide the services that people need.
So, in the writer's view, the pain of paying taxes and spending money on the underprivileged - the ugly truth - is the necessary price of allowing people to achieve their goals.
In short, you get nothing for nothing. If you want something, you have to pay for it one way or another.