Edit: After several pages it's become apparent that the discussion is more about the place of welfare and entitlement spending. I'm therefore changing the headline but leaving my original argument below:
Creating this thread as a spin-off of a discussion in the War on Women thread.
Here's my belief - there's definitely a role for the government in providing a temporary safety net and protections for the most vulnerable (the very young and very old). HOWEVER, it is my belief that charities - both religious and secular - can do a much better job of handling long-term solutions to social problems. Furthermore, it's my assertation that constant expansion of social welfare programs will in the long run bankrupt the country, and do little to help people break the cycle of poverty. Since 1964 and the beginning of the Great Society, the federal government has spent $12 trillion dollars on welfare with little tangible results. My problem is not with all government spending, just out-of-control spending that doesn't seem to be addressing underlying issues.