Hopefully I'll reach a more erudite audience in this section?

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Answer:
I think the premise is interesting but it doesn't really reach deep into the issue. There are no absolutes when it comes to liberals but many of them are truly socialists/communists and believe in the arguments/ideals set forth. Some are simply trying to clear their conscience and while they are wealthy they are trying to throw a bone to the poor because they sleep better. Lastly some simply don't understand economics like Michael Moore. Yes he's a socialist but he truly believes that the government with all it's massive beaucracy is actually an efficient way of doing things. However that's not the total picture. Lastly there is the true liberal who believes that the rich have an obligation to care for the poor, I think of these as the true liberals (social contract). There are shades of gray.

I don't think that the liberals want to have the poor any more than the conservatives want the poor. Excluding the blubbering/lying politicians on this issue we can more accurately refine the classes. Politicians just want to say whatever gets them paid and never, rock the boat unless it puts cash in their pocket. Politicians have no real understanding of the poor since none of them are poor (no matter what John "$400 haircut" Edwards says. It's all grand-standing. Currently the republicans aren't dealing with the poor much so they can't be as readily identified as hypocrites but their time will come. The truth is they talk but don't walk so we have to exclude them.

Liberals simply believe that the government knows best and income transfers can best assist the poor. They strongly believe in the "social contract" They would like the poor to be elevated to the middle class aka the rising tide raising all boats.

Conservatives believe that the ability to work hard and the level free markets will give the poor the best chance of rising up the ranks of the classes aka the rising tide raising all boats.
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No one wants the poor to exist but just has different ways of trying to solve the poverty issue. Unfortunately neither can make any headway since they can't seem to make any concessions so the rich get richer through the corrupt politicians and the poor remain dirt poor due to ineffective beaucracy. It's sad but the solutions can't be completely explored without concessions and I can't see it happening in the near future.
Yes. They are in need of points. Economists are not.
But you are right. When hearts cry at the sight of the poor and the weak, humanity demands that we take care of them and help them live a deen life. But through private charity and private effort. Not through public charitybased on tax revenues. Welfare is nothing but public charity based on tax revenues. It is an insult to both those who live on welfare and those who are forced to give taxes for welfare. It's a shame to humanity that such human beings are organised to depend on public charity based on forced contributions.
The only reason why politicians favor welfare by Govt. is to get votes. It is a disgrace that politicians purchase votes through welfare funded by forced contributions. But, it seems that modern societies encourage people to live on charity. It's not the Libs or other groups: it is a general phenomenon. The poor who lived on private charity becomes politicians, campaign for public charity for the other poor and become rulers by purchasing the votes by welfare-activism. Most modern govts. and political regimes in the poor as well as rich countries are based on this principle. Because being part of the Govt./ political cliche has become the most profitable business.
Well, there's liberal and then there's libertarian.

Our current welfare state is still not libertarian, and yet you say things are doing well. So, you are a type of 'liberal' yourself, in that you believe in welfare spending - albeit with time limits and work requirements.

Given the complexity of information on the wide variety of proposals and facts I would say the 'debate' is in a sense moot: the liberals simply want a more generous and different kind of welfare policy. And, given that many of the poor now work, why not provide more health care, education and so on? We still have large infant mortality, low life expectancy (compared to most western nations), and real wages have stagnated since the seventies.

In short, by winning the debate, instituting these reforms, throwing welfare recipients off welfare, why not treat the ones now on welfare better?

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