This is dated and I meant to link to this sooner. Bruce Bartlett makes "A Conservative Case for the Welfare State".
Strange as it may sound, there are efficiencies to be gained by certain state welfare functions. Privatizing Social Security, for example, is a bad idea because it privatizes gains and would socialize the losses (huge moral hazard created).
Badly-run welfare programs are a mess—and I would include corporate welfare that is off the charts. Bartlett's point is that reforming welfare would be easier and better if Americans could come to some consensus on the desirability of a social safety net.