A little practical philosophy. Many often ask, why do we have welfare? Why does the government take my (hard-earned) money and give it to someone (less deserving) else? Isn't that socialism? Doesn't socialism lead straight to economic stagnation, and in turn big evil tyrannies, like Russia, or China? These are good questions, and since the practical party is going to continue to support these socialist policies, it's neccessary to give a good answer.
It is my belief that there needs to exist a finely tuned balance between capitalism and socialism. Capitalism produces losers. This is because it includes risks, many risks, and some people get unlucky. Those losers need a second, maybe third chance to get back on their legs. They and their children need to be provided with the same opportunities that are alotted to the winners (education, survival, good line of credit). Why? For starters, it's humane, but more sensibly, it's in our best interests. The winners can become too powerful, monopolizing items such as education or specific businesses, bringing about short term gains for them at the cost of long-term losses for all. Some of these long term losses: obviously, monopolies breed incompetence, also, if most of the economic wealth is concentrated in the hands of few, they'll try and take the political power as well (take note of where most the politicians come from...). More subtly, and importantly, it's not worth the cost of letting those losers sit out in the rain. When someone loses faith and hope in a system, they try and force change upon that system, often producing extreme movements of some sort. Most infamous of these extreme movements is communism, as in Russia, China, and North Korea, but there are countless other grassroots movements that started amongst the disenfranchised "losers" of the current system and ended up dominated by power-hungry dictators.
This balance concept is a conclusion that Europe came to post-WWII, after having suffered through both extremes and various socialist revolutions for the last 150 years. They created capitalist states with socialist programs, bringing about a stable & prosperous balance that have lasted them 50 years. With economic stagnation setting in, that balance needs some tweaking, but I have confidence that their political institutions can deliver.
This is also a problem that many oil-states have been facing for the last 25-30 years. They have too much socialism, essentially using oil-money to create millions of ornamental, yet paying, government jobs. This coupled with their political situation creates millions of young, frustrated, idle, disenfranchised men and women. These same ingredients ledto the communist revolutions and fascism, and I hope that they can reform before the oil starts running out.
Socialist policies are humane. Socialist policies have also sedated & delivered hope & faith to generations of capitalistic losers. The checks the winners have to pay merely maintain a system that benefits them most. They really benefit everyone, fitting the axiom "what goes around, comes around". Thus practical policy should seek to find a balance between capitalism and socialism.