In the welfare state equation it is the middle class that gets screwed. The middle class pays plenty of taxes while the poor and the crony rich use the system paid for by the middle class. (Paid for by the middle class to a large degree and used by the poor and crony rich in their respective ways.)
How about we slash taxes for the middle class massively? Let people keep what they are forced to pay in payroll taxes and income taxes, and let people use the capital to instead start businesses and/or send their kids to college without federal loans. That seems more sane to me than the current system.