How did socialism become a dirty word in the US?

Digital Originals

Polls have shows that more young people are open to the idea of socialism, but for many others it’s equivalent to being un-American. CGTN’s Megan Pratz explains.

Socialism has been a buzzword in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, especially after the recent success of prominent Social Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Both are more than likely going to win congressional seats in the midterms.

While America’s left may be pleased, the increasing popularity of Social Democrats has many conservatives jeering.

But what exactly IS socialism? And how did it get such a bad reputation in the United States?

Many view socialism as a form of government that pushes for collective ownership of the economy where the government heavily regulates the public sphere.

Pure socialism doesn’t exist, but there are many examples of social democracy around the world. Denmark and Sweden have limited government ownership, but extensive state regulation.

These countries adopted social democracy because they believe it provides fair distribution of wealth — without preventing economic growth.

But Danes and Swedes are also heavily taxed for social programs and health care.

And, that’s generally true across the world—the more social programs provided by a government, the higher the taxes.

The founders of the United States believed in limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty.

Discontent over British taxes led to a colonial rebellion and American independence. So, the idea of more regulation – and more taxes – is generally unpopular in the U.S.

For many politicians, calling opponents socialists is like calling them “un-American.”

But this may be changing. Policies like universal healthcare and free higher education are resonating with people.

According to recent polls, Americans are warming up to socialism, especially if they’re under 30.

According to Gallup, only 15 percent of Americans under 30 believe “socialist” is an insult, compared to 45 percent of Americans who are 65 and older.