Here is a profile of the American leftist Norman Thomas (1884 - 1968), who sought the U.S. presidency six (6) times on the Socialist ticket. He was a former clergyman and despite the fact that he wished to ban all private property, nationalize all businesses and put the kibosh on a free press - he still sounded like swell Joe to us.
To be sure, the book review of Das Kapital by Karl Marx that appeared in The New York Times in 1887 was very different from the review that same paper would give that book today. For this reviewer, Marx was one of the "advocates of chaos", and a "militant political economist":
"If he is anything, Karl Marx is a man in a towering rage. His paragraphs are replete with kicks and cuffs. He wants to slap your face if you are a bourgeois; to smash your skull if you are a capitalist."
Click here to read an article by Leon Trotsky.
It seems difficult to imagine, but this opinion writer felt America leaning toward socialism as far back as 1949:
"While the people look more and more to Washington to do everything under the sun for them, the Federal Government hasn't been discouraging them at all. On the contrary, the Administration has been repeatedly asking for more and more powers to use when it may see fit."
He is sympathetic to their feelings, but cautions his readers that Marxism looks alluring on the printed page - but it will simply lead to serfdom in the end
IF we were to have a favorite socialist it might be the silver-tongued playwright and all around-wit, George Bernard Shaw (even though in the attached film clip he blathers-on gleefully in favor of a government that kills the non-productive elements of society). In this article, Shaw muses about how the ideal society would operate - regardless of the flaws inherit in human nature (which Marx also ignored).
Click here to read a few Shavian witticisms.
It seems like a tough nut to swallow, but 12 years before President Obama was even born - U.S. President Harry S. Truman plugged the idea of 'wealth distribution' as a portion of a piece of proposed legislation that has come to be known as the "the Fair Deal". The president's scheme was introduced to the nation in his 1949 State of the Union address, it was composed of "21 points" and the element that is discussed in the attached article involving distribution of income was called the Brannan Plan - for it was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Charles F. Brannan (1903 – 1992) who was its advocate. Secretary Brannan wanted the government to establish a guaranteed income for farmers, while allowing the market forces to determine the prices of agricultural products.
"The President wanted medical, dental and hospital care for all. Doctor's fees would be paid by a Government insurance fund, financed by a 3% payroll tax, paid 50-50 by employee and employer."
(Strange that sexual reassignment surgery wasn't included...)