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 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...)
Throughout President Truman's two terms in office, his administration did its best to continue the march of FDR's lavish understanding of government; for example, in 1945 Truman planned to draft a Federally mandated healthcare bill (Read about it here), four years later his administration advocated for a scheme that would introduce 'equitable distribution of the income' for farmers (Click here to read about that) - while 1948 saw the President's Commission on Higher Education recommend that the Federal Government pay for the first two years of everyone's college education (Click here). All the while (or at least until 1948) dismissing the concept of middle-class tax cuts as a favor for "the rich".
President Truman's vision of governance was as disturbing to many Americans in the Forties and Fifties as the 21st Century two-term Democratic President Barak Obama, and, as you will see from the articles on this page, both men inspired the same sort of editorial rantings.
Even as early as 1894 socialism was recognized as wishful thinking.
This article was written long before the crumbling Euro and the economic collapse of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Venezuela, East Germany and the USSR - it is an 1894 editorial that outlines why socialism cannot not work:
"He insists that all previous Social evolutions have meant an improvement in production and an increase in income, but the peculiarity of the Socialistic programme is that “it is to be not a money-making, but a money-spending evolution,” in which “everybody is to live a great deal better than he has been in the habit of living, and to have far more fun."
Surprisingly, these definitions outlining Left and Right in American politics are almost accurate descriptions for our own day, but they still fall short in a number of areas - yet, wouldn't it be amazing if they still sufficed after all the numerous tremors that have served to rearrange the sociopolitical landscape during the past sixty years?
When the largely agricultural province of Saskatchewan (Canada) began their flirtation with socialism they, too, started with laws involving insurance - car insurance! read about it here...