There is a certain irony to the fact that a word like socialism has been historically vilified and falsely pounded into the American psyche as an alien deprivation of an individual's rights, when one need only look at the history and organization of the corporation in this country and elsewhere to realize that it and not democratic socialism more closely approximates this hijacking of the American body politic.
In fact, democratic socialism programs arguably have saved free enterprise capitalism in our country and around the world by cleaning up after the unrestrained excesses of endemic corporate greed that has cyclically been allowed to continuously tank the world economy, e.g. The Great Depression of 1929 or the more recent credit default swap, sub prime, and Euro-Zone fiascos.
Democratic socialism programs arguably have saved free enterprise capitalism in our country and around the world by cleaning up after the unrestrained excesses of endemic corporate greed that has cyclically been allowed to continuously tank the world economy.
In trying to understand why corporations and not democratic socialism are so toxic to the American economy and body politic, one need only examine corporate structure and the relatively recent history of the corporation. Most Americans today might be surprised to find out that a corporation used to exist at the will of the sovereign and could have its charter revoked at will by the government, if it crossed certain legal lines. This served to keep the enormous power that was agregated in corporations in check throughout the first part of the 19th century.
This came to an end with the advent of corporate personhood, which actually had a rather positive motivation and justification in the beginning. It was to get people to invest in corporations, where their liability could be limited to the amount of their investment. Otherwise, nobody would have invested in an entity that could have opened them up to unlimited liability. But some entity had to be capable of being held liable for wrongdoing under the law to give those hurt by corporations a remedy.
However, this corporate personhood was only supposed to be for purposes of the liability and was never anticipated as giving these entities the ability they now have as legal fiction humanoids to control the political process with the infusion of huge amounts of money that has turned things around in politics 180 degrees making the no longer sovereign government now exist at the will of the corporation.
So now, irrespective of whether a Democrat of Republican is in the White House or Congress, a corporate political party line reminiscent of the old Communist Soviet Union is blindly followed by the vast majority of American politicians who would find themselves out of a job, if they fail to rubber stamp a corporate agenda that includes such things as funding endless trillion dollar wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that corporate interests obscenely profit from or a Trans-Pacific Partnership that further erodes the interests of the American worker in favor of corporate interests that continue to pledge allegiance to the country that gives them the best deal.
As a clear democratic socialist alternative to this corporate agenda that has already shown its efficacy, one need only look at federal government involvement in "socialist" programs like Social Security, the Tennessee Valley Authority, or the building of Hoover Dam to realize how such projects used a form of democratic socialism to infuse money into a purposeful decimated economy in a manner that jump started the moribund capitalist system. What seems clear both then or now is that this corporate dominated system seems incapable of getting itself out of periodic depressions corporate interests continue to create with endemic laissez faire capitalist excesses that continue to be allowed to totally usurp any reasonable government control or regulation at all of our expense.
The pendulum has now swung so far to the right and the interests of corporations over those of citizens that a no-brainer like single-payer healthcare, which would offer superior healthcare to all citizens at a fraction of the cost, is a non-starter without any rational justification as to why this is the case.
But given the clear raison d'etre of corporations to maximize profit, no matter what the cost, why should we be surprised? What is surprising is how these robber barons continue to get away with pilfering the public piggy bank, while getting the public misdirecting its angst toward godless-commie-pinko-alien democratic socialists who were probably also responsible for origin sin.