This is the third of three posts on topics coming from the last two nights of debates. The first two, on immigration and on Medicare for All, are available for your perusal and commenting through my user page.
In economic terminology, Socialism is where the means of production are owned publicly through the government while in Capitalism the means of production are in non-governmental hands, either held privately or through publicly traded stock shares.
This is separate from the notion of who makes the economic decisions, of what to make, how to make it, what to pay workers, what to charge. In theory the apposite descriptions are a free market system in which the government does NOT make the decisions, and a command economy, in which the government controls all those decisions.
In practice, almost all national economies have been a mixture of free market and command, which is why we call them mixed. That is true of the US.
But it is also true that the US has ALWAYS been a mixture of capitalism and socialism.
While I am framing this somewhat simplistically, I am so doing because I think much of the rhetoric that we hear about socialism mixes up the notion of ownership and decision-making, and also ignores that “we the people of the United States” are, according to the very beginning of the Constitution, the sovereigns (rulers) of this nation whose government acts in our name, supposedly on our behalf, and under our authority.