Roosevelt created the Social Security program. He insisted on a minimum wage. He fought to protect the interests of the working poor.
But FDR was firmly committed to private property and to free markets. He spoke of economic planning, and he even did a little — but he never embraced socialist-style planning.
The contemporary interest in “socialism” is (I think) mostly expressive. It is a way of raising the volume, pounding a fist and offering a signal — of saying, in shorthand, that the U.S. has far too much economic insecurity; that the current system is not working nearly well enough for millions of people; that incremental change is not enough; that bold thinking is in order.
Fair enough, and also true. But Roosevelt — the nation’s greatest progressive — was no socialist. Those who now favor large-scale change should avoid a term, and a set of practices, that have so often endangered both liberty and prosperity.