What are some practices in the American economy that can be characterized as socialist in nature?
Although the United States may give lip service to free enterprise capitalism, in fact, it is, like all developed economies a hybrid, with substantial dirigiste (i.e., central authority directed) and socialist components. First, the government is the single largest employer in the country. Many important economic activities, such as education, culture, scientific research, and infrastructure are located mainly in the public sector. Massive defense spending leads to a de facto socialism in a large segment of the economy, with many large public companies being heavily subsidized by government investment (Boeing and other aerospace companies are an example). Finally, agriculture is heavily government subsidized. Ranchers, for example, graze animals for artificially low costs on public lands, and the US government subsidizes farm prices.