This was a huge misconception brought about after the World Wars. It was taught that both were equally bad. Even Marx recognized the difference, but he also noted that socialism is just a stepping stone into communism. Socialism is the practice of taking some of what someone has earned or created, and giving a portion or the excess to someone else who did not invest in that particular product. There is still personal property. The idea of "yours" and "mine" still exists and is reinforced by property rights and other such ownership rights. Communism is defined as no more "mine," but only "ours"
Communism is a subset of socialism, not the other way around. In other words, communism can be labeled a brand of socialism. However, socialism is a different political system from communism. Many European countries are socialist in nature while having democratic and republican ideals. Communist countries take socialism to the extreme while have despotic regimes such as China, Vietnam and North Korea.
There is a big difference between a socialist and a communist state. For example, today Sweden is a socialist country, whereas countries like North Korea and the People's Republic of China are communist countries. Socialism involves minimal control of the economy by the government, whereas Communism involves total or near total control.
Yes, there is truly a difference between a socialist and a communist state, because a communist state has even more intervention than a socialist state. In the socialist state, people are still allowed to decide what they want to do, within the confines of a lot of regulation. In a communist system, people are told what to do from cradle to grave.
For those who don't. Power seldom wants to be given up by the few. Socialism is an economic policy, not a political one. To centralize economic decisions on a "select" few. Who after wielding such power do not wish to have competition. Thus driving up taxes, fees etc to keep low income earners there. Make it extremely hard to move up in the economic ladder, but easy to go down. Which pushes for more government programs to "help fight the war on poverty".
More centralize decisions, to "help the people", ends up in an expanding government to meet the needs of said expanding government.
In the end, socialism is an economic policy that is the slow but sure sure road to communism.
There is no real difference a communist just tells you what and when you can do everything. Socialists are a little more relaxed and they care more about their people. Communist will dictate when you do everything all the time and when you can watch certain things and when you could eat and what days you are to use the water.
Look around. More laws have been created than there ever have been. Buy osamacare or pay a fine for existing. More regulations with everything. Less creativity is the product of regulations and rules. Everything you say will be judged or have someone offended. America is beginning to show weakness. Libs being offended with everything someone says. What happened to free speech. Black people can criticize white people. But when a white person even mentions a minority then thats a no go. Look around.