August 12, 2019

CNBC Coverage of Employee Ownership

On August 11, CNBC.com journalist Ganesh Setty's article Democrats bash corporate greed, but more stocks for all Americans may be a better wealth redistribution method described the economic landscape of increasingly concentrated wealth, as well as the plans advanced by several of the Democratic presidential candidates. Citing research by the NCEO, including the Employee Ownership 100 and Employee Ownership and Economic Well-Being (PDF), the article notes that employee-owners have 92% greater net household wealth than non-employee-owners. CNBC cited research from Rutgers that found "ownership boosts company productivity by 4%, shareholder returns by 2% and profits by 14 percent." 

The article listed a number of legislative initiatives, both proposed and enacted, by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker, all of which would support employee ownership. (Another Democratic hopeful who has sponsored pro-employee ownership legislation, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, was not mentioned in the article.) Why, the author wonders, with so many advocates in the race, has employee ownership not been a more common talking point? In the words of Patrick Mirza of the ESOP Association, there has been "bipartisan, bicameral support for ESOPs for a long time. It is an issue a lot of people can agree on right, left, and center." The article closes with my speculation that, for Democrats, employee ownership might be a more resonant issue in a general election, when they "are trying to make a difference between themselves and President Trump, who exemplifies the wealth gap."