‘Shared ownership’ in the presidential race

While Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are battling it out on the appropriate rate for minimum wage ($12 and $15, respectively), economic policies pertaining to “shared ownership” strategies, such as employee ownership and profit-sharing, deserve greater attention. Both forms of shared ownership have been shown to boost economic growth by increasing productivity, profits, wages, and firm innovation. Both Clinton and Sanders support shared ownership; in order to determine what policies will be most beneficial, an in-depth dialogue on the merits of these plans is essential.

Sanders has introduced two bills on employee ownership. Under his Worker Ownership, Readiness and Knowledge Act, the Department of Labor would provide funding to states to establish employee ownership centers. Modeled on the success of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center, these centers would provide training and support for programs promoting employee ownership. A second bill would establish a US Employee Ownership Bank to provide loans that enable employees to purchase businesses, either through an employee stock ownership plan or a worker-owned cooperative.

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