Friday, July 31, 2015

Workers deserve a share of corporate profits

Big business shouldn't monopolize all the gains.
There was a time many politicians told the public they would benefit from companies earning huge profits. Trickle-down economics, it was called. But even the most deceitful of leaders no longer brings it up. Why? Because it's a big, fat lie.

The people have realized they've been duped. Income inequality is at levels not seen in some 90 years. Big business is taking big bucks to the bank, but few are going back in the wallets of their workers. That's got to change. And the Center for American Progress (CAP) has some ideas how.

A new report released this month says companies need to share more with their employees. It notes the typical workers is almost 60 percent more productive than a worker 25 years ago but has seen only half of their extra work translate into higher wages. While the top 20 percent of families have seen their average worth increase by 120 percent between 1983 and 2010, the middle 20 percent only grew 13 percent, and the bottom fifth saw debts exceed their assets.

It's time for that to change, CAP says:
Broad-based sharing programs—such as granting workers an ownership stake or a share of profits based on workers’ collective performance—can help ensure that workers are rewarded for the wealth they generate. Advocates for these programs refer to this type of sharing by a number of names, including broad-based profit sharing and inclusive capitalism. Collectively, these programs hold the potential not only to benefit workers: Research shows that firms and investors also receive tangible benefits from sharing with their workers.
Calls to revamp this nation's busted economy are getting more frequent. Earlier this year, the Roosevelt Institute released a report of their own written by noted economist Joseph Stiglitz that demanded similar change to revamp the U.S. economic model.

Writing about the document earlier this month in the Huffington Post, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said it provides a blueprint that workers must insist lawmakers adopt:
Working Americans are being tested by the state of today's economy. But it is not one they can pass on their own. Regular people have led the charge in raising awareness about these issues and taking to the streets all across this country to let elected officials know that the minimum wage is too low, Wall Street is making too much and trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership offer too large of a handout for big business at the expense of workers.
This nation needs systematic change. ... It is time for more lawmakers to declare their independence from big banks and corporate cronies who bend their ears and fill their campaign coffers with cash. Their constituents deserve to have members of Congress who hear their concerns and institute policies to make change happen.
It's great that most elected officials now accept the failings of the past. But if workers want justice, they need to to raise their voices and demand it. Otherwise, too many elected officials will continue to serve their corporate cronies instead.