Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), one of the most conservative members of Congress, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), one of the most liberal, have both introduced sweeping proposals to broaden employee ownership in the U.S. That surprising fact testifies to just how practical—and urgent—this idea is.

Too many Americans have too little wealth. Just over 20 percent of all Americans have no wealth at all. Forty percent of Americans cannot cover a financial emergency with available cash, forcing them to need to borrow money, put it on a credit card, raid their retirement accounts (if they have one), or other less than optimal choices. Only about half the working age population has retirement savings of any kind. The racial disparities are even starker. The net worth of a typical white family is nearly ten times greater than that of a Black family. About 60 percent of white families have retirement accounts; 30 percent of Black families do. The median ownership of stock by white families is nearly eight times as high as Black families. Housing equity is about 2.5 times greater among white than Black families. While the differences are less stark for Hispanic families, the disparities remain very large.

This lack of access to wealth is economically, socially, and psychologically devastating. Wealth means options; wealth means security; wealth means we can plan for the future. With wealth, we can send our kids to college, take a chance on a new job or starting a business, handle an emergency, and much more.

Continue reading Corrie Rosen’s article, Employee ownership, the wealth gap and current crisis