Employee Ownership: A Presidential Ideal

This President’s Day, the Employee-owned S Corporations of America (ESCA) celebrates a long history of American leaders standing up for workers’ success. From the factory office to the Oval Office, support for employee ownership aligns with the greatest of American ideals:

  • Freedom: Employee ownership is proven to boost wealth while increasing job security, granting employees the freedom to earn more, share more, and invest in more opportunities for themselves and their communities. No wonder Ronald Reagan once said employee ownership is “a path that befits a free people.”
  • Equality: Although John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were rivals in their day, they both agreed that worker ownership would lessen the burden of an unequal society. Many generations later, their consensus still rings true: in 2016, a study by former White House economist Jared Bernstein found that employee stock ownership plans are effective at increasing capital ownership while reducing wage inequality.
  • Opportunity: In the 1860s, Abraham Lincoln’s Homestead Act ensured Americans from across the country could take part in an ownership culture. Today, employee ownership offers opportunity and promise for more than 13.5 million Americans, including many Midwestern descendants of the first Homesteaders.
  • Community: Bill Clinton once said that the United States “needs a spirit of community, a sense that we are all in this together.” Americans agree that employee ownership fits this spirit: more than two-thirds believe letting workers have a share in their company’s success is the definition of an “All-American” value.

Whatever your view of presidents past and present, the idea of employee ownership has made an impact on these American leaders and the people who elected them. As we acknowledge the 45 people who have served as our country’s commanders in chief, let’s also remember to celebrate the ownership culture they have admired and promoted for more than two hundred years.