To Tackle Ills of ‘Unfettered Capitalism,’ Sanders Plan Would Give Workers Seats on Corporate Boards and Reverse Trump Tax Cuts

October 14, 2019 by Common Dreams

“The establishment tells us there is no alternative to unfettered capitalism, that this is how the system and globalization work and there’s no turning back. They are dead wrong.”

by Jake Johnson, staff writer

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) visits striking United Auto Workers union members as they picket at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Taking aim at the vast inequities produced by America’s business-dominated economic system, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday unveiled a far-reaching proposal that would roll back President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and transfer more power to U.S. workers by giving them seats on corporate boards and ownership shares in their companies.

“This is the most ambitious plan on corporate ownership ever put out by a presidential candidate.”
—Peter Gowan, Democracy Collaborative

“The establishment tells us there is no alternative to unfettered capitalism, that this is how the system and globalization work and there’s no turning back. They are dead wrong,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, writes on his website. “The truth is that we can and we must develop new economic models to create jobs and increase wages and productivity across America.”

“Instead of giving huge tax breaks to large corporations that ship our jobs to China and other low-wage countries, we need to give workers an ownership stake in the companies they work for, a say in the decision-making process that impacts their lives, and a fair share of the profits that their work makes possible in the first place,” said the Vermont senator.

In his “Corporate Accountability and Democracy” plan, Sanders proposes, among other reforms:

  • Giving workers the power to directly elect at least 45 percent of their firm’s board of directors;
  • Requiring large corporations and all publicly traded companies “to provide at least two percent of stock to their workers every year until the company is at least 20 percent owned by employees”;
  • Rolling back “all of the disastrous corporate tax breaks enacted under Trump, closing corporate tax loopholes, and demanding that large corporations pay their fair share of taxes”;
  • Halting corporate mega-mergers and retroactively undoing mergers that have taken place under Trump; and
  • Eliminating corporations’ use of offshore tax havens.

Peter Gowan, senior policy associate at the Democracy Collaborative, a left-wing think tank, told Vox that “this is the most ambitious plan on corporate ownership ever put out by a presidential candidate.”

“[This is] giving real bones to Sanders’s vision of democratic socialism,” said Gowan.

“In America today, corporate greed is destroying the social and economic fabric of our society and rapidly moving our nation into an oligarchy, in which a small handful of multi-billionaires increasingly determine our economic, environmental, and political future,” said Sanders. “By giving workers seats on corporate boards and a stake in their companies, we can create an economy that works for all of us, not just the one percent.”

The Sanders campaign estimated the proposal would raise $3 trillion in revenue over ten years, $2 trillion of which would be used to fund the senator’s Green New Deal plan.

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