KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Basic rights, economic injustice, and wealth disparity are all issues the U.S. faces. More than 2/3rds of Americans think they are the most important issues in America right now. That’s according to Greg Graves, retired C.E.O. at Burns and McDonnell and author of “Create Amazing.”
Graves joins FOX4’s John Holt and Kansas City Star Editorial Board member Dave Helling on the latest episode of “4Star Politics” to talk about wealth, leadership and what he thinks needs to change to help everyone in America succeed.
“The gap is, it’s almost unbelievable. When you look at it statistically, 1% of American families have 15 times the wealth of the entire bottom 50%,” Graves said. “If we let that continue, they’re all going to get on ships and sail somewhere else, we have to fix this, and we have to fix this now.”
Graves said the situation we’re in isn’t the fault of the successful or the unsuccessful. He describes our society as “capitalism on steroids,” where the rich get richer and the poor continue to struggle.
“We can think about the dinosaur of the American current minimum wage. We can think about the loss of power of labor unions in America, and we can talk about what do we want to do about health care and education,” Graves said. ” The argument of the book is that let’s make the American worker the owner.”
He said that with that shift, things start to change naturally. When people have ownership in a company they are more productive, they treat co-workers and customers better, and there is a drive to succeed. That means companies and communities become more successful.
“Take only the benefit of ownership and grant that through earned grants to the employees, don’t cut their pay, don’t cut their benefits. In fact, I argue, why would you want to do any of those things, f the owners are the employees, and the employees are the owners,” Graves said. “I should want my firm to be the very best place and you do all those things to make that possible.”
He also pointed out that half of Americans haven’t saved anything for retirement, and that will likely be the country’s next financial disaster.
“If they’re dependent on Social Security, or their 401k, which some companies haven’t offered, or pensions, which are going away, then we’re going to have retirement crisis, like we just can’t believe and it’s going to make the money that the trillions of dollars that we spent on COVID is going to make it look small,” Graves said.
Graves suggests that instead of giving employees just enough so they don’t leave, give them as much as possible so they’ll be happy to stay.
Watch the full episode of 4Star Politics in the above video player.
FOX4 and The Kansas City Star are partnering to bring you 4Star Politics, a special digital venture with new episodes released Wednesdays at 5 p.m.