You will recall that upon ascending to the throne of the United States of America, King Barack Obama was bestowed with the coveted Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm. Not because he had ever in his entire public or private life done anything to promote peace, or even to enter into a conversation about it in any public forum, but just because it was, you know, the right thing to do, said the Swedes. Uh huh. So under the reign of Barack the First, that World Peace thing has turned out just fantastiska, hasn’t it Svedie?
But who’s to say Barack Obama is not a leader? His push to raise the American minimum wage and the example he is setting with federal workers is being heeded by corporate
America Sweden at least. That’s right, the furniture giant IKEA, a Swedish company doing business in America has announced that it’s raising the pay of it’s entry-level US workers by a whopping 17%!
Now what is that if not “doing the right thing”, eh? The right thing, according to IKEA, is not just what Obama says it is, but what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says it is – a living wage.
Olson said that Ikea is basing its wage increase on the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which takes into consideration housing, food, medical and transportation costs plus annual taxes. Ikea says it’s a significant departure from the retail industry standard, which sets wages according to the local employment market.
Wouldn’t it be great if the Social Security Administration would take a cue from IKEA and MIT and hike the monthly benefit of S.S. recipients (you know, the aged and infirm and unemployable among us) a little bit more than the 0-1.5% that has been so trendy ever since Obama took over? Never mind. That’s a story for another day.
So what are the Swell Swedes to do, just forego some of their profit margin so their lowly workers can take their bosses’ largesse to the bank? Why, no, they’re going to institute cost savings measures to pay for it all. And what would those measures be? Those would be these:
Olson emphasized that the pay increase will not lead to higher prices, reduced work hours or job losses. Rather, the raises are being offset by such cost-cutting measures as using national purchase programs for such items as cleaning services or printer paper. In the past, each store would use individual suppliers.
Got that? IKEA’s pay raises will not lead to higher prices, reduced work hours or job losses. Wellll, not at IKEA, anyway. The question comes begging: What if you, Mom and Pop in Peoria, have been trusted vendors for your local IKEA store and all of a sudden they say your cleaning services are no longer required? Um, job losses maybe? Reduced work hours because of the loss of the big IKEA contract maybe?
Or let’s say you’re a local purveyor of printer paper to IKEA and due to the volume with IKEA you’ve been able to keep your prices affordable for your other customers, and now all of a sudden that’s gone. Um, higher prices maybe?
Sweden of course has historically been a pretty socialist country, so the ethos and rationale and business practices in Sweden have no doubt adapted to the governing style and the societal norms. By IKEA going to “national” suppliers, they further the trend of relegating local economies to merely small potatoes enterprises, like maybe operating a diner (serving meatballs maybe?) or a bar or perhaps a massage service (Scandinavian-style massage, perhaps?), while everything else is conglomerated, outsourced and megascale, and run out of New York, London and of course …Stockholm.
Yes, those Swedes are really something, aren’t they? Always ready to be the trendsetter and interference runner and do-gooder in American politics and business. And it’s all risk-free to them, because their costs are covered (and no doubt their backs as they Partner with the Progressives.
That’s okay though. Forget IKEA. We’ve always been partial to ABBA, and we hear they’re making a comeback. So relax and enjoy.
And remember: If you’re hankering for a ‘living wage’ and can’t get on at IKEA, it might be a good idea to move to Sweden. We hope they take good care of you there because jobs in this country are going the way of Peace in the Middle East- poof!