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Ikea's U.S. factory churns out unhappy workers

qweerblue

Registered Member
Of course the wealthiest country has the greatest gap, how can you have a greater gap if there is less wealth? You can't make everyone wealthy (although we have done a better job of that than any civilization throughout history) but you can make everyone except the ruling class poor (as has been proven time and time again, frequently through some form of marxism).

Why is it so easy to advocate class warfare and demonize those that have achieved an income greater than some arbitrary number like $200,000.00 or (as Obama lied about no tax increase not a single dime) $250,000.00. Why it is those very people who pay more than 50% of income tax. Those 4% pay more than the 96% of the remaining population COMBINED! They should be thanked, not demonized.

National Taxpayers Union - Who Pays Income Taxes?
First, absolute logic fail: being the wealthiest country in the world by no means suggests that the wealth has to be concentrated in the hands of the top 1, 2, or 4 % of the population. We could still be the wealthiest country in the world if 60% of us held the majority of the wealth, or if only 4% of us lived in poverty, or if every citizen had the exact same amount of wealth, or any of dozens of other scenarios. Further, the poorest country in the world could similarly have a huge gap in wealth among its citizens. It is not the total amount of wealth that determines the gap, SS--it's how the wealth is distributed.

And yeah, class warfare, whatever. As William Sloane Coffin famously said:

"When the rich take from the poor, it's called an economic plan. When the poor take from the rich, it's called class warfare."

And SS, it isn't the top 4% who pay 96% of the taxes--it's the top 50% that share that burden, and that top 50% includes those who earn just $33,000 a year. That's a vastly different scenario than what you suggest.

And, honestly, I don't care that the wealthy pay the biggest portion of taxes. Why shouldn't they? The top 20% of our population holds 80% of all the wealth. The more you make, the more you pay--that's the hallmark of a progressive tax code. Further, you're only talking about federal income taxes. If we include payroll taxes and a handful of other regressive taxes, the burden shifts downward considerably.
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
@ QB: You have mis-stated my point which is: If 4% of citizens pay more than 50% of income taxes collected, then the remaining 96% pay less than 50% of income taxes.
 

qweerblue

Registered Member
@ QB: You have mis-stated my point which is: If 4% of citizens pay more than 50% of income taxes collected, then the remaining 96% pay less than 50% of income taxes.
Where are you getting your numbers? The link you provided clearly shows that it is the "top" 50%, which includes all those who earn at least $33,000 a year, who pay 97% of the taxes.
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
The top 5% earning greater than $159,619 pay 58.72% of income taxes. I also know that 47% pay no income taxes.

Therefore, if I accept your number that 4% make $200,000 then I am assuming that they pay somewhere between 50% and 58.72%. I extrapolated that in order to put it into the terms of 4% of the population who make over $200K that you originally used.
 

qweerblue

Registered Member
The top 5% earning greater than $159,619 pay 58.72% of income taxes. I also know that 47% pay no income taxes.

Therefore, if I accept your number that 4% make $200,000 then I am assuming that they pay somewhere between 50% and 58.72%. I extrapolated that in order to put it into the terms of 4% of the population who make over $200K that you originally used.

(1) You are correct that the wealthiest 5% of our population--those who earn at least ~$160,00--pay about 59% of the federal income tax collected. When you wrote: "Those 4% pay more than the 96% of the remaining population COMBINED!", I think I misread that as you saying 4% paid 96% of the taxes--I get ya now. My bad.

(2) Yes, there are estimates that as many as 47% of US citizens paid no federal income taxes in 2009 (that number has been disputed). And do you know what group that is? Those who make less than about $30,000 a year; so, again we see that nearly half the population gets by, according to various estimates, on less than $40,000 a year. Which kind of gets back to my point that half of us, if not a majority of us, are struggling.

Also, and as I think I already said, we're only talking about federal income taxes here. Payroll taxes and other regressive taxes fall more heavily on the poor and middle-classes, as do state and local taxes.

Further, tax rates have fallen for the wealthy more rapidly and steeply during the last three decades than for any other income group. Happily enough for them, their incomes have also soared in that same time frame, while the incomes of the poor- and middle-classes have not risen as dramatically. If the wealthiest among us are contributing more in taxes now than they have previously, it is tied, in part, at the very least, to the fact that they are earning more money than ever before.

I think that's what's so galling to folks like me, and like Jeanie, if I can speak for her--by every measure, the wealthy, particularly over the past 30 years, have seen their lot improve: their tax rates have declined dramatically, their incomes have soared, and their share of total wealth has increased. By contrast, the poor- and middle-classes have seen their tax rates drop only slightly, their incomes have only moderately improved, and their share of the total wealth has decreased. Further, corporate taxes have also sharply declined. So, taking all of that into consideration, it is utterly unfathomable to some of us that people will defend $8-an-hour wages paid by billion-dollar companies, still manage to wax rhapsodic about the US having the highest standard of living in the history of mankind, and all while weaving sugar-spun tales of the merits of the free market and the power of worker agency.
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Because I believe it is up to the individual to attain that security. This sounds so much like France, where employment isn't at will. Where individuals don't have to be productive and the employer can't fire them for it.

We're human. If we don't have to produce and yet have a job most of us won't. That would create chaos. That wouldn't create productivity.

I'm not waging a war for anyone other than individualism. I believe we should all, as individuals, be held accountable for what we do, what we produce, and how hard we work.
I don't know, Cap ... I think the thing for me is that in order for all this reliance on individualism to be defensible or realistic, there needs to be the sort of level playing field that has never existed in the United States. That's why I made the earlier allusion to capitalism and fairy tales--in a world where everyone had relatively equal access to opportunities and resources and where our success really was determined by our skills and competence and by the effort and time we invest, then I would likely support capitalism as a rational way to structure the economy. Short of those extraordinary circumstances, I find capitalism to be a wildly unjust and problematic economic system.
 
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SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
@ QB: What do you mean by "payroll" and other "regressive taxes"? Payroll includes income (fed + state income) and FICA (SS/Medicare/Medicaid). What else is there to be included in these groups? How do these disproportionately affect the lower and middle classes who collectively pay less than the top 5% of earners? As far as I know state and local taxes are proportional to federal taxes, so I would expect their statistics would be similar to those at the federal level.

Of course it can be said that tax rates have fallen for the wealthy, they pay the highest rates. While almost half pay nothing.

BTW, corporations don't pay taxes. That is a cost passed on to consumers. Would that be considered a "regressive tax" that falls most heavily upon the poor and middle class like gasoline and other energy taxes that bring up the cost of living?

And LOL at wax rhapsodic sugar spun!
 

qweerblue

Registered Member
@ QB: What do you mean by "payroll" and other "regressive taxes"? Payroll includes income (fed + state income) and FICA (SS/Medicare/Medicaid). What else is there to be included in these groups? How do these disproportionately affect the lower and middle classes who collectively pay less than the top 5% of earners? As far as I know state and local taxes are proportional to federal taxes, so I would expect their statistics would be similar to those at the federal level.

Of course it can be said that tax rates have fallen for the wealthy, they pay the highest rates. While almost half pay nothing.

BTW, corporations don't pay taxes. That is a cost passed on to consumers. Would that be considered a "regressive tax" that falls most heavily upon the poor and middle class like gasoline and other energy taxes that bring up the cost of living?

And LOL at wax rhapsodic sugar spun!
I used "payroll" to mean FICA and Medicare taxes, yes. And I referred to them as regressive because for FICA, it's the same flat rate for everyone--around 7 or 8%, I think--at least up to the first $106,000 or so of income. After that, the rate drops to something around 1%; so, the folks making more than $106,000 pay a smaller percentage of their earnings toward the tax, thus, the tax is regressive.

As far as state and local taxes go, they're are most definitely not proportional to federal taxes--dude, we have a flat tax here in Michigan, right?--and the studies I've been able to find all clearly indicate that when all state and local income, sales, excise, and property taxes are added up, all but two or three state tax systems are regressive. That is, the poor- and middle-class end up paying a much larger percentage of their incomes in taxes than do the wealthy.

So, the tax doesn't necessarily have to be demonstrably regressive, like with how FICA has a lower rate for income above $106,000, to be regressive; flat taxes, like sales, excise, and property taxes, end up being regressive because they take a much bigger bite out of poor- and middle-class incomes than they do out of the incomes of the wealthy. By the time someone making $8 an hour pays their FICA, state, local, property (ok, well, probably not property taxes, huh? Who could afford a house at $8 an hour?), and consumption taxes, he has contributed a much larger percentage of his income in taxes than do his better-off counterparts. So, that whole "half pay almost nothing" is a load of bunk, SS. Federal income taxes are not the only taxes that are collected from us, and the poor- and middle-classes contribute larger portions of their earnings in taxes, overall, than do the wealthy.

And I agree with you--corporations do not pay taxes. Both in the way you describe--by passing costs on to the consumer--and through fraud and evasion.
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
FYI, the self-employed pay double the FICA tax. My rate is 15.3% (except for 2011 which the "holiday" reduced by 2%) because employers pay half the employees FICA taxes (that cost is again transferred to the consumer). So that means that most of the "poor & middle class" pay a lower rate than the self-employed.

We have a flat tax RATE in Michigan, another 4.35% for everyone with an federally adjusted income above a certain level (don't have time to figure it out right now)

Yes, there are other taxes that apply to all regardless of income. Especially smokers, drivers, consumers of energy, paying cell phone customers, property owners, etc. But of the 47% who pay no income tax many actually receive income tax money back that they didn't pay in the first place through "refundable tax credits" which is just a fancy way of saying "federal wealth redistribution". This also does not take into account the benefits and entitlements provided disproportionally to the "poor" (like college students) such as bridge cards (accepted at casinos, liquor stores, & strip clubs) and other benefits such as paying for auto repairs etc.

And finally, corporations do not pay taxes in the ways you described and through cozy relationships with government officials - see Government Electric (GE).

But wait, I thought this thread was about the newly "evil" IKEA :lol:

And so to get back on topic I'll ask again:

So do you guys boycott all large retailers? All retailers that sell Chinese (or foreign) made products? Does your ideology impact your purchase decisions equally, or do you pick and choose which companies you decide are "good" or "evil"?
 
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ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
Ikea: Workers' complaints surround Ikea's U.S. factory - latimes.com





This makes no sense at all. The whole point of Ikea is that it's inexpensive, at least that's why I shop there. So if they can pay Swedish factory workers $19 an hour and still sell their stuff here at such low prices, why do they have to pay American workers $8 an hour? I don't understand.
I wonder if employees demanded for the same things without having a union, then they'd be taken more seriously. I know the stigma that accompanies unions and some people, at the sight of "union demand", easily overlook the issue and think it's one of those socialistic problems that unions create and therefore have no place in a capitalist society.

That said, I have myself worked for an American company where unions don't exist and one of the rationales for having people like me in their company, HR consultant for a manufacturing group, is to keep thousands of people happy enough so they don't start forming unions. :lol:

Regarding your question about salary, I think they pay American wages because that works there and it is still legitimate. They have an option to pay average and they probably could afford to pay higher, but why should they? I would have an issue if the employees were promised Swedish salary then they went back on it. Or if the employees were grossly underpaid, considering the market standards or even below the law.

What I don't understand is why they took away benefits they're already giving people, to finance their program of rewarding high performers. Given the financial reports, they could very well afford to reward their best performers without taking away from the general employee budget. It's a move that only had the financial interest (which isn't even lacking) of few key people in the company and shows disregard for the majority of the employees, often overlooked for their contribution in bringing profits that the company enjoys.


Employment is an agreement between employer and employee. If either is dissatisfied then they can end the agreement. The purpose of a company is profit, not to provide employment. Dissatisfied employees should quit or accept the situation.
That is the sad truth. The last line shouldn't have to be a fact though. It's often the rationale behind companies exploiting the needy, providing them shitty conditions because "beggars can't be choosers".


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@ all: Will you choose to not buy from IKEA based on this article?
No. I'll still buy from there. In the same way I still buy products made in China or some other country, even after I've heard the terrible labor conditions they were put through to produce that product. Unfortunately, I'm driven more by my financial shortage in my purchasing decision. I wish I can afford to purchase based on principles. So it's like an evil cycle, a company driven by money does things and people in a way encourage this money-driven behavior because their decisions are also money-driven. This could include compromising morals or ethics and it's really sad how we've reached that point when we simply become slaves to money. :(



Because I believe it is up to the individual to attain that security. This sounds so much like France, where employment isn't at will. Where individuals don't have to be productive and the employer can't fire them for it.
Actually you can fire people here at will for non productivity because it is considered "faute grave" (you need to prove it) and it's one of the ways you can get rid of someone without going through the usual process (e.g., due grace period to terminate contracts).
 

Jeanie

still nobody's bitch
V.I.P.
And so to get back on topic I'll ask again:

So do you guys boycott all large retailers? All retailers that sell Chinese (or foreign) made products? Does your ideology impact your purchase decisions equally, or do you pick and choose which companies you decide are "good" or "evil"?
This story probably will not keep me from shopping at Ikea, as this factory is just a subsidiary and the parent company seems to be distressed at this story as it is not in line with their business practices.

I do not shop at Wal-Mart. Ever. The only time I set foot in Wal-Mart is when I'm on vacation with my family and they insist on doing their grocery shopping there, but I drive across town to the locally-owned Spartan store and do my shopping there.

I buy as many products as I can that are made in the U.S., but they are increasingly difficult to find. I also buy Michigan-made products when I can.
 
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