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Defense of Oklahoma County pay raises won't work for most

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: February 26, 2013
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We don't begrudge Oklahoma County employees a modest pay raise, but the justification for the current raise is curious. It's one that could be used by other government agencies as they catch up with deferred pay increases.

County officials voted to increase pay across the board by 2 percent. Supposedly this is to offset the dip in paychecks that took place after Jan. 1, when the status quo was restored to payroll withholding for Social Security. All working Americans were affected by the change; few of them will get a pay raise because of it.

Cutting the withholding deduction temporarily was a sop by Congress and the president, to boost the economy in a time of downturn. We all knew this was temporary. It could have been extended, of course, but Washington decided otherwise. Still, it was not a tax increase. It was more like calling in a short-term loan.

Suppose your mortgage company cut your monthly payment by 2 percent for two years. This would mean a temporary lower payment but not a reduction in the principal. In fact, it could mean paying more later. When the payment went back up after two years, it wouldn't be an increase but a restoration. Now suppose you demanded a 2 percent pay raise from your employer to cover the restoration.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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