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Trading Honorariums for a Pay Raise

December 24, 1988

Should Congress get a raise? The commission appointed to study this question says yes. Both The Times and the Wall Street Journal say yes, but both also say that Congress should outlaw "honorariums."

To get the raise, all that is needed is President Reagan's approval. Eliminating the honorarium, however, requires Congress' approval. Ah, there's the rub. Why should Congress give up that plum once they get the raise?

Considering this important matter drives home a point . . . "there is no control of Congress, but Congress itself."

Of course the people can vote the rascals out, or can they? More than 95% were returned to office in the last election. Their election campaigns are financed by political action committees. Their well-paid staffs flood the voters with favorable newsletters throughout the year. Their election districts are carefully gerrymandered.

The only control of Congress is public opinion. Public opinion is roused by the media. Has it been roused strongly enough to cause the elimination of the honorarium? I hope so.

F. H. ALLARDT

San Luis Obispo

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