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Trading Honorariums for a Pay Raise

December 24, 1988

Shut my wallet but open my mouth so that I may protest the big pay hike proposed by a presidential commission to benefit members of Congress, federal judges and top Administration officials, including the President. Pay raises for members of the Cabinet would go to $149,250 and for members of Congress and judges to $135,000. But these same officials have already enjoyed eight pay raises since 1969.

These pay increases are supposed to be compensation to replace pay received as honorariums for public speeches, etc. But what happened to the desire on the part of our officials to serve their country for patriotic reasons? Many congressmen will continue to receive these honorariums even if declared unlawful. Indeed it is almost impossible to prevent some under-the-table promotions to reach a "good pork barrel member of the House or Senate" especially since the President does not have line-item veto powers.

But, honestly, how could any big-spending member of Congress qualify for a pay increase when they have achieved a balanced budget only five or six times during the past 56 years?

In the private sector, corporate executives ordinarily don't qualify for a pay hike unless they can produce a substantial increase in business, in savings and in net profits year after year.

RALPH S. LITTRELL

Los Angeles

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