Washington: Wealth by Stealth

Wealth by Stealth

The network newscasts were over and deadlines for early editions of the New York Times and Washington Post had passed. The public galleries in the Senate chamber were deserted, and only a couple of reporters lingered in the press room. Surveying the emptiness last Wednesday night, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia decided conditions were ideal for the Senate to hand itself a whopping pay raise. As if by magic, 98 of the 100 Senators appeared out of the night to vote, 53 to 45, to raise their annual salaries from $101,900 to $125,100 -- an increase of nearly 23%.

Their...

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