Not Bad for Government Work

It took two centuries, but voter anger may curb Congress's pay hikes

IF DEAD PRESIDENTS COULD SMILE IN THEIR GRAVES, James Madison would be beaming. Nearly 203 years after the fourth President proposed a constitutional amendment to prevent Congress from giving itself a midterm pay raise, a requisite 38 states have agreed that there is "a seeming indecorum," as Madison contended, in the power to increase one's own salary. Last week four states, prompted by public outrage over the Senate's 1991 midnight pay hike and other Capitol Hill scandals, ratified the amendment, which Madison had sought as part of what became the original Bill of Rights. While the provision does not bar pay...

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