Of course all those zeroes, in the hands of gleeful Democrats, are sure to horrify Mr. and Mrs. Middle America. But TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson -- who's seen more than a little government bloat in his time -- says that's the price of doing business inside the Beltway. "Once you've made the decision to hire an independent counsel, you've got to let him do the job." At $400 an hour, Sam Dash's imprimatur as an ethical consultant is a bargain in terms of Washington lawyers. And Starr's parking space? Not much for D.C. either. "Remember, it's rarefied air in Washington," points out Thompson. "Forty million dollars is floor mats for the B-2 bomber."