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Senate's Performance and Pay

About the only thing you got right in the editorial "The Senate Pay Raise," July 22, was the prediction that you would get a lot of letters. For starters, the statement that many senators will not get a net increase with their $23,200 raise defies logic. According to your own figures, they will give up a maximum of $23,068 in honorariums. I learned that $23,200 is greater than $23,068.While the old system may not have been perfect, it had at least one virtue: Senators had to earn their extra money. Now, however, they get it automatically. Instead of "hustling speech fees from special interests," once again it is the taxpayer who gets hustled. And who really believes - with our recession, huge deficit, nagging social problems, and burdensome taxes - that senators have earned a raise larger than many people make in a year? If the stated desire to clean up the old system is genuine and not just an excuse to raid the US Treasury, why not simply outlaw honorariums or punish those who can't handle them ethically? Why force taxpayers to pay for our representatives' past abuses of position? There's nothing ethical about this "reform." Stan Guthrie, Wheaton, Ill.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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