Prices climbed—and went on climbing. Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics gave another altimeter reading: on June 15 its consumers' price index reached its highest point ever: 157.1% of the 1935-39 level. In a year, food costs in large cities had risen 31%, clothing was up 18%, house furnishings 17%. The national pattern was not uniform, but almost everywhere in the U.S. the postwar dollar was worth only about 50% of its prewar value in purchases of essential consumer goods.

The retail price ceiling was not in sight. Wholesale prices (including farm products) pushed up for the fourth successive...

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