Despite the clogging setbacks of the coal and steel strikes, and the mountainous burden of taxes, the U.S. was still an amazingly prosperous nation. The almost-forgotten recession of last spring had left only barely noticeable scars: personal savings were dropping a little and the old problem of unemployment, though lessening, seemed back for good. But even in comparison with the war years, the U.S. was doing fine.

Winter's first snow seemed to have muffled summer's uneasy fears and forebodings (see BUSINESS). When Christmas shopping began last week on the day after Thanksgiving, the U.S. public demonstrated dramatically that it was...

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