The Washington air was hot last week with talk of a new war on inflation. But it was plain that there would be little more than sham battles. Reason: the planners had planned their political inflation so well that there was no place for the price of most things to go but up.

The new Wage Stabilization Board, meeting for the first time under Chairman Archibald Cox, a 4O-year-old Harvard law professor, was already in trouble. It faced 12,000 applications for wage boosts for millions of workers, and new ones were pouring in at the rate of 1,800 a week....

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