Steel: The Price Fight

"I'm not fighting steel," insisted President Johnson. "I'm fighting inflation!"

That was undoubtedly true—though the fact was of small solace to the steel industry, which once again found itself publicly cast as villain in a U.S. economic melodrama. It began on the last day of 1965, when the Bethlehem Steel Corp. announced that it was raising its prices on structural steel by $5 a ton, to an average $119. Poor "Bessie." No sooner had the word hit the wire-service tickers than Gardner Ackley, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, denounced the increase as inflationary; he later charged that Bethlehem...

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