The Economy: When Prosperity Hurts

Normally, the news that the U.S. economy scored its biggest spurt in 15 years would be cause for rejoicing. Now, nothing is normal, and last week's report that the gross national product jumped $16.9 billion in the year's first quarter, to a record annual rate of $714 billion, gave Washington's economy watchers an acute case of the jitters. It heightened fears that the economy is inflating too fast and that President Johnson may have to hike taxes to slow things down.

Two-fifths of the quarterly gain came not from real rises in production but from rises in prices. Though the...

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