The Economy: The Consumer's Free Spending

THE ECONOMY

To explain why he expects the Administration's policies to cool the U.S. economy soon, Economist Walter W. Heller last week recalled an old poker-room joke that, he said, he had heard from President Johnson. It has to do with a professional dealer who is getting an unexpected show of strength from one of the local yokels. "Reuben," says the shark, "you better play fair, because I know exactly what I dealt you."

In this analogy, Reuben is the free-spending U.S. consumer, who is apparently playing all too fast and loose. Despite a deliberate anti-inflation deal from Uncle Sam, who enacted...