THE ECONOMY: Too Many Blank Checks

In the high-ceilinged Senate caucus room, a Senate-House subcommittee headed by Illinois' Democrat Paul Douglas last week tackled three enormous questions: What is the fiscal policy of the U.S.? How can the U.S. manage its money better? And why will there be an estimated $5.5 billion deficit this year during the biggest boom in history? As a start toward getting the answers, the subcommittee got the views, in comprehensive questionnaires, of upwards of 450 U.S. economists, bankers and federal officials.

The biggest news, quite naturally, was made by the man who is supposed to guide the U.S. fiscal policy, Secretary of...

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