There was good news in a statistical improbability last week: the cost-of-living index for March, announced the Bureau of Labor Statistics, stood at 114.3 (1947-49 = 100), precisely where it was in February, January and December. Not in 40 years had it held steady for four months in a row.

The month brought slight rises in rental and fuel costs, but they were offset by price cuts in clothing, house furnishings and automobiles. The steady price level meant that the average factory worker could buy more: weekly take-home pay in March reached a record $69.47 (for a man with three...

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