Business: Cost of Better Living

One of the criticisms of the Bureau of Labor Statistics is that its cost-of-living index should actually be called the cost-of-living-better index. By reporting only selling prices and failing to identify quality improvements, the BLS long has given a distorted picture of what actually is happening in U.S. living conditions. This week, in a monumental 253-page book. How American Buying Habits Change (U.S. Government Printing Office; $1), the BLS handsomely made amends. It summarized the upgrading in the life of the average U.S. workingman since the bureau's first survey in 1888.

Despite the upward creep of prices, real incomes are climbing...

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