STATE OF BUSINESS: Freedom's Test

Millions of U.S. consumers grew alarmed and indignant last week. Cigarettes jumped a penny a pack.

The Administration, gradually unshackling the economy, had taken the controls off cigarettes, along with copper, aluminum, rice and most processed foods. Cigarette makers promptly took advantage by boosting prices. Fuming smokers scarcely noticed that the price of copper jumped from 24½¢ a lb. to as high as 32¢—even though this might hit their pocketbooks harder.

Chain Reaction. The copper rise set off a chain reaction. Brass producers raised their prices to keep pace. Auto-parts makers warned Detroit that they would have to revise their price lists....

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