FRANCE: Beef & Taxes

French Premier Joseph Laniel's first try at national economizing was a cut in the government's huge pension payments. Result: a chain explosion of crippling strikes that threw him into retreat. Last week Laniel tried a couple of other, less risky approaches—a fiat lowering prices and a crackdown on France's multitude of tax evaders.

The Premier's fiscal experts ordered butchers to lower meat prices by 10%, and they quickly complied. Then came similar reductions for coffee, rice, flour, margarine and soap; others were scheduled for shoes, textiles, kitchenware, furniture, bicycles. To celebrate la baisse (the lowering), shopkeepers in central Paris hung...

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