The Economy: The Price of Scarcity

At first glance, it looked like a turning point. The Labor Department reported last week that the cost of living, having gone up during the previous four months, had finally flattened out in January. The main reason was that excise taxes on auto purchases and telephone calls had been briefly rescinded. But they will be reimposed within the next month or so, and by every expectation the cost-of-living index will head higher again. In any event, last week's flattened figure is of small solace to the U.S. housewife, who is already complaining about having to pay 59¢ for a bunch...

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