Business: Storm over Surging Profits

A political problem for Carter and an embarrassment for companies

Profits are a little like pregnancy: usually a cause for celebration—but not always. A large increase in earnings brings more complaints than cheers when citizens are up in arms over soaring prices, workers are pressing for higher wages, and the White House is looking for someone, or something, to blame for its losing battle against inflation. In these circumstances, last week's report of an earnings surge created a serious political dilemma for President Carter and a public relations migraine for business.

The Commerce Department's preliminary...

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