OUTLOOK: A Pause That May Not Refresh

Traditionally, the American economy booms in an election year, in large part because incumbent politicians want it that way. But not this year. Although the economy continues to improve from the worst recession since World War II, it has begun to move so sluggishly that Jimmy Carter is scoring with his criticisms of the Ford Administration's economic policies. Is he right, or is he merely being opportunistic?

Last week, at a meeting of TIME'S Board of Economists in Manhattan, the experts divided sharply along political lines. The Democrats, led by Walter Heller and Arthur Okun, feel that the economy is behaving...