The Economy: How Cool Is Too Cool?

"Do you see any indicators that are going up today?" asked Delaware's Republican Senator John Williams last week of William McChesney Martin, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. As it happened, Martin was stuck for an answer. Whereupon Nebraska's Republican Senator Carl Curtis sniped: "Yes, the deficit."

What was significant about that exchange was that Bill Martin, testifying before the Senate Finance Committee in support of restoring the 7% tax credit on new plant and equipment, seemed worried about the possibility that the U.S. economy has perhaps cooled off too much. "There has been a slowing down," he admitted, "although I...

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