Business: Worsening Ills, Re-Thought Ideas

Consumers, borrowers, investors —no one could take encouragement from last week's economic news. Retail prices shot up hi July at a compound annual rate of 10%, a bit less than the June pace of 12.6%, but still frightening. Moreover, the apparent improvement was illusory: it resulted entirely from a drop in food that shortly will be reversed. The Agriculture Department said that retail food prices will jump anywhere from 3% to 7% by year's end.

Short-term interest rates surged still more, and some California savings and loans raised rates on mortgage loans as high as 10%. The stock market recorded one new...