Consumerism: The FTC Gets Tough

As a guardian against unfair and deceptive marketing practices, the Federal Trade Commission has generally spoken softly and carried a small stick. In recent years, it has seemed to be insensitive to mounting consumer complaints and over lenient with offending companies. All this has suddenly changed. The five commissioners and 600 staff lawyers and economists at the FTC's shabby, gray-stone headquarters in Washington are moving with unprecedented speed and imagination.

The burst of activity began in January, soon after Caspar Weinberger succeeded Paul Rand Dixon as chairman. Weinberger revitalized the staff...

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