Business: 1970: The Year of the Hangover

IN business, 1970 was the year of the hangover. The nation suffered the painful consequences of the economic overindulgence that began in 1965 when Lyndon Johnson expanded both welfare programs and the war in Viet Nam without benefit of a tax increase. That policy resulted in one of the longest, most severe inflations in American history: five years of accelerating price increases. In the so-far unsuccessful struggle to contain that inflation, the U.S. in 1970 stumbled into a recession that Richard Nixon had promised to avoid.

It was the fifth recession since World War...

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