A Year of Rolling Sevens

Swift growth plus slow inflation equaled prosperity in 1984

Americans are going into 1985 a little older, maybe a little wiser and, in most cases, a little richer. From an economic standpoint, 1984 was a year to cheer. Unemployment dipped, interest rates finally slipped, and inflation stayed cowering in its cage. Many businesses raked in record profits. Most important, Americans relished an estimated 5.3% rise in real disposable income, which is the amount of money people have left after taxes, adjusted for inflation. That fueled a feeling of prosperity and helped propel President Reagan in his re-election romp.

But, while it was a year of living well, it was a...

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