Slipping into Gear

Slowly, but not so surely, the U.S. economy is starting to gain speed. But does it have the fuel to continue?

Few people are knocking at Robert Wescott's door these days to find out who might win the next presidential election. It's still too early for that. But the door knockers will be back. For Wescott, 38, a bespectacled forecaster recently named to a senior staff position on the President's Council of Economic Advisers, is the originator of an uncannily accurate political rule: the incumbent party wins re-election only if Americans' real disposable income grows at 3.7% or better during the 12 months prior to Election Day. Anything below that, and it's curtain time.

Bill Clinton has two more years before Wescott's...

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