the Economy: First, the Good News . . .

First, the Good News . . .

Harry Truman used to complain that he needed a "one-armed economist" because his advisers were always starting briefings with "On the one hand . . . but on the other hand . . ." Last week economists had to use both hands as they confronted a puzzling mixture of good and bad news.

On the bright side, the U.S. trade deficit fell from a record $16.1 billion in July to $13.3 billion. A sustained drop in the deficit would be a tonic for domestic economic activity, which is still showing signs of weakness. The Government reported last week that new-home sales...

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