THE LATEST quarterly report of the Cost of Living Council provides encouraging evidence that the Nation continues to make progress in the battle against inflation.
Prices did advance moderately--as expected and forecast--after the 3-month freeze ended last November. But as statistics analyzed in the report show, the anticipated "bulge" was modest in view of the actual increases in wages and other costs that went into effect after the freeze ended.
By the end of the first quarter of 1972, there was some evidence that the "bulge" was tapering off and the impact of the controls was becoming more evident. The most recent Consumer Price Index continues this pattern.
As pointed out in the report, consumer prices rose at a rate of 3-9 percent a year in the 7 months prior to the freeze, which began last August 15. In the 7 months since the freeze started, that rate of increase declined to 2.8 percent--with no monthly increase registered in March, and only a small increase experienced in April, the eighth month.
The quarterly report also contains convincing evidence that workers are beginning to score an impressive net gain in their purchasing power. Since the economic stabilization program began, real take-home pay for the typical production worker with three dependents has increased about twice as fast since August as in the corresponding period before the freeze.
The national economy is now expanding significantly. This makes the success of the stabilization program more important than ever.
Will this new economic growth result in real prosperity? Or will it be eroded by inflation and thus result only in meaningless bigger numbers?
The stabilization program can make the critical difference, and the stabilization program will succeed if the American people continue to give it their full support.
I am certain this critical public support will be forthcoming. I believe the American people share this Administration's determination to hold inflation to an acceptable rate.