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While President Bush continues to spread sunny optimism about the economy, we keep hearing discordant news from places where the sun doesn’t shine.

“U.S. consumers continue to be under difficult pressure economically,” Wal-Mart’s chief executive said in widely reported remarks Tuesday as he reported that the mammoth discount retailer is going to miss its profit forecasts for the year. “It is no secret that many customers are running out of money toward the end of the month.”

Look closely at today’s inflation news and it is clear why.

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