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When things look their blackest, News Hits is always here for you with a broken flashlight in hand, ready to lead you even further into the gloom. Case in point: the recent dip of GM stock below $10 a share, a price not seen since Dwight D. Eisenhower was president and some singer named Elvis was just beginning to cut records.

The problem with the reports we saw was that none of them put this troubling news into its absolute bleakest context. You see, kids, way back in 1954, when GM stock last sold for less than a sawbuck, a single Hamilton could buy considerably more than it does today. A visit to the website Rewind the Fifties revealed that bread back then cost 17 cents a loaf, postage stamps were 3 cents each and a gallon of gas could be had for 21 cents.

To figure out how GM's current stock price really compares to what it was being sold for in 1954, we steered our browser toward an online inflation calculator devised by some diligent public servants at the U.S. Department of Labor. According to that, GM's stock would had to have been selling for about $1.25 a share to really be equal to $10 at today's prices. Or, put another way, if GM were as financially healthy now as it was more than a half-century ago during the post-World War II boom, its stock would be selling for slightly more than $80 a share.

No need to thank us. It's our job to help keep things in perspective.

The good news, perspective-wise, is that back in the summer of '54, Prozac and its kin weren't available at any price. So now, at least, there's a legal, relatively inexpensive way to help you deal with any blues being generated by these seriously depressing economic times. Unless, of course, you happen to have lost your health insurance when that pink slip arrived.

And while we're talking about drugs ...

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or

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