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Economic data has been subjected to incremental distortion; in the United States, data transparency has enabled analysts to reverse out the methodological changes of the last three decades. The scale of the distortions which have been identified is truly shocking.
Taken in aggregate, the extent to which the loss of dollar purchasing power has been understated is almost certainly enormous. Between 1985 and 2011, official data shows that the dollar lost 53% of its value, but the decrease in purchasing power might stand at more like 75% on the basis of underlying data.