Lon, I don’t think we wholly disagree. But I’d like to show you some maths.
In 1946, The cost of UCLA was 2% of annual income. Annual income was 46% of total house price, and a 15-year mortgage was probably $41/month or 20% of annual household income. A car in cash cost 51% of total annual income, or perhaps $26/month or 13% of annual income. Percentage of annual income spent on these items, annually=35%
In 1977: UCLA cost 16.7% of annual income. Annual income was about 27% of the total price of a house, and a 15-yr mortgage was probably around $240/month or 32% of annual income. A car cost 25% of total annual income, but with a payment of $45/month or 6% of annual income. Percentage of annual income spent on these items, annually=54.7%
In 2013: UCLA cost 26% of annual income. Annual income was 23% of the total price of a home, and a 15-yr mortgage is about $2219 or 51% of annual income. A car price was 28% of total annual income, but with a payment of about $300/mo or 6.9% annually. Percentage of annual income spent on these items, annually=83.9%
When you look at it this way, it seems more clear and it’s easier to see your point. I do think the 2013 car numbers are the one thing with way more play in them. Not everyone, nay hardly anyone, needs a brand-new car. And most of us buy more house than we need. The one thing that is disgusting is the increased cost in education. And if you were to factor in health care, another nearly immovable expense, there you would see severe inequality and disparity.
The point I’m trying to make and which I was hoping you’d notice is that part at the end where I say that struggling against or in mindless pursuit of these things and the resultant lack of energy to enjoy them, will not change it. Refusing to participate in abject, unchecked, unconscious consumerism will enable people to slow down, think, evaluate, and choose instead of just marching myopically along with the rest of the crowd. Being conscious and liberating oneself from the machine will let us see how different it can be, in a concrete way. Then, we become part of the change.