Graph depicting reasons for decline of living standards in America. Price changes of Selected U.S Consumer Goods & Services & Wages from 1997 – 2017.

The ruling class made things cheaper that would pacify the increasingly impoverished US middle class, while gouging the price of everything important.

As you can clearly see from this graph from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, shows that wages in America only began keeping up with the pace of inflation around 2009.
During that same period of 1997 to 2017 you see the price of everything meaningful and important in determining ones long term well being and happiness, things like hospital services, medicine, college textbooks, college tuition, housing and food skyrocket.
All the while, all the things to pacify the masses and keep them distracted are seeing their price drop like never before.
TV’s, consumer electronics, new cars (we’re in the middle of a big bubble with that too), are seeing their prices flatline.
It’s a great way for the ruling class in America to tell the former middle class, now poor Americans:
Hey, listen I know times have been tough lately and that you can’t afford that medical treatment to improve your quality of living that you so sorely need or afford to send your kids to college so they can improve their station in life, but look, 50″ inch flatscreens are 50% off right now down at your nearest Wal-mart so you better run down there and get yourself one to help you forget your misery.
Nevermind the fact the only reason that all of these consumer goods are so cheap in the first place is because the ruling class shipped all the good manufacturing jobs overseas effectively impoverishing the Rust Belt and Midwest by making them compete with an army of Chinese workers with no human rights for wages.
h/t User_Name13