You are 100% correct, in a way (assuming you're question was rhetorical, and you implied that you yourself believe we are regressing) But in a way, you're overlooking a different view of the situation.
National debt is growing drastically. Jobs are being shipped overseas (which is a huge reason for the increased debt...both in the present, and will cause the debt to continue to future generations as well). The value of the dollar continues falling (Being a stone's throw away from Detroit, I remember a time not too long ago in which many people I know actually went across the border to Canada for the weekend to have some good times, because their money went much further...now it's almost completely opposite..approaching a 50% exchange rate, rather than 200%).
Gasoline prices are growing at very high rates, which leads to many other neccessity and conveniance goods' prices raising as well (although, not the sole reason).
While medical treatment costs skyrocket higher and higher, due to new technological advances, we have become addicted to these advances and seem to not be able to get by without them. Health care costs are through the roof - yet it seems absurd for us to think about not having health insurance.
But think about all the other things in our lives nowadays which are "givens", which we cannot imagine living without. Cable TV (although I'm proud to say does not apply to me), air conditioning, refridgerators, internet, cell phones, for many - their daily $3 coffee from starbucks or other ridiculously high-priced places.....I'm sure you can think of a handful of other examples as well. Guess what - 100 years ago, none of these existed! So while their benefits are nice, their pricetags cannot be ignored.
But quite possibly the biggest reason for our costs of living to be growing in disproportion to our average income is our standard of living (for those working, AND those retired). As a society in general, we've lived in such a worry-free overall booming economy over the last few decades (with a few notable bumps along the way) that we've upped the standards for ourselves. And the baby-boomer population has lead to vast amounts of ill-planned legislative initiatives which aim to entitle this generation (Since they're now the largest voting population, and who better to please than the people who will be voting you back into office - despite the economic impractability and hardships it will bring to the overall well-being of the rest of the nation) to all the benefits they've been accustomed to during the great times in our economy. So while the rest of us are realizing a growing reality of a declining economy...we're all still paying for the impractical social-security and health care plans for the older generations (and as I said before...the standards have been upped dramatically -especially for those older generations who are living longer and using exponentially more of our medical treatments, whose prices have also grown ridiculously...some due to lawsuits, much just due to increased standards and technology and research).
I'm not saying that it's neccessarily a bad idea for us to have such a system in place...but I think we do need to recognize the fact that some of the biggest reasons for our inabilities to retain a decent standard of living has been done by our own planning.
Yes, our economy is approaching a recesion (for those in Michigan, near Detroit especially, many would even say - "Wake up, where have you been for the last 4 years or so!?!!")... but we do have to realize that our lives have benefited drastically from technology that has now been incorporated into our everyday lives, which has also increased the costs of living.
*Important to note - although I can't remember where I've read this, and the figure may be a little off, I assure you it's generally true...hopefully you research it more, and can find the actual figure and maybe some reasons why it's true............'The difference between the average salary of a company's CEO and the average salary for a front-line worker has grown by 3,000% over the last 50 years'....or something like that.
(Like I said, I'm sure thats not the exact statistic...but it's something like that). Basically, the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. The middle class is becoming extinct. I think greed has much to do with this situation. But who's to say the creator of a successful business isn't entitled to reap the benefits of what they themselves created....I guess it's a judgement call, rather than a simple black-and-white answer.....But it is something to think about...