This has been a trend for a long time. I graduated from high school in 1969. I don’t consider myself ancient.
But I can remember: nickel cokes, one dollar breakfast specials, coffee with refills for ten cents, ten dollar jeans, a new car for $1500 (a loaded Cadillac for $5000), starter homes for $12,000 (at 4%), upscale houses for $50,000, etc.
In 1971, Nixon ended the Bretton Woods agreement and began the spiral of inflation that was crazy in the 70s and 80s and continues to this day. Prices for everything long ago outstripped all wage growth.
So you are right. Purchasing power has diminished so much that two incomes are necessary, perhaps not even enough. People have used credit cards, which barely existed until the mid-70s, to make up the difference.
But I was writing about the poor, not the phony middle class built on debt. If these changes have been hard on that middle class, they have devastated the poor. And the number of the poor has increased as the Faceless Masters have sent all the decent paying working class jobs to overseas hell holes. Visit Detroit sometime. See what’s left.
The rise of the Internet in the 90s made all this worse. The coming of AI and robotics will bring devastation to devastation. It will all get worse for most people, but for those already at the bottom, it will be horrible.
Perhaps the land of tech milk and honey is just around the corner. I don’t think so.
Wait for the sound of the Bang!