People really like to talk about inequality and the wage/wealth gap between the rich and the poor. The thing is, it doesn’t really matter: everybody is better off today than we were a generation ago. Everybody today has access to more stuff, better stuff, and cheaper stuff than anybody had access to a generation ago.
Cell phones, smartphones, computers, cars that don’t break down that often; everything is better and cheaper than it used to be. Wages stagnating? Doesn’t really matter (in the final economic analysis) if the stuff that you buy has gotten better and cheaper.
Mark Perry has the numbers for air fares. Even with all the fees – which, by the way are really good for everybody that doesn’t like to implicitly pay for bags that we weren’t going to check anyway, movies that were weren’t going to watch anyway, or food that we weren’t going to eat anyway – airfares are 40% lower today than in 1980. Today, more people than ever can go on an exotic vacation, visit their grandchildren, or go to a wedding that, a generation ago, they might not have been able to do. That is not measured by most economic indexes, but it is still a powerful sign of prosperity and the overall betterment of people’s lives.