It's official. The census reports that Americans at all levels became materially better off in the years 1981-2002. So says "Supplemental Measures of Material Well-Being: Basic Needs, Consumer Durables, Energy and Poverty, 1981-2002" (link at http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p23-202.pdf). This will astound (and depress?) class warriors. But that will be momentary because they cannot debase their intellectual capital.
The report's Table 4, "Percent of Consumer Units Reporting Ownership of Selected Appliances and Vehicles by Expenditure Decile, 1992-2002" documents across-the-board improvements. The report also acknowledges that the numbers understate the improvements because they cannot capture signficant quality improvements.
But are they happy?