I am going to pull out one little detail that is noted in the charts provided, but oddly not at all commented on in the text.
When you look at consumer spending on essential items (food, clothing, shelter) it decreases throughout the period in a very dramatic way, until you get to the early 1980s, than it just goes flat. By itself it could be explained away, but this is a very good indication of what I have said in my very first post End of Oil and 1974 .
Since the mid 1970s (or here indicated by the very early 1980s) there has been very little real gain in the lot of the the typical American. Real wages did not decline, but their growth greatly slowed. Granted that the housing bubble would not have helped matters, but that primarily comes after this data series.
The numbers of the the last four data points