Why should I have to make over $125,000/year to live comfortably when I can make under half elsewhere in the country and be equally content? Why should I be forced to rent unless I can afford a million dollars for a house? How am I supposed to lay down roots?
Why should you expect that cost of living should be the same everywhere? Why should owning a house always be within your means? I live in SF and make six figs just to pay back my grad loans and pay rent. I'm still happy with living here because I like to hang out at the beach (I almost said swim in the ocean) then drive up to ski in Tahoe, weather permitting. Compare that with central Kansas. Nothing wrong with Kansas but I don't see people flocking to it.
It's expensive because lots of people recognize how great it is to live here. That doesn't mean that everyone actually can live here.