"BTW, I'm a sysadmin/network guy, not a developer. "
This probably explains the disparity in our views then, I left that field precisely because I agree benefits and wages went down there, but I assumed we were talking about software development given that that's the subject of this story.
I do however think there's a good reason why IT support salaries and benefits have decreased and that's the simple fact that it's a profession that has become easier over the years, and as it's become easier, it's become open to more candidates and salaries have decreased as a result. I say easier coming largely from a Windows background because it simply has gotten much easier to manage Windows networks. The OS has become more stable and less fault prone, recovery has become much easier, and it's become much less secure. Fundamental software management tasks have become more centralised from AV management to patch and software deployment. It's become more point and click than ever. It was in fact a large part of the reason I got out of that field - I like a challenge and it just reached a point where I wasn't being challenged in the slightest.
There are other problems the field suffers from - it's far easier for blaggers to get IT support jobs than it is for them to get software development jobs. There's a certain baseline of required knowledge and understanding in software development that's just almost impossible to bluff your way through compared to IT support roles.
I do sympathise with the declining wages in your field and I do understand it must be frustrating. I've also seen first hand how annoying it can be to see that your wages are often decreasing because the field is being flooded by blaggers who can talk a good talk but have neither the fundamental passion or knowledge to be truly great in an IT support role, though have just the bare minimum to get by without getting fired. But that field is not software development, software development is very much a job seekers market, it's very much a market where there is a genuine shortage and where wages have been increasing over the last decade. Those who proclaim otherwise are those blaggers frustrated that it's a field they just cannot blag their way into and nothing more, the other 98% of us are doing just fine. It's always nice to want more and do I wish I was paid bankers salaries? of course, don't we all? but being realistic I think we can't complain about what we have - we're doing much better than just about all engineers (telecomms, mechanical, electrical), veterinarians, journalists, corporate sales staff, museum archivists, architects, solicitors, and so on. It's really only lawyers with a lot of years behind them, high end medical staff (i.e. surgeons), high end financial services staff, upper management, and that sort of thing that do noticably better than us on average. It's hard to scoff at that - perhaps my only real concern is that it's a bubble that's going to burst at some point, but it's ridden the wave that was the risk of outsourcing which turned out to be an almighty failure in practice for most firms so fingers crossed it'll remain a well paid profession for some time yet.
Whatever the relevance is no, I'm not a single guy, I have a girlfriend of 8 years, to be married soon. I don't have kids, and don't really plan to, I'm not a fan. I prefer dogs, you can leave them at home longer without them burning the house down or requiring a baby sitter.
So perhaps the difference in fields explains our differences in perception, IT isn't one big field, there's drastic disparity within it.