I do agree with you about tariffs (i hate them), however your anecdotes are shakey. My phone bill in the 90s was 40 bucks or so. Now my wifes cel phone bill is 80+. That 80s TV and car phone you mention probably still work (car phone network permitting). Whereas it seems you cannot expect any piece of electronics to last even 4 or 5 years these days.
We have a declining middle class, because the "middle class" now lives paycheque to paycheque and cannot afford anything that is not food, rent and a small amount of entertainment (cable, weed, alcohol, etc).
"Personally I'd prefer making $10 an hour and having my lunch cost $4 rather than making $20 an hour and having my lunch cost $20"
Well considering that the middle class is becoming too poor to dine out, I would much prefer to make $20 dollars an hour and bring my lunch from home. I disagree that food has gotten cheaper, as every year my grocery bill goes up, especially if you want "real" food, as opposed to glucose-fructose infused, mechanically seperated garbage that passes as food these days.
Concentration of wealth is the problem here. Most people have no wealth at all. Don't believe me? how much is your fancy iphone, computer and TV going to be worth in 5 years, if they still work. What about your fancy furniture? Material possessions mean nothing if you get kicked out of your house. They are then just a liability which needs to be stored and payed for - your "wealth" owns you. Most people live between paycheques, have a few thousand or few ten thousands saved up, but other than that, no assets at all and therefor no wealth. Unless you count intangible wealth like knowledge, which of course, since the internet, has exploded. I'm no luddite, automation is the only way forward.
We just need more taxes on the rich and corporations, so that one can live on $15 an hour and raise a family. For instance, in USA, you would get free healthcare with more corporate taxes, maybe even free food.
I would prefer never worrying about shelter, food and healthcare (for americans) to having more "wealth" any day.