Mustang, you raise concerns worthy of consideration. I guess the question is, how much are you/we willing to give up as individuals for the greater good, I.e., America's economic dominance?
Americans have for centuries now busted their tails and, in many cases, laid down their lives for the American way of life, through work, military service, and other contributions. Many times they got back far less than they gave while somebody else got rich. Sometimes the people getting rich "deserve" it, sometimes they don't. Some business owners take care of their employees, some exploit them mercilessly, or grift their way to the top. What's fair? Eye of the beholder.
My late grandmother, a career woman who worked hard her whole life, used to sing a line from a song, "Work your fingers to the bone, what do I get? Bony fingers!"
Are we soft? Compared to generations past, probably so. But unions, regulations and increasing knowledge and mobility have allowed workers to just say no to unreasonable demands. That's progress, as far as I'm concerned. Life is short.
Have we set ourselves up for second-tier economic clout? Maybe. That's a tough one. What do you value? What is accomplishment? Is it wrong to want to spend time with family or just to enjoy yourself now and then? I'm not sure I want my epitaph to be, "He worked his ass off."