It is troubling that after a decade of an economic expansion, the US government is still spending money as it does during and immediately following a recession. It is as if the economy is now in a state of permanent "stimulus."
The United States is not a nation. From the very beginning it was more of a collection of various nations united by ideas of political unity and by fairly high levels of tolerance for other groups within that union. The US certainly contains nations, but it was never a single nation.
The theory goes like this: capitalism combines with consumerism and advertising to make us sad, lonely, and forever chasing after material goods. So we consume endlessly and the Machiavellian capitalists reap the rewards. It's not a great theory.
The modern norm is that economic growth causes measured income inequality to increase. But to have greater income equality and greater economic growth. It simply requires more free market policies and less government interventionism.