I suspect we're more in agreement than disagreement. I know that "$$$$$ gear doesnt make one any better, stronger, faster, etc ... when you compare it against someone who spends less but goes out more to train". For me (and my wife, fortunately), it's about getting out into the mountains and having fun, and the lighter our gear, the more fun we have, particularly as we prefer multi-day trips. I've always been a skinny runt and don't like hauling a heavy load. Others are different.
I also agree that "people often have competing priorities with mortgages, kids, payments, etc". My wife and I chose not to have kids, we don't own a car and we didn't buy a house until we were in our 40s, so a mortgage wasn't a problem. We also both work. These choices mean that although our wages are below the equivalent of the minimum wage in Britain, we have the money for both cuben and as many trips as we have time for. Other people chose other lives and other sacrifices.
It just seemed to me that your initial post was being rather absolutist: you can spend money on gear and still have money for trips without being loaded. Cuben gear is much cheaper than a car , for example. As you say, it comes down to priorities.