Let's be clear about this, an honest assessment of the future in this country calls for a significant decrease in our standard of living. This is because we have paid for our current extravagance with fake money from the housing bubble and with a retail economy based on cheap oil.
However, we still have enough resources for everyone to have a very good life, if we get sensible about how we use them.
First, forget about owning a car and driving all over the place, or about flying places for vacation. Also, there's no use or need for so many of us to be dressed in nice clothes sitting in a cubicle all day.
One of the first things that has to change is we have to become a lot more involved in raising food, maybe personally, or maybe by creating an economy that encourages more small farms. This isn't necessarily bad, I'd rather spend a day working out in the garden (even hard work, which it frequently is) than inside a cubicle. And with some of the ideas being developed in sustainable agriculture, farming doesn't require nearly as much weeding as in the traditional method.
National health insurance must be a top priority, I applaud President Obama for focusing on this. As you frequently hear, we are the only developed industrial country that does not have this. While our economy winds down and more and more people lose their jobs, this issue becomes even more important, since we have depended on employers to provide healthcare. Suddenly many more people will be uninsured.
If you've never read Scott and Helen Nearing's "The Good Life", this book describes an extreme example of the benefits of simplicity and self-sufficiency. Not everyone will want to take it to this level, but we've gone a long ways in the other direction as a society and we would greatly benefit from a return to the land.