depends on how you look at it. if you first bargain on the price of the vehicle, come to an agreement with the dealer, and then apply the rebate, you're in good shape. otherwise, you let the dealer run the numbers, you just screwd yourself.
some dealers are more honest than others. I'm trying to work a deal right now and it turns out that salesmen at this dealer are paid a set amount per vehicle ($75). if they have certain other vehicles they are trying to push out the door, they spiffs on that. otherwise, it doesn't matter to them what price the vehicle sells out. however, keep in mind that each dealership is different in how they set up their salesmen compensation plan. some still do commission on percent of selling price, others want you to sell a set quota or more every month AND get them financed at the dealership, which makes them more money.
I would tend to agree with you there. compare your salary and buying power today than with 5-10 yrs ago. comparatively speaking, house prices have shot thru the roof when compared to trucks. however, I gotta have a place to put my family and since the mortgage rates are real low right now (historically speaking) , I can re-fi to cut the monthly payment and number of years left which will allow me to buy the truck I want. what really sucks is that in Texas you pay no income tax, only property tax. however, my property tax has gone up from $4000 to $5000 in the space of 7 years because of increased values. this really bites into my buying power, not the increase in truck prices. my salary has barely kept up with my ability to pay my property taxes, let alone increase in salary as I progress in my career.
in 7 yrs, MSRP of F150 supercab has only gone up a few thousand dollars. I had a '97 XLT f150 w/MSRP of @$25500. compare that to todays prices and you will see that it's not that bad.