Literally taxes. Everyone gets taxed to death, so they have to raise prices to afford to pay the taxes, so the taxes go up as a percentage of what you pay, and then everyone has to raise prices again. Tax death spiral.
It's exactly the same in the EU and US. Government regulates the shit out of everyone, then taxes them to pay for the cost of the regulations, then adds VAT or sales tax on top of that.
I'm living in one of the less regulated parts of Asia and it's fucking dirt cheap to live here in comparison. In the U.S., a ten dollar lunch is a shitty hamburger and fries. Here it's a fried fish platter with salad, soup, and dessert. My penthouse ocean view apartment is $670/mo, instead of a shitty Seattle studio costing $1500.
Some fucking Canadian kept agitating for the government to raise housing taxes so that the government could implement social welfare schemes for all the people who would lose their houses due to being unable to afford paying the increased taxes. That's literally how retarded Canadians are.