There's no gaming involved. Mathematically if you use a traditional pre-tax account or a roth account, you will come out with the same amount of money either way, as long as the tax rate is identical from the time you contribute to the time you withdraw. Tax savings from pre-tax accounts are reinvested in the above scenario.

This is not even close to true. Mathematically they're the same if your *marginal* tax rate now is equal to your *average* tax rate in retirement.

A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation assuming you're married, in the 25% tax bracket, and today's tax rates (which means all numbers are expected to adjust with inflation, so the answer is in also in inflation-adjusted dollars) tells me you'd have to withdraw about $260,000 / year from your Traditional 401k / IRA in retirement before your average tax rate would be 25%.

If you're like most Americans / especially people on the forum and you're looking at around $40,000 instead, then your average tax rate in retirement would be 9% with Traditional accounts. That is an enormous difference from 25%, so no they are not "the same". Cutting Traditional contributions in favour of Roth is indeed a huge additional tax on the middle / upper middle class.