I intended to comment on today's NY Times' article, "Europe's Young Grow Agitated Over Future Prospects," but the Powerline boys got to it first in "Europe's Doomed Generation."
In short, despite bundles of university diplomas (paid for by the state) and continuously lessening competition (due to plummeting birth rates), Europe's youth (particularly in the south) cannot find work. Unemployment in Italy is 23%, Spain has reached 40% and "underemployment" - taking part-time or non/low-paying jobs - is ubiquitous among the young.
A basic cause of the economic crisis, as the Times eventually notes, is
labor union leaders ... and the left-wing parties with which they have been historically close.... They are seen as exacerbating a two-tier labor market by protecting a caste of tenured older workers rather than helping younger workers enter the market. ... Yet in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, any change in national contracts involves complex negotiations among governments, labor unions and businesses -- a delicate dance in which each faction fights furiously for its interests. Because older workers tend to be voters, labor reform remains a third rail to most politicians.
Powerline sums up:
That is what happens when government inserts itself into every employment decision and when labor unions are given quasi-official powers and status. The result is economic disaster, a disaster first suffered by the young. What has happened in Europe, especially Southern Europe, is a flashing red alert, warning the United States not to follow the same path of government interventionism and union empowerment. Yet that is exactly the direction in which the Obama administration is trying to take us. It is deeply ironic that Obama came to office in part because of support from young voters who are too ill-informed to see the effects that his policies, if implemented, would have on them