Conspiracy may be too strong a word. Tech companies want to be able to hire in a buyer's market, which almost certainly requires a larger pool of talent to pick and choose from than would occur naturally. Having a position go unfilled for weeks or even months due to a lack of qualified talent isn't in their best interest, and if there's anything we can agree upon, it's that companies will always act in their perceived best interests.
That said, I must agree whole-heartedly with your statement regarding "qualified". Having participated in many phone screens and in-person interviews, it is astounding how much resume inflation goes on. If you say you know Perl, I'm going to ask you about it and ask you to write a short, easy script. Oh, you meant that you once ran a Perl script written by a co-worker? That's nice. And in most cases, when there's one inflated claim like that on the resume, there are more.
Beyond that, so many candidates say they know how to do something in particular - driver development, firmware, chip design/verification/layout, etc. But when you delve into the qualitative aspects of the job, many can only cover the mechanics of the tasks they perform -- they don't show more than a surface understanding of it. Yet they are already employed and have titles that have "Senior" in them, and they expect a raise and maybe even a better title.
The ratio of mediocre to "OMG this person really knows their shit!" talent is not nearly what I think it ought to be.