Anyway, the real problem as explained in this series of Nature articles (http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110420/full/472276a.html), is that the number of faculty positions has remained relatively constant in comparison to the vast increase in the number of PhDs awarded. As mentioned by another poster above, this system was created and nurtured by the people who got their faculty jobs in the 1970s and 1980s when they faced very little competition. To paint a slightly caricatural picture, when research budgets expanded, the people in charge used most of the money to expand their own labs rather than to create more tenured jobs.
Because of that, expectations in terms of published research and obtained funding have kept going up to a point where it is very difficult for young people to become independent. Senior established investigators have the better toys, they can take more risks, they have more money, they populate grant panels and can easily stifle competition and control a good part of the review process in top tier journals.