Letter From Berlin: Forget Saving the World--Save Our Jobs

By electing a new Chancellor, young Germans choose security over big ideas

It's just after noon at Cafe 103, one of the trendier spots in a trendy neighborhood, and young Berliners are indulging in three of their favorite vices: coffee, cigarettes and politics. A generation ago, smoke-filled establishments like these were hotbeds of debate about environmental catastrophes and the risk of nuclear war. But the patrons' obsessions have grown slightly more mundane. "The tax system here is driving us all to hell," says Max Wirtz, 37, the owner of an event-management agency. "Everything is too regulated." His friend Matthias, 37, nods in agreement and says what attracted him to the conservative Christian Democratic Party...

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