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Soaking the Rich Won't Solve Much

The reasonable solutions are to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70, and pattern U.S. health care after other national systems that better contain costs.

The Germans and Dutch spend one-third less on health care, because their governments more aggressively regulate prices, better ration care, and spend less on lawsuits.

Democrats, hamstrung by unions, are loath to require Americans to work longer, and are too beholding to tort lawyers and the medical establishment for campaign support.

Republicans refuse to admit vouchers and more competition -- we already have plenty of the latter among providers, drug and device manufacturers, and insurance companies -- won't adequately slow rocketing costs.

Without significantly raising the retirement age, more effective price controls and rationing in health care, and torts reform, federal spending and the national debt will jet into the stratosphere -- no matter what the president and Congress agree to in their current negotiations.

Mounting interest payments will cause investors to balk at buying U.S. Treasuries, and draconian reductions in federal spending that must follow will thrust the U.S. into the kind of crisis now gripping Greece and Spain.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.

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