The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Whether the Joint Select Committee on Budget Reduction reaches a deal to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion or reaches a stalemate on Nov. 23, Democrats appear intent on handicapping the national economy with higher taxes and imperiling national security by cutting defense. Those are the wrong places to solve the nation's budget woes. In 2007, just before the financial crisis and when Democrats took control of Congress, the deficit was a manageable $161 billion. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were ongoing, and Bush tax cuts and prescription benefits for seniors were in place. In 2011, two years after the recession ended, the deficit is $1.3 trillion. Spending is up $847 billion, and additional temporary tax cuts -- such as the payroll tax holiday -- account for the rest. Of the $847 billion, only $62 billion was necessary to accommodate inflation, and Social Security, health care and other entitlements account for 78% of the rest. Repeatedly, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) have said Social Security is not contributing to the deficit, but the program began paying out more than its receipts in 2009, and the Trust Fund will be entirely depleted by 2036. Federal and state budgets are burdened by the least effective health care and education systems among industrialized countries. For example, the German and Dutch private systems spend about 50% less per capita but have better outcomes. Progressive education advocates equate reform with more money, even though the U.S. has one of the most expensive systems on the planet and gets subpar results. Test scores are lower, and graduates lack job skills employers seek to build globally competitive enterprises. Raising taxes to accommodate, instead of fixing, those shortcomings would permanently burden the U.S. private sector with more overhead -- higher taxes, health care premiums and tuition -- than foreign economies bear, making economic recovery and adequate jobs creation next to impossible. Real reform requires spending less, not more, by ferreting out waste foreign health and education systems do not impose on taxpayers and businesses.