And it isn't easy to make them. Some 85% of the federal budget goes to Social Security, Medicare, Defense and Homeland Security, and interest on the debt. The rest includes subsidies to farmers, money for education, NASA, and pork -- projects that move rivers, cars, and people, pumping money and jobs into local congressional districts. You can choose to have more or fewer of all of them, or pick your favorites and cut from the rest. If you want a tax cut, you have to choose what spending to cut.
But won't tax cuts spur so much growth that spending can stay high without big budget deficits? In a word, no. Dynamic scoring was supposed to show us that cutting taxes could generate enough growth to mostly pay for itself -- but the recent Congressional Budget Office analysis showed it didn't. We don't really expect honesty from Washington pols on taxes, especially when most of the discussion is really posturing for the next Presidential election. But it sure would be nice if voters understood that if they want tax cuts, they had better decide what government largesse they are willing to give up.