Today's Paul Krugman column on John McCain's tax cut mania directs us to this analysis from the Brookings/Urban Tax Policy Center where they note that "Even with the loophole closers, these proposals would reduce federal revenues by about $5.7 trillion over ten years if they could be enacted immediately." Since they can't be enacted immediately, the true cost of what he's proposing to do if he becomes president is something more like $5.4 trillion which is still an awful lot of money, way more than could possibly be saved by porkbusting and the like.
Krugman calls it "a gap so large that eliminating it would require cutting Social Security benefits by three-quarters, eliminating Medicare, or something equivalently drastic" but even that is probably an underestimate of the budgetary implications of McCainism. After all, alongside Social Security and Medicare the other big ticket item is defense, where McCain has called, albeit somewhat vaguely, for large increases in defense spending over and above the costs of eight more years' worth of war in Iraq.
Photo by Flickr user Paul Keleher used under a Creative Commons license