Actually, lowering taxes would make a difference due to a very simple concept: if people and corporations have more of their money, they will spend/invest more of that money. And let's not pretend lower taxes created this recession; the tax rates had absolutely zero relation to the housing bubble that was intentionally created to replace the dot-com bubble.
You're right it would explode the deficit, further undermining confidence in the dollar and pushing out foreign investment. Which is why spending also needs to be drastically cut, starting with the war/defense budget.
Other unlikely/unpopular alternatives:
Repeal ObamaCare - employers simply cannot bring on more permanent workers because they have no idea what the costs of these new (and existing) workers will be. The law will do very little to "bend the cost curve" as Obama was so fond of saying so premiums for providing healthcare to workers will continue to increase. Will it be cheaper to dump the healthcare and just pay the taxes? No one knows because HHS has yet to spell out the regulations they were supposed to roll out in April (shocking). This can be extended to other over reaching and ineffective regulation (e.g., Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.)
Lower or eliminate capital gains tax - ok, you pay taxes on your income. You pay taxes when you buy things. You pay taxes for using your cell phone and to get a marriage license and for a permit if you want to put in a new bathroom in your home that you "own". After all that, you save some money and make the responsible decision to invest it to save for the future and then if your investment has any gains during the year you have to pay more taxes on that?! (BTW, cap gains are more than just investments, e.g., house) Soon they'll be taxing us to die (oh wait...). Also, it would facilitate the elimination of the carried interest loophole that is so flagrantly abused. (In fact, revamping the entire tax code is long overdue, but I'm not holding my breath on that one)
Reduce corporate tax rate - what happened in Ireland when the corporate tax rate was reduced? The economy surged as companies poured money into the country. They've obviously had problems since then due to over promising on benefits (sounds familiar) but a lower corporate tax rate would encourage investment to flow into the country. The cost of this could be offset by closing loopholes granted by various administrations to favored industries. This would still result in a net tax decrease, allowing companies to invest and grow. That's the real multiplier effect. It would also reduce costs for business paying an army of accountants to comply with or circumvent the letter of the law while reducing their tax burdens as much as possible. They could then reallocate their skills to a more productive line of work.
Unemployment benefits - while we shouldn't be blind to the misfortunes of others, extending unemployment benefits to 3 yrs make no sense to me whatsoever. Don't we want people to find a job? Simple changes to the program would remove the disincentive for people to work. The formula could be scaled back over time, putting more pressure on the unemployed to find something. It could be block granted to the states, allowing each state to determine the best way to temporarily provide support to the unemployed. Jonathan Alter had an interesting idea (a liberal? gasp!) that you could convert a portion of the benefits to vouchers to companies who hire workers. The fact is there are jobs people can find, but they don't want to accept anything less than what their prior salary was. If you try to sell your house or car or anything else and don't have any takers, you eventually realize you have to lower your asking price. People need to extend this basic methodology to the price of their labor.
Gov't cannot create jobs/growth, only the conditions to allow the private sector to flourish.