Friday, September 18, 2009

Does He Lie?


By Charles Krauthammer | Friday, September 18, 2009

You lie? No. Barack Obama doesn't lie. He's too subtle for that. He . . . well, you judge.

Herewith three examples within a single speech -- the now-famous Obama-Wilson "you lie" address to Congress on health care -- of Obama's relationship with truth.

(1) "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits -- either now or in the future," he solemnly pledged. "I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future. Period."

Wonderful. The president seems serious, veto-ready, determined to hold the line. Until, notes Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, you get to Obama's very next sentence: "And to prove that I'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don't materialize."

This apparent strengthening of the pledge brilliantly and deceptively undermines it. What Obama suggests is that his plan will require mandatory spending cuts if the current rosy projections prove false. But there's absolutely nothing automatic about such cuts. Every Congress is sovereign. Nothing enacted today will force a future Congress or a future president to make any cuts in any spending, mandatory or not.

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