Does President Obama lie? No, says columnist Charles Karuthammer. “He’s too subtle for that. He . . . well, you judge.”

Three cornerstones of the president’s rhetoric about his health care plans are dissected. The first non-lie is: “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.”

Oh, yeah?

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.

Read the column. The more each and every one of us understands, the better chance we have of defeating this gigantic government take-over of our health system.