When President Bush says that by privatizing two-thirds of your Social Security payments “with a conservative mix of stocks and bonds … your money will be able to get a better rate of return than the money inside the Social Security trust,” it’s a lie.

When he says his budget proposal will cut the $400-billion-plus budget deficit in half by 2009, it’s a lie.

When Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says about possible military action against Iran: “The question is simply not on the agenda at this point in time. We have diplomatic means to do this,” does anyone believe her?

After four years of taking the big lie to new heights, how can anyone believe a word they say? We’re exactly where we feared we’d be three years ago, after all the lies leading up to the invasion of Iraq–this administration has no credibility.

For the record, the Social Security guarantee is patently a lie because no one can predict how the markets are going to do. We do know, however, that if the plan is adopted as now conceived, benefits will be cut by 3 percent, and if investments don’t do better than that, tough luck.

The predicted deficit reduction is unreal because there’s so much the budget proposal managed not to include–things like the latest $80 billion request to pay for the war and the trillion or so dollars to pay for individual retirement accounts.

And as for Rice’s assurances, who are you going to believe, her or Seymour Hersh, who reported that the administration is already sending teams to foment unrest in Iranian cities. I bet I know who they believe in Iran.

Closer to home, we heard another big lie from the corporately geared Emerging Issues Forum. The lie is that making health care available to everyone is too expensive to tackle. So why are most other industrialized countries covering their populations and spending less per capita than we do?

There is hope. Many conservative members of Congress see the insanity of messing with Social Security, a program on which so many of their constituents depend. And there is growing public and Congressional disenchantment with the war.

We have a chance this week to be loudly heard: Bush is due in Raleigh on Thursday.

Maybe, after some of us raise hell and everyone absorbs the rest of Bush’s budget (charging veterans more for health care, cutting money for the environment and the nation’s parks, getting rid of Amtrak), we’ll all see the truth.