Bill Clinton can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. But can he fool all of the people all of the time?

We’ll see. One of his tricks of the trade is to start so many brushfires that honest people just don’t know where to start fighting the blazes. Look how quickly, for instance, people have forgotten about the controversy over the unexplained .45-caliber hole in Ron Brown’s head since Monica Lewinsky came along.

Then people overlook the obvious abuse of a young intern by the most powerful man on earth because he may be guilty of the bigger crime of encouraging perjury. Clinton is always upping the ante – and always getting off the hook because there’s no “proof” of the bigger crime.

Now, in the midst of all the scandals, he may be getting away with what one expert calls “the biggest lie in the history of American government.” I refer to the bipartisan charade currently under way in Washington called the celebration of the first balanced budget in 30 years.

Let me state this bluntly and clearly: Clinton’s proposed budget is not balanced – not even close. In fact, despite a sustained if modest recovery throughout his administration, the budget is no closer to being balanced than it was when he took over the presidency.

Clinton, with the aid and complicity of the Republican Congress and the establishment press, is perpetrating a massive fraud on the American people – maybe the biggest ever, suggests author Martin Gross.

It’s really quite simple. And that’s the beauty of this ruse. How has the government managed to close the deficit in recent years? By counting borrowed money as revenue. As Gross points out, if businesses did this, lots of executives would be rotting in prison cells right now.

In this case, the borrowed money comes mostly from the Social Security Trust Fund, which is, only temporarily, experiencing a surplus. In a few short years, everyone acknowledges, that same fund will be teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. But that’s then. This is now.

The arithmetic is pretty easy to figure out. Last year, the Washington insiders declared the deficit was down to $22 billion. Yet, the national debt, a reflection of accumulated deficits, rose by $188 billion.

How can those two figures be reconciled? Easy. Just ask the bureaucrats who monitor such matters at the Department of Public Debt. They will tell you it’s simply creative accounting designed to put the best spin on irresponsible fiscal policy. The difference is made up by borrowing money and counting it as routine revenue.

Preposterous but true. Where is Ross Perot when we need him? Where are his charts and graphs to awaken the American people from their slumber? Who’s going to get under the hood and fix this?

There’s little interest on the part of the Republican leadership. After all, wasn’t achieving a balanced budget part of the Contract With America? Newt Gingrich obviously plans on taking credit for this accomplishment as much as Clinton and the Democrats do.

Instead, I say a curse upon both their houses. It’s time someone showed some real leadership in Washington and called a spade a spade and a deficit a deficit.

I’m beginning to lose confidence in the American people. They are being taken for fools – and they are playing the part all too well.

But if Clinton and the Congress are equally responsible for this fraud – this flat-out lie and deception – the American news establishment bears a heavy burden of blame as well.

This deceit is so transparent! Yet the major media – from the New York Times to the Washington Post to the networks – happily go along with it. They graciously accept their scripts from officialdom and dutifully pronounce that black is white and red ink is black ink.

No wonder Clinton’s poll numbers are so high. The American people are believing this crap! They are convinced that they have responsible, accountable leadership in Washington. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.

The tail is definitely wagging the dog – not only in the cover-up of the most embarrassing scandals in the proud history of the republic, not only when it comes to matters of war and peace, but even on simple matters of public policy, on simple matters of arithmetic.

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