Paul Ryan: Pseudologia fantastica
What to make of VP candidate Paul Ryan, who seems to be displaying symptoms he has Pseudologia fantastica, living in a world in which he runs sub-three hour marathons, a world in which his voting record is utterly unlike that shown in the Congressional Record and a world in which the truth is optional.
Pseudologia Fantastica or pathological lying is referred to compulsive lying in psychology Compulsive lying is a situation where a person keeps on lying about facts with no reason or any motivation.
1. Paul Ryan told the Republican National Convention:
My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.
A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.
Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.
In fact, the decision to close the plant was made in June 2008, when George W. Bush was still president. Ryan says that Janesville was “about to” lose the factory at the time of the election, and that President Obama failed to prevent the closure. It’s a lie. Ryan knew the plant had already been schedule to close in 2008 when he issued a statement bemoaning the Janeville plant’s impending closing.
2. The economic stimulus package, Ryan wrote, “cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government.” This is false any way you cut it. By comparison, the Congressional Research Service has estimated that World War II cost $4.1 trillion in 2011 dollars. That was the biggest one-time expenditure ever, not the stimulus. Ryan wrong by about 450%.
3. Ryan declared that the Affordable Care Act would impose “new taxes on nearly a million small businesses.” The Act changed taxes for small businesses in three ways. (a) It provided a tax credit to subsidize insurance coverage for which between 1.4 and 4 million small businesses qualify. (b) It imposes a tax on medical device manufacturers, of which there were only 5,300 in the United States in 2007. (c) Finally, it imposes an employer mandate on businesses that do not provide coverage, which will not affect businesses with under 50 employees. Which, of course, is most small businesses. Far from a tax increase, the overwhelming majority of small business get a tax cut. The number of small businesses facing tax increases is about five thousand, far under a million. Ryan’s claim is a lie.
4. Ryan claimed, “The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst,” Ryan boomed. No it wasn’t. According to Time‘s Michael Grunwald, whose new book The New New Deal is the definitive history of the stimulus, only 0.0001 percent of stimulus funds were wasted on fraud. Grunwald quotes the stimulus’s head watchdog, Earl Devaney: “We don’t get involved in politics, but whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, communist, whatever, you’ve got to appreciate that the serious fraud just hasn’t happened.” Even in the notorious case of Solyndra, House Republican investigation chair Darrel Issa found no evidence of undue political influence. Ryan is lying when he claims that the stimulus was unusually corrupt or devoted to political patronage.
5. Ryan said,”We got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care,” Um. No. The Affordable Care Act greatly expands private insurance rather than implementing a truly government-run insurance system, Canada’s or Australia’s, or a government-run hospital system, like that in the United Kingdom. As Jonathan Oberlander, a health policy expert at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, put it, “The label ‘government takeover’ has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a ‘takeover.’” It’s a lie.
6. On the national debt, Ryan says, “Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. How did the president respond? By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.” Er. No. That’s not even remotely what happened. And since, President Obama has released a comprehensive debt reduction plan, in response to the brewing debate in Congress. You don’t have to like it but Ryan is incorrect in claiming it doesn’t exist.
7. Ryan stated, “[Obama] created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report, he thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” But the bipartisan debt commission itself didn’t come back with a report. There were not enough votes to agree upon recommendations, in part due to opposition from committee member, wait for it, Paul Ryan. The statement misleads viewers by strongly implying that there was a bipartisan proposal and that Ryan supported the proposal. In fact, he aggressively opposed it. The “they came back” is particularly egregious, since it implies Ryan wasn’t involved.
8. Paul Ryan said in his acceptance speech that Obama’s presidency “began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.” This implies that Obama was responsible for Standard and Poor’s downgrading of U.S. debt. That’s a lie. In its report announcing the downgrade, S & P was clear that blame rested with House Republicans for making the debt ceiling increase conditional on deficit reduction. “The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,and less predictable than what we previously believed,” the report reads. “The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.” It also faults Congressional Republicans for “continu[ing] to resist any measure that would raise revenues.” Ahem.
9. Ryan told the crowd, “President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him.” As Ezra Klein at the Washington Post has explained and WC has written, the vast majority of this debt was due either to the Bush tax cuts or the Iraq war, and only a tiny sliver due to the stimulus and other recovery measures.
It is simply untrue to imply that Obama’s policies are primarily responsible for the size of the deficit.
10. And then there’s the marathon time. WC ran a few marathons when he was a pup. He still knows his times. And they weren’t any better than Paul Ryan’s. He was lying.
When does a pattern pf lying signal a psychological disorder? WC is not a psychologist. So take this with a huge grain of salt. But when you lie about stupid stuff, things that are easily proven to be lies, it’s beyond cheesy political exaggeration. It’s looking pathological. This is something worse than the last Republican VP candidate and her position on the “Bridge to Nowhere.” This is at the level of Richard Nixon’s hatchet man, the late Spiro Agnew. And we all remember how that ended.