Archive for the ‘Ryan’ Category
Yes, geology and economics in the same week. No, it’s not something WC would do in the deep of winter. Cold AND dark AND economics would be too cruel. But it’s bright and sunny, and if it isn’t spring yet, at least you can believe in the possibility of spring again. So economics it is.
Paul Ryan (R, WI) has released another House budget
insult proposal, which once again goes far beyond the alleged deficit crisis and seeks to undo essentially all of President Obama’s painfully won legislation. But the claimed need for Rep. Ryan’s proposed law is the Big, Bad Deficit™. You have to wonder how serious Rep. Ryan is about the Big, Bad Deficit™ when he also proposes to cut the tax rate on high end taxpayers by a breath-taking 14.6%, to 25%. But let’s pass on that piece of hypocrisy – at least for this blog post – and examine the premise instead. How bad is the Big, Bad Deficit™?
During a recession like the one President Bush created, federal income tax revenue to the Feds declines with the reduction in output and income. Folks have lower income and therefore pay lower taxes. Businesses have lower profits, so those taxes go down. Fewer goods are shipped, so there are fewer gallons of fuel sold and fuel tax revenues decline. As the economy shrinks, so does federal revenue. By contrast, some federal outlays to pay unemployment insurance benefits, for example, increase. More folks are out of work. The reductions in taxes and increases in some kinds of expenses are known in economics as “automatic stabilizers.” They bolster economic activity during downturns. But they also temporarily increase the federal budget deficit.
When the economy emerges from the recession, then real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) moves up closer to the maximum sustainable output of the economy (called the potential GDP). Tax revenues automatically rise and outlays for things like unemployment insurance automatically fall. Under those circumstances, automatic stabilizers offer a smaller boost to economic activity or even slow its growth. The effects of these automatic stabilizers are in addition to the economic impact of any legislative changes in tax and spending policies.
It’s the job of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to worry about stuff like this. The CBO uses statistical tools to determine the impact of automatic stabilizers on the Big, Bad Deficit™. The CBO has a proven track record of accuracy and reliability, at least over the short term, across the last twelve years or so. Here’s the CBO’s projection:
According to CBO’s projections under current law, the contribution of automatic stabilizers to the federal budget deficit, measured as a share of potential GDP, will rise slightly in fiscal year 2013, to 2.5 percent. That contribution accounts for about half of the estimated deficit this year. The contribution will remain at 2.5 percent of potential GDP in 2014, accounting for roughly three-quarters of the projected deficit next year.
CBO expects that the budgetary effects of automatic stabilizers will remain large because of the continued weakness in the economy, which is caused in part by the fiscal tightening that is occurring in calendar year 2013 under current law. That tightening includes the reduction in federal spending resulting from the sequestration that went into effect on March 1; the expiration of the payroll tax cut that was in place in 2011 and 2012; and the increase in tax rates on income above certain thresholds starting in 2013.
After 2014, the projected effect of automatic stabilizers on the budget deficit shrinks steadily, dropping to 0.2 percent of potential GDP in 2017 and about zero in 2018. In 2018 and beyond, CBO projects that output will equal its potential, so the automatic stabilizers will have essentially no effect on the budget.
WC will translate this statement for the benefit of readers: The CBO thinks sequestration will significantly hurt the economic recovery. Hurt it badly enough to increase the impact of automatic stabilizers on the deficit. The CBO thinks that sequestration will delay the economic recovery by two years. But beginning in 2015, absent more damnfoolishness by the House Republicans, the economy will again recover, the automatic stabilizers’ impact on the deficit will diminish, and will cease to have any impact at all by 2018.
Another thing the CBO does is try to estimate the budget deficit apart form the cyclical changes in the economy. The CBO tries to filter out the recessions and booms, with attendant impacts from the automatic stabilizers. Here’s the conclusion:
Under current law, CBO projects, the budget deficit without automatic stabilizers will equal 2.5 percent of potential GDP in fiscal year 2013, down from 4.3 percent in 2012 and even larger values in 2009 through 2011. About two-thirds of the drop between 2012 and 2013 results from a projected rise in revenues stemming from the increases in tax rates and other factors apart from automatic stabilizers. The other third reflects mostly a decline in discretionary outlays.
After 2013, the projected budget deficit without automatic stabilizers falls to 1.0 percent of potential GDP in 2014 and 0.4 percent in 2015.
Let’s be clear about this. If it were not for the Neocon intransigence on sequestration, in 2015 there would be no budget deficit. There would be no further increase in the national debt. The Neocons’ refusal to be rational on sequestration is adding years of additional misery to a substantial number of Americans. For no good reason.
In addition to the other Neocon agendas embedded in Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal, he proposes an American equivalent of Eurozone austerity. It’s a recipe for disaster. You don’t have to have a doctorate in economics to see the vicious cycle: austerity means more automatic stabilizers, which means a bigger deficit, which means more austerity, a cycle that loops until a nation’s economy is road kill. If you don’t believe WC, study the first years of the Great Depression. Or, if you want more modern examples, look across the Atlantic at present-day Greece or Spain.
Ryan’s “new” budget proposal aggravates that vicious cycle still further, of course, by proposing a mammoth tax cut for the rich, for no sound reason except they are the Neocons’ major campaign donors. And replacing Medicare with a voucher system, undoing the most cost-effective form of health care in the United States.
What’s the Neocon goal? Austerity is a proven failure. Is the aim to prolong the recession in order to give the Neocons leverage in the 2016 election? Oh, wait, that’s a proven failure, too. There was an election. In 2012. Ryan and his vicious economic plans were rejected by the voters. Are the Neocons dancing on the strings of their billionaire campaign donors? Seriously, what’s the goal here? Rep. Ryan is supposed to be smart guy. What’s smart about Neocon tactics since the first Tuesday in November?
This isn’t a budget. It’s a political manifesto. A rejected political manifesto. Surely the Neocons can do better.
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
In a sick sort of way, it is interesting watching the Republicans and their right wing hangers-on react to the re-election of President Obama.
Paul Ryan blamed “urban voters,” as if it was somehow wrong for them to have voted. Of course, there were a lot of non-urban states like Iowa and New Hampshire that voted Obama/Biden. And Paul Ryan’s own suburban House district in Wisconsin. To the extent Ryan was using “urban voter” as code for “person of color,” he’s flirting with racism, as well as being a sore loser.
The Mitt, on the other hand, claims that the voters were bribed. The Affordable Care Act, in The Mitt’s view, was a bribe to voters – presumably, the middle class – to vote for President Obama. No, Mitt, it’s not a bribe. It’s how a democracy works. Your ideas – tax cuts for the rich, invading Iran – weren’t as popular as the President’s. It’s insulting to thoughtful Americans, and a reversion to your 47% position, to even suggest otherwise. Even your fellow Republicans are appalled. Your comments make me even more grateful American voters were able to see through your façade and turn you away.
Captain Zero, our very own Governor Parnell, has caused the State of Alaska to fail to set up its own health care exchange, or participate in one of the regional health care exchanges. The deadline for action is Friday. Remember, Alaska has one of the highest rates of uninsured citizens. The Captain, disappointed that his health care views were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court and now by the voters in the presidential election, continues to pout. His tantrum is costing Alaskans local control and an unknown amount of future health insurance premiums. Lisa Murkowski’s disingenuous approval of the Captain’s hissy fit is equally discouraging.
Some of the Teabagger crowd are calling for secession, although characteristically, they can’t agree on who should secede, why or where. Dudes, WC is used to appalling levels of ignorance from Teabaggers, but did you know there was a war about this? Did you know that the secessionists lost? Please grow up.
And then there are the impeachment nuts, the same folks that brought us the absurdist street theater that was the Clinton impeachment. At least in the case of President Clinton, there was evidence.
And finally there is Donald Trump, who is calling for revolution. But that’s just the ravings of a clown.
As WC surfs through the right-wing websites, the sound and the fury are generally at the grade school playground level. But WC has one particular gripe he will air. Many of these posts mis-attribute one of their favorite aphorisms, “A democracy can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury,” to Alexis de Tocqueville.
While the grotesque misquote in the sign at left is laughable, Alexis de Tocqeville never said anything of the kind. It’s a misattribution. David Wagner, in an essay in The Atlantic, thoroughly debunks this old chestnut. If an author can be found, it may have been Alexander Fraser Tytler, a Scottish Lord and Royalist, who disapproved of democracies in general and the upstart colonies in particular. But even that’s doubtful; Fred Shapiro, the Editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, implies the quote may have been invented by a nameless editor of The Daily Oklahoman back in 1951.
WC is a bit of a fan the de Tocqueville, and unlike the Neocons who misquote him and attribute to him things would never have said, WC was actually forced to read both volumes of Democracy in America, de Tocqueville’s critique of American government and culture, written in 1835. If the Neocons had actually read the two volumes, they might not be quite so … enthusiastic about he French aristocrat and his views.
But that’s a subject for a future post. For now, WC will only note that among the GOP, any sane voices are being drowned out by noisy emotional infants who want to take their marbles and go home. Which doesn’t bode well for a government which relies upon compromise for progress.
Note: The truly bizarre presentation to the Republican caucus of the Georgia State Senate was on October 11, before the election. So while it provides some useful insight into the mindset of our conservative friends, it cannot count as post-election pouting. WC will grant that it is a frightening insight. Apparently, a Georgia republican senator is required to check his or her skepticism and critical thinking at the door.
The ongoing tragedy of death and severe illness from fungal meningitis dramatically illustrates the danger of Neocons’ narrow view of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It’s a perfect example of why a broader, not narrower, interpretation of the Commerce Clause is critically important.
A “compounding pharmacy” in Framingham, Massachusetts has been identified as the source of fungus-contaminated steroid solution. The steroid solution is intended to be and has been injected into patients’ spinal columns. When contaminated by fungal spores, fungal infections can lead to life-threatening infections in the spinal cord canal and brain. At least eleven persons have died.
Compounding pharmacies, like New England Compounding Center, the suspected source of the contaminated vials of steroid solution, are unregulated by the federal government. The absence of regulation results from a poorly drafted federal law and the U.S. Supreme Court’s blinkered interpretation of the that statute. In 2002 in Thompson v. Western State Medical Center, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Congressional restrictions on commercial speech – advertising – by compounding pharmacies was unconstitutional, and through out not just the speech limitations but the entire body of federal law regulating “compounding pharmacies,” outfits that assemble known drugs. So regulation is left to the state level and is woefully ineffective. Congress has not been able to get its act together to adopt new laws.
As a result, outfits like New England Compounding Center manufacture drugs, ship them into interstate commerce, and are almost completely unregulated. The butcher’s bill for the fungal-contaminated steroid vials so far:
The toll will undoubtedly get worse. Fungal meningitis can take as long as 30 days for cause symptoms, and is notoriously difficult to treat.
In the absence of federal regulation, and in the face of individual state’s inadequate resources to regulate, there is no effective oversight. Instead, there’s the post hoc remedy of product liability regulation. New England Compounding Company is itself effectively dead. All of its products since the start of the year have been recalled. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are lining up and the usual Chapter 11 bankruptcy will probably ensue. It’s the moral equivalent of leaving the hung corpse hanging from the tree to rot, as a warning to others. But there’s no evidence that the hanging corpses deterred criminals and there’s no evidence other unregulated compounding pharmacies would – gasp – reduce profits by imposing FDA-standard self-inspection. Anyone who thinks self-regulation works is invited to read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle as remedial homework.
Nor is there any way that a state like Tennessee – the state with most case counts and deaths so far – can police drugs entering that state.
In any sensible view of the world, outfits like New England Compounding Center, which “compounds” some 2,400 different drugs and distributes them in at least 13 different states, is a drug manufacturer, and not you neighborhood pharmacy assembling a special version of a drug for you because you have an allergy to the standard filler. But after the regulatory cloud from Western State Medical and Congress’s inaction, everyone pretends it isn’t in the business of manufacturing drugs and therefore is unregulated by the FDA.
Which takes us to the Neocons and their narrow view of the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution. An originalist like Justice Antonin Scalia (yes, he was in the majority in Western State Medical) would argue that because the Constitution is silent on interstate shipment of compounded drugs, the federal government has no jurisdiction. Paul Ryan would take us back to the narrow, long-rejected view of the 1930′s. His idol, Ayn Rand, would reject any government oversight of the manufacture of medicines. But two conclusions can be drawn from Food & Drug Administration regulation of medicines.
First, it works pretty well. Yes, the FDA has let some bad stuff slip through, but overall things are much better than the unrestricted, free market days when poisons, narcotics and patent nostrums could be sold without regulation. The FDA is the best means we’ve found so far to the problem of protecting the public from the toxic combination of rampant capitalism and bad medicine.
Second, and more importantly, no one has a better solution that works as well, let alone better. Free market nut jobs who would allow the industry to regulate itself have forgotten, or are ignoring, or are utterly ignorant of history. We tried it. It didn’t work.
All of which is why a broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause, allowing the federal government to regulate companies like New England Compounding Company, is critically important. Lives depend on it. Indeed, WC would argue lives have been needlessly and senselessly lost because Congress has failed to act.
A lot of email piled up while WC was photographing birds. Without much enthusiasm, WC will sort through the missives from the digital illiterati, wing-nuts and assorted True Believers.
There were three emails from folks who claim to have inferred WC is an atheist. Well, they didn’t use the word “inferred” but it’s what they meant. The letters warn that we are in the End Times, that the Apocalypse is coming Very Soon and that if WC doesn’t get his act together, he will not be Saved. One of the few advantages of six decades is a bit of perspective. The Christianists have been claiming the immediately impending End Times WC’s whole life. Hasn’t happened. Remember the pre-millenial hysteria in late 1999? The two (three? four?) failed predictions by Rev. Harold Camping? And when the Christianists bring this apocalyptic world view to politics, the results are even worse. Read Libby Anne’s recent take-down of the Christianist Focus on the Family’s 2008 sixteen page predictions of horror called “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America.” The Christianists were 0-34 in predicting the consequences of an Obama presidency. So please leave WC’s soul alone, friends, until your predictions get better than 50%.
Then were the seven emails from folks touting the value and reliability of off-shore pharmacies they had used, and asking WC to endorse them in this blog. Those same emails said that the recent FDA warning against online pharmaceuticals was just a conspiracy between the Federal government and the national drug manufacturers to protect their turf and keep prices high. WC’s college chemistry is insufficient and rusty. WC has no way to determine if pharmaceuticals contain what they are supposed to, and free of contaminants. For better or worse, WC relies upon the Food & Drug Administration to do thattesting. The FDA has something other than a profit motive to keep themselves in line. It’s imperfect. It’s admittedly imperfect. But better than an unregulated free market. Are you listening Paul Ryan? Mitt? Besides, WC isn’t looking for viagra just now.
Reader Ken P. wrote to remind WC of Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s cynical and pessimistic take on the universe and suggested it explains part of the mindset of conservatives:
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
- H.P. Lovecraft, ”The Call of Cthulhu“
When you consider the Bible’s view of mankind as present from the creation at the center of the universe, and what astronomy and physics have shown to be the truth – that mankind are arrivistes, located in a remote arm of a mid-sized galaxy in a sea of galaxies large beyond our understanding – you can see what Lovecraft is saying. And it’s scarier than any ghost, vampire or werewolf.
But still more frightening, scarier than any Apocalypse, more terrifying than grey market pharma, and more horrifying even than eldritch Lovecraftian horrors is the prospect of The Mitt becoming President.
Lost in the fog of neocon distortions about the impending sequestrations is the bigger issue of the fiscal cliff towards which Congress is blissfully marching. It’s more than the $1.2 trillion sequestration; it’s the lapse of a number of tax and stimulus programs, none of which seem to be on Congress’s horizon. And the concatenation of those various deadlines could be devastating.
Right now, sequestration (a/k/a The Big, Dumb Spending Cuts) is getting all of the attention. It’s a classic illustration of the precept that success has a thousand fathers, but failure is always an orphan. Sequestration was the pistol Congress held to its own head to make the Super Committee work. The metaphoric pistol was an across-the-board cut of $1.2 trillion in federal spending over 9 years. “Across-the-board” means that it’s proportionate to federal spending in each federal program, with half coming out of defense and half coming out of non-defense spending, with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security exempted. In the case of the Department of Defense, the tab is $500 million the first year.
The Super Committee was supposed to resolve Congress’s budget and debt ceiling impasses. If it failed, Congress created that $1.2 trillion worth of dire consequences. This “compromise” was an idea that arose in the Republican-controlled House. (Senator Lindsey Graham (R., SC): “What was our Republican leadership thinking when they agreed to the concept of sequestration?”) As dire as that $1.2 trillion may appear now, it wasn’t dire enough. The Super Committee failed. We now face the consequences. You can’t whack $1.2 trillion in federal spending without costing the country a lot of jobs. So the economic recovery is jeopardized.
On December 31, 2012, the Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire. The payroll tax credit is scheduled to expire. A host of other government incentives and support for the economic recovery will expire. The cumulative effect of all these deadlines and their consequences has earned the nickname, “The Fiscal Cliff.” The Economic consequences of the Fiscal Cliff are very, very serious.
Right now, Congress is doing absolutely nothing about the Fiscal Cliff. instead, they are all focused on the important business of getting re-elected. Based, presumably, on the fine work they have done in marching the country over the Fiscal Cliff.
After the national election on November 6, a lame duck Congress will re-convene, and between that date and the holiday recess accomplish or fail to accomplish the business of avoiding the consequences of their damnfoolishness. No one, least of all WC, is even slightly confident that reason and good judgment will prevail. At best, Congress may be able bring itself to pass some kind of stop-gap bill, carrying the crisis over for the next Congress.
The presidential election is undoubtedly important. But there are three branches of government, and the executive branch is not the one that is dysfunctional. That would be the legislative branch: Congress.
It was Congress – specifically, the Republican-controlled House – that used a routine increase in the debt ceiling to blackmail the Senate into the chain of events that led to sequestration and the current crisis. But we aren’t attempting to fix the problem. Instead, we have a Republican presidential candidate who blames the Democratic candidate for the problem the Republican House of Representatives created.
Is WC the only one who thinks this isn’t likely to fix the real problem?
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.