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Byko: Why do politicians lie?

Some use stolen squalor to put themselves in a poor light

Now they do it as candidates.

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Katie McGinty has repeatedly said she was one of 10 kids and the first in her family to go to college.

Turns out, it's not true.

When people falsely claim military service or honors, that's called stolen valor.

Politicians seem to like stolen squalor.

In an effort, I guess, to connect with "the masses," they claim hardships they did not experience.

Rather than simply say she was the second to go to college, or the first woman in her family to do so, McGinty crossed a line. Why?

In this campaign, she was caught once before, claiming not to have accepted campaign gifts from special interests:

That was a slightly less clear case.

McGinty brought to mind Hillary Clinton's claims of having left the White House almost in poverty. I pictured a U-Haul taking most of their belongings. The poverty wasn't true and since which she and Bill have been richly compensated. And I do mean richly.

I'm not going to dredge up Benghazi and emails here.

Bernie Sanders' back story rings true, having grown up in a Brooklyn apartment. In the era in which he grew up, his family had little money. Pretty much, post-World War II, nobody had much money until the economy expanded and by then Bernie was on his way to the University of Chicago.

Gotta say this about Donald Trump – he never claims to have risen from poverty. That's one of the few things he hasn't lied about.

Hillary remembers dodging sniper fire in Bosnia and Brian Williams – who's not even running for office – says his helicopter took fire in Iraq, and lots of candidates can't accurately remember how they voted on issues.

Why do they lie?

Is it as simple as trying to make themselves look bigger – as in dodging gunfire? Or are they trying to make themselves smaller, to identify with average Americans? "I feel your pain."

The thing of if it is, we were taught lying is wrong and supposedly we don't respect liars.

But it seems like we do elect them.