Slate’s economy-focused offshoot Big Money runs a brief, sharp analysis of why McDonald’s is doing so well these days. It starts out by accusing the fast food chain’s COO Ralph Alvarez of being a stone-cold liar, and then praises him for a bunch of sharp moves.

The story piggybacks off a Wall Street Journal piece on the company, which focuses on the “difficulties” faced by McD’s due to the worsening economy. Difficulties, ha! The burger maker is doing great, particularly in light of the dismal drops most U.S. businesses are seeing.

Alvarez insists it’s not because of the crap economy that McDonald’s is burgeoning. Slate writer Dan Mitchell disagrees: “There is zero doubt … that the stalled economy is boosting McDonald’s sales in a big way. The company, of course, doesn’t want to be known as the go-to spot for the New Depression, so it’s naturally going to downplay the fact that the slowdown is helping business.”

Oh, and by the way, McDonald’s was one of only two Dow companies that ended 2008 with a gain in share price. The other was Wal-Mart.

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