Today on The BradCast we try and nip another completely false, outrageous rightwing Zombie Lie in the bud before it eats too many brains and becomes canon in the Wingnut Multiverse. Wish us luck. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

But first, a few news items today...

  • Extreme, climate change-fueled weather is now pretty much just exploding everywhere. Today, the two latest chapters: a pair of deadly wildfires in New Mexico and "A" is for "Alberto", the first named storm of what is expected to be an exceptionally busy and intense hurricane season given the unprecedented record warmth of ocean waters. This particular storm, in the Gulf, appears to be heading toward Mexico, though its already grazing parts of Texas with a ton of water.
  • Tuesday's Congressional Primary elections in Virginia, Oklahoma and Georgia appear to have gone off smoothly enough for now, with the biggest story coming out of Virginia in the Republican primary for the 5th U.S. House District. Far-right Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Bob Good was thought to be all but done for, as he was targeted by both Donald Trump (because Good dared to support DeSantis in the Presidential Primary) and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (because Good was one of eight Republicans who voted him out of the job earlier this year.) An even farther Right, well-funded state Senator by the name of John McGuire was set to easily unseat Good, and still might. But, as of airtime, there are just 321 votes between them out of more than 62,000 tallied to date. Counting of late mail-in will resume tomorrow between the two election deniers following a break for today's Juneteenth federal holiday.
  • And, down in Louisiana today, far-right lawmakers and the state's new far-right Governor Jeff Landry have decided they don't care much for the U.S. Constitution's establishment clause, and have decided to mandate that the Ten Commandments must be posted in every public elementary, middle school, high school and college classroom in the state. That'll show those U.S. Constitution loving heathens! The effort is obviously an attempt to bring the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes that its corrupted rightwing majority will overturn decades of precedent respecting the separation of church and state. And I bet they will.

THEN... Last September, California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new state law to increase the minimum wage for fast food workers at national companies with more than 60 stores from $16/hour to $20/hour. Before it even took effect on April 1 this year, Rupert Murdoch's rightwing media outlets (Wall Street Journal, NY Post, Fox "News") were working overtime in cahoots with an outfit calling itself the California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) to claim that thousands of fast food jobs had already been cut after Newsom signed the bill into law.

A UCLA Economics Professor by the name of Lee Ohanian either went along with it or fell for it, detailing the supposed massive job loss in an article at the right-leaning policy think-tank called the Hoover Institution, part of Stanford University, citing WSJ's misleading employment statistics. It all offered a nice academic patina to the (false) claim that nearly 10,000 fast food workers had been laid off between last September and January, thanks to Newsom and California's Marxist policies.

CABIA then happily cited the "Hoover Institution" in a full-page advertisement in USA Today earlier this month, a mock obituary declaring "In Memoriam: Victims of Newsom's Minimum Wage". The ad cites Hoover for its claim that "nearly 10,000 fast-food jobs" were lost "after $20 minimum wage signed last fall." The ad details all the hard times for poor McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Subway, Rubio's California Grill, and about half a dozen others. All victims of California's impossible idea that people who work should receive a living wage in exchange.

Turns out, as our guest today, Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist and author MICHAEL HILTZIK reports at the L.A. Times, the claim, the statistics used and the entire argument put forth by WSJ, NY Post, Fox "News", CABIA and Hoover is all "baloney, sliced thick." And Hiltzik has the receipts from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Federal Reserve to prove it.

In fact, Hiltzik details, as it turns out, fast food employment actually went up from last September to this past January --- when using seasonally adjusted figures --- and even continued to go up after the law took effect on April 1, with employment in the sector outpacing April of 2023 (apples to apples!) by nearly 7,000 jobs.

"What we're dealing with here is the misuse of employment figures by essentially using non-seasonally adjusted figures, rather than what CABIA and the Wall Street Journal should be using, which is seasonally-adjusted," Hiltzik tells me, describing the scam. "When you have an industry in which employment fluctuates during the year for seasonal reasons, you have to use seasonally-adjusted figures. That's the case with fast food restaurants. Everyone in the restaurant industry knows this. Employment in restaurants peaks in September, year after year after year. You have to compare each month to the same month in other years, and that's why the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that, in fact, employment in the sector in California went up compared to the same earlier period."

"Any economist knows that you absolutely must use seasonally-adjusted figures. The Wall Street Journal didn't seem to know this, even though they're supposed to be experts in finance and the economy," he scoffs.

Hiltzik describes the Murdoch/CABIA/Hoover sleight-of-hand as "fabricated" and "false", and we discuss why it's happening --- an has been nationalized --- in the first place. He also debunks the lie that Rubio's Grill has had to close 48 stores across the state thanks to CA's new leftist law. (Spoiler: It was private equity, not the $20 min. wage, that dunnit.)

For the record, though Ohanian, the UCLA professor who laundered the Journal's purposely misleading numbers at the Hoover Institution, admitted to Hiltzik that he got it wrong, his April 24, 2024 article is still posted there without correction or retraction...


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