David Dayen

David Dayen is a contributing writer to Salon.com who also writes for The InterceptThe New Republic, and The Fiscal Times. His first book, Chain of Title, about three ordinary Americans who uncover Wall Street's foreclosure fraud, was released by The New Press on May 17, 2016.

Recent Articles

The EU Leads the Way to Internet Privacy Over Profit

We should be rooting for the success of the General Data Protection Regulation.

(Yui Mok, AP Images)
(Yui Mok, AP Images) T oday begins a revolution in how personal data is collected and managed online. The European Union implements its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), empowering web users to opt out of having their information gathered by websites, with high penalties for non-compliance. Dominant companies have built business models on surveilling and profiling users from every corner of the internet. Nearly all revenue is derived from it, mostly from delivering valuable targeting information to advertisers. The platforms know how much money you make, what you spend it on, what you watch and listen to, whom you owe money to, and what you’re feeling, on a moment-by-moment basis. GDPR could threaten that strategy. “It will require such a rethinking of the way Facebook and Google work, I don’t know what they will do,” says Jonathan Taplin, author of Move Fast and Break Things , a book that’s critical of the platform economy. But last month, The Wall Street Journal and The New...

To Bring Drug Prices Down, Trump Proposes -- Nothing, Really

Eschewing policies to lower costs here, the president tells drug companies to raise their prices abroad. (We’re not making this up.)

(Sipa USA via AP)
(Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA via AP Images) Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, a former Eli Lilly executive, speaks about lowering drug prices as President Trump looks on during an event in the Rose Garden on May 11, 2018. I n 1974, President Gerald Ford announced a plan to alleviate rising consumer prices. “We must whip inflation right now,” Ford proclaimed , holding up a button with the acronym WIN. Ford had no concrete policies to convey, no government price controls or monetary proposals. But he did have the buttons, along with a few recommendations for people to plant vegetable gardens or carpool to save money. The Whip Inflation Now campaign was one of the biggest public relations failures in American history, a slogan in search of an idea. And I couldn’t help but recall WIN when watching President Trump in the Rose Garden on Friday, in front of a sign reading “Lower Drug Prices for Americans.” There were no buttons, but the message was just as empty: a plan to...

Trump Moves to Gut the Post Office

His war on Amazon expands to include the right-wing’s campaign to abolish America’s oldest—and still successful—public service.

(John Rucosky/The Tribune-Democrat via AP)
(John Rucosky/The Tribune-Democrat via AP) United States Postal Service carrier Nate McKeever works his route in frigid temperatures in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on December 29, 2017. S ome may be inclined to think that Donald Trump’s executive order Thursday night establishing a task force to recommend reforms for the U.S. Postal Service reflects another salvo in the president’s war against Amazon. Trump’s attack on Amazon , a clear byproduct of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s ownership of The Washington Post , included the suggestion that the online retailer was “ripping off the post office” by securing a special deal for the USPS to ship packages the last mile. By reviewing the finances of the post office, Trump’s task force could demand increases to that shipping contract, possibly costing Amazon billions of dollars. Whether Amazon actually is getting a special deal on shipping is open to intense debate . The company also happens to enjoy a discount on stamps , which they then mark up to...

Wells Fargo’s Overseer -- Make That Over-Looker -- Has Just Been Promoted

The leader of the San Francisco Fed has been tapped to head the New York Fed, the nation’s frontline bank supervisor. That doesn’t augur well.

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco J ohn Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, will reportedly be handed the job at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It may seem like a lateral move, but it’s definitely a promotion. New York Fed presidents have a permanent seat on the interest-rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, making them the eighth Fed governor in all respects. The New York Fed also serves as the first line of defense against Wall Street’s powerful banking sector. And long-suffering Puerto Rico sits in the New York Fed’s district. For all these reasons, it’s one of the most important economic policymaking positions in the nation. The vital nature of the appointment makes the outcome—and more important, the process behind it—so disappointing. While serving at the San Francisco Fed, Williams failed to detect the tsunami of scandal and fraud at Wells Fargo—and now will be rewarded...

Private Equity: Looting “R” Us

But the new tax law, unintentionally, could put a dent in private-equity scamming.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez A person walks near the entrance to a Toys R Us store in Wayne, New Jersey T he fate of 33,000 Toys “R” Us employees will be sealed in a bankruptcy court this week, as the nation’s last remaining specialty retailer seeks to liquidate all its U.S. stores. It’s a dark moment for the future of retail, and also one to question the business model that drove Toys “R” Us into the grave. After all, it was a leveraged buyout in 2005 that dumped over $6 billion in debt on Toys “R” Us, making it liable for $450 to $500 million annually just in interest payments. Take away that and the company was profitable, with growing operating income the past three years. Last year, it was responsible for 1 out of every 5 toys sold in the U.S.; no company should hit bankruptcy with that market share. But the debt proved too burdensome for Toys “R” Us to survive. In other words, it was a classic private-equity bust-out . The firms in the deal—private-equity giants KKR and Bain Capital...

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