David Dayen

David Dayen is the executive editor of The American Prospect. His work has appeared in The Intercept, The New RepublicHuffPostThe Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and more. His first book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud, winner of the Studs and Ida Terkel Prize, was released by The New Press in 2016. His email is ddayen@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Hedge Fund Cash Flows to Presidential Candidates—at Puerto Rico’s Expense

Of the Democratic field, only Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have returned the money. 

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have returned campaign contributions from individuals employed at hedge funds that have investments in Puerto Rican debt. An open letter from a coalition of progressive activist groups sent last week demanded that presidential candidates reject donations tied to the continuing misery on the island. Thirteen presidential candidates received a total of $230,900 in donations from fifteen different hedge funds holding Puerto Rican debt. The other candidates, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg, have not committed to returning the money. “We applaud Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in this important step and show of solidarity for the people of Puerto Rico,” said Julio López Varona, co-director of community dignity campaigns at the Center For Popular Democracy, in a statement. “No presidential candidate can call themselves a friend of Puerto Ricans while taking money from hedge funds...

How Elizabeth Warren Works the Political System

She has an approach that involves identifying ways to make progress and focusing relentlessly on achieving them.

Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press
Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press What sets Senator Elizabeth Warren apart is that she uses the levers of power available to politicians with a platform in Washington to achieve progress—and she is willing to criticize allies in the process. I get a little annoyed by trendy, overused terms like “theory of change” that always seem to me more like after-the-fact justifications for how leaders manage to succeed than a premeditated idea. But you can build that thread with Elizabeth Warren, and take some lessons from her approach to politics, a combination of quiet bureaucratic skill, persistence, and the leverage of grassroots coalitions as outside muscle. None of this is particularly innovative, but what sets Warren apart is that she uses the levers of power available to politicians with a platform in Washington. She recognizes that the position of U.S. senator allows for more than just what you vote on or what amendment you can write, and it can be worked to achieve...

Some Friendly Chats Between Big Tech and Its Regulators

FOIAs of the Federal Trade Commission’s back-and-forth with Google make clear it’s less a regulator than a helpful pal.

Xavier Vila/SIPA/AP Images
Last week, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Joseph Simons told Bloomberg News that the antitrust inquiry into tech platforms could end with breaking companies like Facebook apart, a statement he hedged almost immediately. “It’s not ideal because it’s very messy,” Simons said. “But if you have to, you have to.” The resignation with which Simons viewed the prospect that the FTC might have to use statutory law to its logical conclusion makes clear that our Second Gilded Age’s inability to restrain runaway monopolies is the product of deficient will. And we know this not just because of one line in a news report, or the recent history of the FTC effectively taking bribes to halt investigations. Just take a stroll with me through a selection of available FTC internal emails. When journalists or outside groups petition the FTC for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the agency helpfully posts the results if the same subject gets...

Trump’s Fake Trade War With China

It will neither change China’s own predatory behavior nor get America to the industrial policy we need.

A week ago, China allowed its currency to depreciate past a key benchmark of seven yuan to the dollar, a record low. A cheaper currency translates into cheaper imports, and offsets to some degree the hardship from tariffs on goods made in China. This sent markets plummeting and pundits castigating the Trump administration for further damage from the trade war. Armageddon , or at least recession , was predicted. But markets have since recovered, sensing the truth that neither side in this war has a particular interest in fighting it, as can be seen from subsequent actions. That’s actually a shame, because it frustrates the real need to reverse a manufacturing supply chain that is bad for workers, bad for global security, and even bad for China’s attempts to modernize its economy. The game was up when Trump struck back in the most ineffectual manner possible, slapping a currency manipulation label on China, even though, if anything, China was intervening to prop its currency...

Bernie Sanders Visits the Heart of America’s Homelessness Crisis

At Skid Row in Los Angeles, Sanders witnesses the callous neglect of human beings—and hope for combating the problem.

The man at the Star Apartments in the section of downtown Los Angeles known as “Skid Row” wasn’t used to being canvassed by any politician, let alone having a bank of news cameras greet him at his doorstep. He flashed surprise when he opened the door. Then he focused on the white-haired man in the sport jacket, smiled, and said, “Bernie, I was just watching you on TV!” Senator Bernie Sanders was touring the Star Apartments , a facility providing permanent supportive housing to over 100 formerly homeless individuals, as part of a day of campaigning in southern California focused on affordable housing and homelessness. Skid Row is not a typical stop on the trail; aides could not recall if Sanders visited during his 2016 presidential run. (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did tour Skid Row last year.) But if you want to understand the heartbreak of our housing policy and the promise of how it can be improved, you have to come here. “It is painful to know that...

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