David Dayen

David Dayen is the executive editor of The American Prospect. His work has appeared in The Intercept, The New RepublicHuffPost, The 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.

Recent Articles

The Ultimate Anti-Competitive Mergers

“Fintech” is promoted as great for consumers. Mainly it’s about more market power.

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
When you need a new mortgage in the future, will your only options be AmazonWellsFargo or AppleChase? The prospect of a mash-up of banking and commerce keeps people like George Washington University law professor Arthur Wilmarth up at night. “This would mean an end to healthy innovation and startups and competition,” said Wilmarth. “I think it is that dire.” Wilmarth sees the seeds of a new era of conglomerates in a series of actions by federal regulators and small firms to allow “fintech,” or financial technology companies, to become FDIC-insured banks. In June, SoFi, which offers student loan refinancing and wealth management services for high-income young people, applied for an “industrial loan company” charter in Utah, and early this month, the payment processing company Square followed suit . The Utah loophole has long been a back door for banks to get into ordinary commerce, and it keeps getting worse. The Office of the Comptroller...

Puerto Rico’s Double Whammy: Irma and Hedge Funds

The fiscal constraints the island’s bondholders have inflicted will make hurricane recovery very difficult.

(AP Photo/Ramon Tonito Zayas)
Irma, the largest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, has proven cruelly fickle as it surges through the Caribbean. The Category Five storm “ hit like a bomb ” on the small islands of Barbuda and St. Martin , destroying up to 95 percent of the structures and rendering the areas “ barely habitable .” But Irma stayed north of Puerto Rico, sparing the island from the worst. That’s not to say that Puerto Rico didn’t sustain damage. Three people died , according to Governor Ricardo Rossello, and nearly one million households are without power. That’s about two-thirds of all electricity customers on the island, and the outages could linger for up to six months , according to a preliminary report released before the storm hit. Backup generators have only about 40 percent of the hospitals operating. Persistent rains—up to 12 inches in parts—could make flash flooding the biggest ongoing danger. And this is seen as a dodged bullet! These...

Want to Bring Down Drug Prices? Go After the Middleman

“Pharmacy benefit managers”—companies that claim to lower prices—actually jack them up.

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Ask any member of Congress what their constituents ask them about most and they’ll probably cite the high cost of prescription drugs. There’s enough anxiety about it to generate space for a bipartisan solution . But the battle over saving Obamacare has dominated Washington, leaving no room for considering improvements to the health system. Even the fixes now being discussed mostly fall under the heading of ameliorating individual market exchanges. Prescription drug costs are somehow seen as a separate issue from health care. Where Congress won’t act, an angry public is stepping into the breach. An important set of lawsuits target one of the biggest causes of higher prices—the middlemen that game the pharmaceutical supply chain by extracting profits from practically every player. Eventually, that gouging gets passed down to consumers. All of which shows why, if we’re truly going to overhaul the health-care system, we have to understand how it works. The...

The Great Los Angeles Revolt Against Cars

L.A. voters have chosen to tax themselves to build a citywide rail system. Can rail also resurrect the city’s long-vanished middle class? 

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
This article appears in the Summer 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . screen_shot_2017-07-19_at_4.28.52_pm.png On May 20, 2016, residents of downtown Los Angeles boarded a passenger rail car and traveled 15 miles west to the water’s edge—something no Angeleno had been able to do since the early 1950s. The new Expo Line extension, colored aqua because of its connection to the ocean, prompted memories of the old Pacific Electric streetcar, which traveled practically the same route before the line was shut down in 1953. “My grandparents talked about going to the beach on dates from Mid-City,” says Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I wanted to do that for my grandkids.” Denny Zane was on the Santa Monica platform at 4th Street and Colorado Avenue that day. He’d been mayor of the beach town in 1990, when the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (later known as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro)...

Gorsuch’s First Opinion: Let Debt Collectors Run Amok

Through a narrow reading of three words, the Court takes a leash off an irresponsible industry.

Olivier Douliery/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Justice Neil Gorsuch’s first Supreme Court opinion won’t earn much notice in his biographies. The unanimous decision reads more like a grammatical lesson, scrutinizing one line of text in a decades-old statute. But if you have ever been harassed in the middle of the night by a debt collector, or been threatened with tax liens or court summonses or even bodily harm, you should understand what Gorsuch and his fellow justices did on Monday: They gave some of the worst bottom-feeders in the economy a free pass to break the law. The case, Henson v. Santander , looks pretty innocuous at first reading. But the Roberts Court’s deference to big business, and lack of experience about the real-world legislative implications of their legal debating club, turned this decision into a huge win for financial predators. It’s now up to Congress to fix what Gorsuch and friends broke. But with the current group in charge, don’t hold your breath. Here’s what the case is...

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