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

Single Payer? How About a Profit-Driven Single Provider?

The CVS-Aetna merger creates a price-setting behemoth for medications.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File A CVS Pharmacy in Brooklyn, New York L eftists have long desired a single-payer health-care system. The way concentration is going in the health-care industry, they may just get it, in the worst possible manner. On Sunday, CVS announced they would purchase Aetna in a $69 billion deal. This doesn’t just join one of the nation’s three largest pharmacies with one of the five big health insurers. CVS also owns Caremark, one of the three giant pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) middlemen that manage prescription drug benefits for health plans. I see some health economists talking themselves into this deal becoming a positive development for consumers. Don’t bet on it. This gives one company a mountain of inside information on its competition: all of their prescription drug usages, favored methods of delivery, and pricing data. A pharmacy/PBM tie-up, as happened when CVS bought Caremark, already has created an extreme information advantage; integrating an insurer...

How Republicans Imperil Their Own Tax Cuts

Their House and Senate budget resolutions are miles apart—which endangers reconciliation, which endangers tax cuts, which endangers what’s left of the GOP agenda.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, flanked by Senators John Thune and John Cornyn, announces to reporters that the Senate is moving ahead on a Republican budget plan at the Capitol on October 17, 2017. A ny hope of a GOP legislative victory in this session of Congress has come down to a vote on the 2018 budget resolution. And despite the conventional wisdom, there’s no definitive path yet for Republicans to actually get that done. The respective chambers have cobbled together wildly different versions of the budget, mirroring the broad ideological differences within the party. Leaders express confidence that some compromise will be reached. But hard-right members, emboldened by the implosion of the GOP establishment, haven’t exactly warmed to compromise during the first nine months of this year. The budget resolution, mainly an aspirational framework for future funding appropriations that creates no new spending authority, is only important because...

Puerto Rico Devastation Could Lead to National Public Health Crisis

Some critical prescription drugs are only made on the island, and Hurricane Maria halted production at dozens of pharmaceutical factories.

(AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)
(AP Photo/Carlos Giusti) Firefighters arrive at a hospital in Rio Piedras after the failure of the electrical plant in San Juan on September 30, 2017. B efore he gained acclaim for standing up to Google— losing his position at a think tank as a result—the Open Markets Institute’s Barry Lynn had carved a niche as a lonely voice speaking out about fragile global supply chains. His 2006 book End of the Line begins with the story of a deadly 1999 earthquake in Taiwan that shut down so many critical semiconductor factories that practically the entire manufacturing sector for consumer electronics temporarily seized up. When globalization opened up markets around the world, companies sought cheap labor to manufacture their goods. This combined with a revolution in just-in-time logistics to centralize production in specific locations, making supplies of virtually everything we rely on more exposed to unforeseen events. Because Lynn was, well, a lonely voice, this man-made danger never got...

The Ultimate Anti-Competitive Mergers

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

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma A poster advertising GMAC services is posted at a GM/Chrysler dealership in Oakland, California. W hen 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...

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