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

Democrats Are Ignoring the Power of the Hospital Industry

And this will doom any meaningful reform

Paul Beaty/AP Photo
We have now endured roughly nine hours of Democratic debates for president, a significant chunk of which covered health care. That’s mostly because it’s the issue which engenders the most infighting among Democrats, though it also reflects what base voters have identified as the most pressing issue facing them and their families. But Democrats are actually united on health care in one respect, from Joe Biden to Bernie Sanders. All of them lack the courage to name the one major obstacle to getting any meaningful reform done: the hospitals and medical providers who create the most costs in the system by a wide margin. Watching the debates, I got the feeling that there was a swear jar offstage, and candidates would be fined $10,000 if they said the word “hospitals.” The calculation has been made to choose insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers as the core villains. The candidates have put shackles on themselves, content to debate whether to eliminate...

CNN's Debate Fail

The Democratic debate was an inevitable by-product of turning news into an entertainment and cultural product.

Paul Sancya/AP Photo
Everyone working for CNN should walk into network president Jeff Zucker’s office and resign en masse on Wednesday morning. A “debate” that spent its opening 25 minutes less efficiently than a Super Bowl pre-game show got dramatically worse as the actual questions got started. Jake Tapper then delivered instructions, warning the candidates not to go over time after CNN saw fit to run the national anthem and then a commercial break after the scheduled start time. The only ones wasting time on debate night would be CNN. It would give Tapper and his other moderators too much credit to say that their relentless right-wing framing of the questions was animated by a desire to protect the insurance industry and the border patrol. But that’s not really it. CNN has no politics. CNN has no understanding of politics or policy. I doubt the combined firepower of the 20-person post-game panel could name a bill currently before Congress. The CNN debate was an inevitable by-...

The Facebook Settlement Amounts to Bribery of a Federal Agency

The FTC admitted taking a higher settlement figure from Facebook in exchange for declining to depose Mark Zuckerberg.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
Facebook paid—I would call it, bribed—the Federal Trade Commission $5 billion to protect Mark Zuckerberg from personal liability in violating the privacy of millions of users. I didn’t conjure that up. That was the clear statement of James Kohm , the agency’s associate director of the division of enforcement, who conducted the Facebook investigation. At last week’s announcement of the $5 billion Facebook settlement, Kohm responded to Axios’ David McCabe, who asked why, if the investigation was so exhaustive, was Zuckerberg, the CEO and controlling shareholder, with acknowledged control over every aspect of Facebook’s business, not deposed? “Part of getting this tremendous result with the tools we had is we didn’t need to depose him, but we could use that to get more protections for the public,” Kohm replied. Since the “tremendous result” consists mainly of a fine and establishing an easily ignored privacy...

Democrats Must Reframe 2020 Around Trump’s Corruption

Predicting an economic downturn shouldn’t be the focus when even a good economy fails to benefit everyone.

The path to defeating Donald Trump next November, in my opinion, does not lie in foreboding warnings of an imminent economic washout. It lies in connecting the corruption at the heart of the family occupying the White House to the broader economy, and showing how this rigged system confines the spoils of growth to those wealthy and connected enough to get in line for the payoff, while everyone else treads water. The first option can be tempting. The idea that Trump is causing the economy to burn is easier to get across than the idea that Trump’s stewardship of an economy that looks good in aggregate masks the essential strains for much of the country. But inequality has given the latter idea resonance: It’s actually what Trump ran on, in fact, speaking about scenes of “American carnage” that sounded ridiculous to those who tally up the economy in aggregate but made sense to those in the industrial Midwest living amid the rubble. Trump hasn’t pulled those...

AT&T Hires Verizon (Excuse Me?)

Why has one telecom giant hooked up with its chief rival—and what does it portend for their more than 200 million subscribers?

Lynne Sladky/AP Photo
Friday’s Justice Department announcement approving the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile further consolidates an already concentrated wireless telephone industry, reducing the four major players to three. The deal calls for the divestment of nine million customers to Dish, which would gain access to the merged company’s cellular network for seven years and a mandate to build a 5G operation. The deal thus replaces a smaller but fairly robust fourth competitor in Sprint with a startup that has no history in wireless. If competition was so necessary that the Justice Department had to scramble to try to construct it, it could have just kept Sprint in place by blocking the merger. A coalition of fourteen state attorneys general have filed suit against the merger, and will go to trial in October. But a separate and less publicized deal between the other two telecom behemoths , AT&T and Verizon, each with more than 100 million subscribers of their own, threatens to...

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