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 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...

America’s Most Dangerous Temp

Trump’s temporary appointee as chief bank regulator has spent his career helping banks evade regulations—and is exempt from the standard ethical safeguards. 

(Photo: AP/Jacqueline Martin)
Two weeks ago, 44-year-old Keith Noreika was just another corporate lawyer, advising bank clients on evading regulatory enforcement. Today he runs the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the second-most important banking regulator in the federal government. And nobody seems to know how long Noreika will hold this power, how much authority he will wield, or whether he will use the office to assist the very large banks for which he previously worked. You’ve heard of the fox guarding the henhouse; this is the case of a hen, plucked out of line and made the lead watchman. OCC needed a leader after Obama-appointed comptroller Thomas Curry’s five-year term expired in April. Rather than make a career staffer acting comptroller until the Senate confirmed a replacement—the common practice for federal agencies—Trump’s Treasury Department (OCC sits within Treasury) hired Noreika off the street as a “first deputy comptroller,” and slid him...

Our Bankrupt Policy for Puerto Rico

The restructuring of the island’s debt allows no role for the Puerto Rico’s government.

AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File
The endgame for Puerto Rico’s debilitating fiscal crisis has begun. Unable to manage a $74 billion debt that has accompanied a decade of recession, spikes in poverty, and a mass exodus of citizens, the island will now turn to federal courts to approve a resolution with its creditors. But in many ways nothing has changed for Puerto Rico. The congressionally-imposed fiscal oversight board, known locally as the junta , remains in control as lead negotiator in restructuring talks. Whether Puerto Rico’s three million citizens get a fair deal or a continuation of harsh austerity depends almost entirely on seven unelected, unaccountable technocrats. Frustrating journalists everywhere, what Puerto Rico did on Wednesday cannot be called “bankruptcy,” because Congressional Republicans who passed last year’s PROMESA law didn’t want to be saddled with such language. But the process under Title III of that law uses the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure to...

Merge, Bail, and Make Out Like a Bandit

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer is just the latest CEO to fail at her job, see her company merged, and float away on a huge golden parachute.

(Photo: AP/Eric Risberg)
Corporate America prides itself on rewarding success and punishing failure. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer does not fit comfortably into that narrative. During her five-year tenure at the once-proud tech firm, user levels stagnated , ad revenue dropped , acquisitions cratered , layoffs accelerated , product quality floundered , and hackers stole the personal information of more than one billion users. But when Yahoo’s sale to Verizon becomes official in June, with the restructured company renamed Oath , Mayer will walk away with $186 million , according to a regulatory filing released this week. That includes shares of Yahoo stock Mayer owned, stock options, and a $23 million “ golden parachute ” of cash, restricted stock units, and medical benefits. Mayer did relinquish $14 million while taking responsibility for the Yahoo Mail data breach, but she’ll get 13 times that amount just to no longer remain part of the company. Mayer’s award is not merely an...

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