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

The Newly Energized Progressive Caucus Is Winning

If recent votes are any indication, the next flurry of liberal policymaking will look far different from the last one.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP Images
Underlying the resistance of Nancy Pelosi and the House leadership to the “Squad” of progressive freshmen Democrats of color is a presumption that, while it’s nice to dream big about Medicare for All and Green New Deals, the mainstream of the House Democratic Caucus—or at least the members from purple district—live in the center. It’s impossible to fulfill ambitions beyond that narrow sliver of political terra firma , or so the theory goes. But the reality of the past couple months of experience renders a negative verdict on that theory. The Congressional Progressive Caucus, newly energized by determined leadership and many more members, has been winning repeated battles on domestic and foreign policy, revealing a caucus that can unify behind popular proposals on the left. The wins keep racking up in ways that are too numerous to be anomalous. I recognize that these progressive votes were taken in a kind of model Congress, where there’s no...

Eugene Scalia Once Represented a Big Bank in a Sexual Harassment Case. It Got Ugly.

In a 2015 deposition, the Labor Secretary nominee highlighted a victim’s sexual history and intimated that she schemed to win a payday.

Anyone who has covered financial reform had a flash of recognition when Donald Trump nominated Eugene Scalia , son of the late Supreme Court justice, as the next Labor Secretary. Scalia, a partner at the white-shoe law firm Gibson Dunn , has been the hired gun of the financial industry in its often successful attempts to soften the blow of Dodd-Frank. Scalia was the lead attorney challenging the “position limits” rule meant to rein in speculation on oil contracts. He got the courts to throw out the “ proxy access ” rule that enabled shareholders to propose alternative candidates for corporate boards of directors. He led the fight to toss Dodd-Frank’s “extractive industries” rule, which would have required oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose all payments above $100,000 made to foreign governments. He represented MetLife in the company’s successful effort to shed a designation as a “systemically important financial institution...

Steve Ricchetti, Top Biden Campaign Aide, Was a Health-Care Lobbyist

The vice president’s former chief of staff once represented hospitals and drug companies. Now he is part of a campaign that is attacking Medicare for All.

Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo
If Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden meet on the debate stage in Detroit later this month, it’s not likely to be as cordial as it went in Miami. The two presidential candidates have been sparring intensely over Medicare for All, Sanders’s signature plan for universal health care. Biden has rejected Medicare for All as risky and unrealistic, while Sanders defended it in a July 17 speech, where he also issued a pledge challenging all 2020 candidates to deny contributions of $200 or more from PACs, lobbyists, or executives of health insurance or pharmaceutical companies. “When it comes to health care, the insurance and drug industries have been able to control the political process,” Sanders said in the speech. A top member of Biden’s brain trust fits that description. Steve Ricchetti, referred to as Biden’s campaign chairman in a published report last month, was a longtime lobbyist for health care and other corporate clients. He worked for then-vice...

A Week of Reckoning for Big Tech

The platform monopolies face three hearings on Capitol Hill that could define future actions against them.

Today begins a pivotal moment for the tech platforms that have been allowed to dominate the nation’s economy and democracy for many years. Three separate hearings in three different congressional committees over the next two days will reveal the extent to which Big Tech has lost all its allies on Capitol Hill, and whether it will be able to escape real scrutiny of its practices anyway. Two of the three hearings concern Facebook’s digital currency Libra, amid bipartisan consternation. After Libra was announced last month, I expressed concern that nobody in Washington was taking it very seriously. My concern has lifted. Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers that Libra raised “serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.” This perhaps responded to bipartisan concern that the Fed, by dragging its feet on a faster payment system, left a back door open for Facebook and other monopolists. If...

At Netroots Nation, a Worker’s Voice Spoke Volumes

Sarah Woodhams, a laid-off Toys “R” Us employee, highlighted the schemes of private equity, to a somewhat baffled Julián Castro.

Cory Clark/Sipa USA/AP Images
PHILADELPHIA—The Netroots Nation presidential candidate forum was a sleepy affair, with four hopefuls mostly rehashing existing positions before a generally admiring audience. But one moment shook that up, when Sarah Woodhams, a 33 year-old former employee at Toys “R” Us, took the stage with her baby to pose former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro a question. As the Prospect has documented , private equity firms KKR and Bain Capital, along with real estate firm Vornado, took over Toys “R” Us in a leveraged buyout and dumped over $5.3 billion in debt on the company, digging a hole that proved impossible to climb out from. Toys “R” Us operating income grew each of its final three years , and in 2017, its final year, it was responsible for 1 out of every 5 toys sold in the U.S. But the $450 to $500 million in annual interest payments pushed the retailer into insolvency, while the private equity managers walked away...

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