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

Over 100 Academics Endorse Sanders’s Student Debt Cancellation Plan

The economists and professors say that debt relief can improve and stabilize the U.S. economy.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Bernie Sanders’s proposal to cancel all outstanding student debt in the United States, roughly $1.6 trillion, received an enthusiastic reception online , but a few education policy experts and even left economists were more lukewarm. They say that Sanders’s failure to eliminate tuition at private colleges and graduate programs, along with expenses outside of tuition like books and room and board, will mean that this debt jubilee will be followed merely by another debt expansion. And they add that people who worked hard to pay off student loans get shortchanged by the proposal, which helps the subset of debtors still saddled with debt, rather than everyone who toiled under the debt-financed system. Finally, there are criticisms that the plan is a bailout for wealthy college graduates , who don’t need the help as much as more needy families. But academics who support student debt relief have clapped back. The Prospect has obtained a letter from more than 100 academics...

Facebook Wants to Become the World’s Banker—and Congress Isn’t Paying Enough Attention

Despite the company’s plan to issue its own currency, lawmakers haven’t grasped the threat this poses to the world’s economy.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP Images
In 2005, Walmart announced that it would seek a license in Utah for an industrial loan corporation (ILC)—effectively a bank. At the time, Walmart claimed it merely wanted to save on transaction-processing costs, but the financial world nevertheless went ballistic. Banks of all sizes demanded that regulators prevent Walmart from opening branches and commandeering deposits. Grocers and unions joined them in opposition. Members of Congress demanded that the application be denied, and introduced bills to stop commercial businesses from operating banks. The FDIC issued an unusual moratorium on new ILC licenses, stalling Walmart’s application. By early 2007, the effort fizzled out , and the broad coalition opposed to Walmart had won. Today, you can see a similar coalition coming together, on a global scale, to counteract Facebook, which last week announced it would create a digital currency called Libra. Already, international regulators have expressed alarm at the potential for...

In the Land of the Giants

This article appears in the Summer 2019 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . I spent the day after the 2016 election at Yale Law School, Hillary Clinton’s alma mater. I was supposed to speak to a foreclosure litigation class about my book Chain of Title , and then address the local chapter of the American Constitution Society over lunch. I got through the class, but the lunch speech never came off; Yale Law students were too deep in grieving mode over the results of the election. The catered lunch was still there, so my contact and I went down to eat in this huge, empty lecture hall where I had been scheduled to speak. As I looked up, already demoralized by the day’s events, I saw the massive portrait of one of Yale Law’s former professors: Robert Bork. What struck me in that moment, and now, is that Robert Bork had won. Not because Donald Trump was elected, although there is a direct through line between Bork’s contributions to...

The Democrats’ Retirement Debacle—and Ted Cruz’s Last-Minute Save

The House resoundingly passed a retirement bill that could be dangerous for workers. It’s been blocked in the Senate because of an unrelated perk Cruz wants to give to homeschooling families.

House Democratic leaders are frustrated . They thought America would thrill to the bills they’re passing that have no chance of making it into law so long as Republicans control the Senate, and Donald Trump the White House. Why they thought that is beyond my comprehension—minority-party agendas hardly ever drive political discussion—but they’re desperate to turn attention to a policy agenda rather than oversight of the president (another mistake, in my view). “I’m spending a lot of time on the issues that my district sent me here to work on,” Representative Ben McAdams, a Blue Dog from Utah, told The Washington Post . “But it doesn’t break through. People understand controversy more than they understand retirement reform, you know?” McAdams should hope that people don’t start to understand retirement reform, because then they’d know that the House, by an overwhelming 417-3 margin, passed a retirement reform bill...

Ro Khanna’s Continuing Fight Against Defense Contractor Rip-Offs

Representative Ro Khanna is navigating a major reform through the House, but can Elizabeth Warren do the same in the Republican-run Senate?

When I talked to Representative Ro Khanna last week he sounded a bit groggy, coming off an all-night session in the House Armed Services Committee where he had put forward an amendment to fundamentally change how military procurement works. It came out of a two-year battle over TransDigm, a private equity–style supplier of spare parts for commercial and military aircraft. TransDigm acquires firms to corner the market on certain parts and then jacks up the price to the government, with markups as high as 4,451 percent. Khanna’s amendment would eventually pass, barely, after a major fight that put him up against the ranking Republican on Armed Services, Mac Thornberry. Turning the amendment into law, however, requires getting it through the Republican-controlled Senate, and the key figure there is his Senate partner in the TransDigm skirmish, Elizabeth Warren. Well before the Armed Services Committee took up Khanna’s amendment, the TransDigm case had already yielded a...

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