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, will be released by The New Press in May 2016.

Recent Articles

How Congress Scuttled a Plan to Save Puerto Rico From Default

The GOP really is telling Puerto Rico to drop dead.

AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo
AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File In this Wednesday, July 29, 2015 photo, the Puerto Rican flag flies in front of Puerto Rico’s Capitol as in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I t’s now become almost a cliché to emulate the famous 1975 front-page headline of the New York Daily News (FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD) any time Washington leaves some entity to suffer misfortune without relief or aid. But when the Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez resurrected the headline on Wednesday to refer to Congress’ neglect of Puerto Rico, it was hard to argue with its appropriateness. Congress really is telling the island, and its 3.5 million American citizens, to drop dead. As I detailed in a long-form piece for the Prospect ’s winter edition, Puerto Rico is facing a rolling humanitarian crisis. Its debt has swelled to $73 billion, and compelling the government to enact punishing austerity measures that have exacerbated unemployment and poverty. A January 1 debt payment of almost $1 billion is almost certain to not get paid...

The Battle of the Budget Isn't Over

Right-wing Republicans can still pursue their goals through riders on appropriations bills—and, if they don’t get their way, shut down the government.

(Photo: AP/Lauren Victoria Burke)
(Photo: AP/Lauren Victoria Burke) Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise talk to reporters on Tuesday about the two-year budget deal. E ven seasoned observers of Washington seem to have come away from this week’s events thinking that we’ve seen the last of the brinksmanship that has defined the last six years of the Obama presidency. The deal on the budget, debt limit, looming increases in Medicare premiums, and cuts in Social Security disability insurance supposedly “cleans the barn,” to use John Boehner’s phrase. That impression, however, reflects a misunderstanding of the basic facts about the federal budgeting process. All those exultations by progressives that they faced down the House Freedom Caucus and forced them to give up their hostages are wildly premature. Paul Ryan will have to negotiate the same balancing act that ended up forcing his predecessor to retire. What the House passed on Wednesday and the Senate passed early Friday morning is...

Paul Theroux and the Poverty Behind the Numbers

A recent op-ed from the author of Deep South sparked a debate about globalization and American poverty. 

(Photo: AP/Rogelio V. Solis)
(Photo: AP/Rogelio V. Solis) A photo of Pickens, Mississippi, taken October 2011 H as globalization produced better outcomes for humanity in aggregate, or have improvements abroad come at the expense of large parts of the American landscape? And what should we care about more? Author Paul Theroux stepped into this decades-long debate in a New York Times op-ed , a preview of his new book Deep South , where he encountered poverty in the Mississippi Delta “that looked like towns in Zimbabwe, just as overlooked and beleaguered.” Theroux seethed at corporate executives who abandon American communities for cheaper labor, and then vow to “lift people out of poverty,” which they helped create. Theroux’s piece generated outrage, and then outrage at the outrage. Annie Lowrey of New York magazine called him “economically illiterate,” citing per capita gross domestic product and infant mortality rates to argue that global poverty is far more deserving of aid in Africa than the United States...

Pages