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, was released by The New Press on May 17, 2016.

Recent Articles

Trump Eliminates the Middleman

His administration takes aim at the heretofore legal kickbacks to prescription drug distributors—but leaves the drug companies themselves untouched.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File A building on the Express Scripts campus in Berkeley, Missouri A fter a massive corporate tax cut and widespread deregulation, there aren’t many industries fearing that the Trump administration will put them out of business—with one exception. An industry responsible for extracting billions of dollars in profits from prescription drug purchases could soon see its gravy train disappear. I’m not talking about drug manufacturers; they continue to skate by with fake concessions and half-measures. In fact, the Trump administration’s most aggressive actions on drug prices have been undertaken on behalf of Big Pharma. Sadly, that’s often how things get done in Washington, where corporate greed only gets struck down when pitted against a more powerful corporate adversary. It would be far preferable to overhaul the entire system causing drug prices to spiral out of control, but I guess you must start somewhere. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and...

Bank Deregulation 2.0 Is Here

A new bill supported by both Democrats and Republicans is yet another deregulatory action that gives Wall Street room to run in dangerous directions.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) House Committee on Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters and Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling listen during a hearing on July 18, 2018. J ust a couple months after Congress weakened financial rules and chipped away at the Dodd-Frank Act, bank deregulation 2.0 is here. It’s following the common script for financial system corruption, with a toxic mix of legislative hatchet jobs and official neglect that enables Wall Street players to recklessly pile on more risk. The bipartisan nature of the effort is also sadly par for the course, but that doesn’t excuse Democrats from their historical amnesia about the last time the banks got their way. Bank deregulation 1.0 was known as the Crapo bill, as much a commentary on its content as its main author, Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo. It significantly degraded Dodd-Frank, stripping enhanced regulations from banks with up to $250 billion in assets and reversing data disclosures that could have...

Will the Tax Act Set Back Private Equity?

In their haste to find revenue to offset the cost of their tax cut, Republican tax writers have made life a little trickier for the private equity industry.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, second from left, congratulate each other after signing the final version of the GOP tax bill during an enrollment ceremony at the Capitol in Washington S ection 13301 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act spans only 12 of the legislation’s 503 pages. It doesn’t cover the giant corporate tax rate cut, the trim to the top marginal rate, or changes to pass-through income. It wasn’t part of anyone’s talking points, whether touting or damning the tax overhaul. After passage, few even understood how it got into the bill. But Section 13301 could affect the lives of millions of Americans. It could radically upend the balance sheets of some of the most powerful financial institutions in the country. It’s hard to know at this point exactly how these firms will compensate for the changes. But it does show how small shifts in the tax laws can have wide-ranging, unanticipated consequences...

Gutting the AMT

Just to be sure that no wealthy taxpayer is left behind, the Tax Act destroys the Alternative Minimum Tax.

AP Photo/Jenny Kane An IRS 1040 form This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . T he Trump tax cuts have been categorized as a war on blue America. Limiting the state and local tax (SALT) deduction to $10,000 punishes residents of high-tax liberal states willing to pay for good services in places like New York, California, and Maryland. An additional cap on the mortgage interest deduction for loans above $750,000 raises taxes on homeowners in pricey areas, also typically along the coasts. But while blue states are certainly singled out in the tax law, officials have downplayed exactly who gets targeted—those wealthy enough to itemize deductions in the first place. Numbers from the Joint Committee on Taxation show that 70 percent of SALT deductions flow to households making more than $200,000 a year. And that very group—well-off people from high-tax states—also benefits from one of the most obscure but wide-ranging individual perks...

The EU Leads the Way to Internet Privacy Over Profit

We should be rooting for the success of the General Data Protection Regulation.

(Yui Mok, AP Images)
(Yui Mok, AP Images) T oday begins a revolution in how personal data is collected and managed online. The European Union implements its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), empowering web users to opt out of having their information gathered by websites, with high penalties for non-compliance. Dominant companies have built business models on surveilling and profiling users from every corner of the internet. Nearly all revenue is derived from it, mostly from delivering valuable targeting information to advertisers. The platforms know how much money you make, what you spend it on, what you watch and listen to, whom you owe money to, and what you’re feeling, on a moment-by-moment basis. GDPR could threaten that strategy. “It will require such a rethinking of the way Facebook and Google work, I don’t know what they will do,” says Jonathan Taplin, author of Move Fast and Break Things , a book that’s critical of the platform economy. But last month, The Wall Street Journal and The New...

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