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

Official Secrets: A Conversation With Director Gavin Hood

The story of Katharine Gun, a whistle-blower who exposed NSA spying in the lead-up to the Iraq War, gets the Hollywood treatment.

Evan Vucci/AP Photo President Bush visits the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland, January 25, 2006. Y ou may not know the name Katharine Gun unless you live in the United Kingdom, but she was a pivotal figure in the run-up to the Iraq War. Or at least, she could have been. Gun, a translator with the British intelligence service known as Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), received a document just before the war from an NSA manager, seeking British intelligence support in spying on members of the UN Security Council, to effectively blackmail them into voting for a second resolution that would make legal the invasion of Iraq. Gun made the choice to leak the document, which Martin Bright of The Observer in Britain published in a story on March 2, 2003. As a result, there never was any second UN resolution. But the Bush administration went to war anyway, using the pretext of weapons of mass destruction. What happened to Gun afterwards forms the basis of the film...

Warren Plan Would Close Tax Loophole Joe Biden Uses

Biden makes use of the “Gingrich-Edwards” loophole to avoid payroll taxes.

Earlier today I reported on Elizabeth Warren’s plan to expand Social Security benefits by the widest margin in a half-century. There’s a tiny provision in the plan that could loom large in the presidential primary and the campaign of the Democratic front-runner, Joe Biden. Warren vows to close the so-called “Gingrich-Edwards” loophole , a way for the rich to avoid Social Security and Medicare contributions. Self-employed individuals can set up S corporations to pass through earned income from consulting, book advances, speaking fees, or whatever else. The Trump administration just made S corporations more lucrative by adding large deductions for pass-through income. If the individual classifies money taken out of the S corporation as an investor distribution rather than a salary, that money avoids payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. It gets taxed as a corporate profit (at a lower overall rate) rather than income. Newt Gingrich and John Edwards , the...

Warren Proposes the Biggest Expansion of Social Security in 50 Years

The plan, with an immediate $200 per month benefit increase, sets the left edge of the possible on a bedrock Democratic program.

In November 2013, less than a year into Elizabeth Warren’s first Senate term, she gave a floor speech rejecting a persistent push, including from her own party’s president , to cut Social Security benefits. Her outspokenness came out of studying the economy and noting the precarious finances of an aging population. “We don’t build a future for our children by cutting basic retirement benefits for their grandparents,” she argued. “With some modest adjustments, we can keep the system solvent for many more years, and could even increase benefits.” At the time, a few other liberals—Senators Tom Harkin, Sherrod Brown, and Bernie Sanders—had endorsed expanding Social Security, an important protection for a working class struggling to retire with dignity. By joining the fight, Warren helped stave off the march to cuts. What was once the province of a few has become the dominant philosophy in the party. Earlier this year, a Social Security...

Is Trump’s Justice Department Trying to Discredit All Antitrust?

Its plainly political investigation of auto companies that agreed to California’s emission standards is just that absurd.

Frank Duenzl/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim's antitrust division has taken on Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW for striking a deal with California over emissions standards. Late last week, Donald Trump’s Justice Department very publicly opened an antitrust investigation into four auto companies (Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW). This was clearly a punishment for the automakers for reaching a deal with California, against Trump’s will, to set emissions standards at a slower pace than the Obama administration’s initial fuel economy plan, but beyond what the current White House sought. Major editorial pages decried the administration for abusing its authority and bullying the car manufacturers for attempting to act, however modestly, on the climate crisis. Neither editorial managed to so much as mention the name of the main player in this charade: Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general of the antitrust division of the...

Another Equifax Settlement Bait and Switch

Victims get an email clearly intended to throttle cash awards for the data breach. A bunch of lawyers stand to gain $80 million in the exchange.

The Federal Trade Commission’s backpedaling scheme to prevent people from obtaining a cash award in its $700 million data breach settlement with Equifax grew worse over the weekend, as the settlement website sought to further reduce the claimants. The sorry episode continues to look like the work of a scam marketing operation, facilitated by a federal agency with the mission of cracking down on scam marketing operations. Millions of Equifax victims chose to receive a $125 cash award when the settlement was announced in July. The FTC later pulled back on that commitment , warning people that only $31 million was earmarked for the cash payout, that they wouldn’t get anywhere near $125, and that they should really opt for ten years of credit monitoring. The FTC even altered their own website explaining the settlement terms, to de-emphasize the original $125 number. This all led progressive organizations and Senator Elizabeth Warren to call for investigations into the FTC...

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