David Dayen

David Dayen is the executive editor of The American Prospect. His work has appeared in The Intercept, The New RepublicHuffPost, The 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.

Recent Articles

Will Congress Thwart Puerto Rico’s Best Chance for Relief?

A case before the Supreme Court could give the territory the power to restructure much of its debt—but only if Congress doesn’t get in the way.  

AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo
Congress appears to be hurtling toward passage of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which would provide potential restructuring for Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt, while establishing a fiscal control board to oversee virtually every aspect of the island’s fiscal activities, from budget cuts to construction and energy projects. Outside of Bernie Sanders , there appears to be little impetus in Congress to fight PROMESA, despite progressive uneasiness with the inherent colonialism of stripping Puerto Rico of its self-government in favor of unelected minders in Washington, not to mention provisions that would hit workers, by lowering the minimum wage and exempting the island from the administration’s new overtime rule . Liberals stress that, despite its flaws, PROMESA would give Puerto Rico essential tools it needs to restructure its debt, and it represents the best opportunity for relief for 3.5 million American citizens...

The Great Foreclosure Fraud

When millions of families lost their homes to foreclosure in the Great Recession, a nurse, a car dealership worker and a forensic expert blew the whistle on mortgage industry abuses.

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File
Below is an excerpt from Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud , published on May 17 by The New Press . There is a rot at the heart of our democracy, rooted in a nagging mystery that has yet to be unraveled. It gnaws at people, occupies their thoughts, leaves them searching for answers in the chill of the night. Americans want to know why no high-ranking Wall Street executive has gone to jail for the conduct that precipitated the financial crisis. The oddest thing about the predominance of the question is that everyone already assumes they know the answer. They believe that too many politicians, regulators, and law enforcement officials, bought off with campaign contributions or the promise of a future job, simply allowed banker miscreants to annihilate the law in pursuit of profit. But they must not like the explanation very much, because they keep asking why, as if they want to be proven wrong, to be given a different...

What Good Are Hedge Funds?

Hedge funds make big returns by manipulating markets in ways that are illegal for small investors. Remind us: Why are they permitted?

AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano
This article appears in the Spring 2016 issue of The American Prospect . Subscribe here . In the pilot episode of the Showtime drama Billions , a CNBC host grills Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), founder of the hedge fund Axe Capital, at a public forum. “How do you respond to the criticism that hedge funds are the scavengers of the financial sector, and that a select few have undue influence on the markets?” “We’re not scavengers,” Axelrod replies. “We’re white blood cells scrubbing out bad companies, earning for our investors, preventing bubbles. A hedge fund like mine is a market regulator.” This claim invites an important debate: Do hedge funds represent an asset to the larger economy, or a menace? Do they really help make markets more efficient and transparent, or do they just exploit opportunities at the expense of other investors? There are roughly 11,000 such funds—investment vehicles that control a mix of client dollars and...

The Job-Killing Trade Deal You’ve Never Heard Of: The China Bilateral Investment Treaty

In behind-the-scenes negotiations with China, the Obama administration is pushing a trade compact that could export jobs overseas and erode worker protections. Why?

(Photo: AP/Evan Vucci)
The 2016 election has highlighted growing public opposition in both parties to the status-quo globalization agenda, which both sides blame for outsourcing jobs and privileging corporate profits over ordinary workers. This populist voter backlash puts trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on life support , and is forcing candidates to better explain how they would boost jobs and wages. But what if those voters learned that the Obama administration is in the midst of negotiating yet another corporate-friendly trade deal, one that would facilitate more offshoring, and that could also give China, of all countries, effective veto power over domestic policy? That’s precisely what’s happening in behind-the-scenes negotiations over a little-publicized agreement on the table between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies. Just as the White House is trying to sell TPP as a bulwark against China, the administration is simultaneously seeking an...

Hedge Fund Creditors' Deal With Argentina Sets Alarming Precedent

In a deal struck Sunday, hedge funds led by billionaire investor Paul Singer have managed to squeeze billions out of a struggling economy. 

AP Photo/John Minchillo
Argentina’s long march back to international debt markets may finally have reached its end. Late Sunday night, the government and “vulture” hedge fund creditors struck a deal that would allow the South American nation to borrow once again for the first time in nearly 15 years. The longest debt holdout in recent memory reinforces the ethos of the vulture fund: Use maximum leverage for maximum return on a cheap investment in a troubled country. Paul Singer and his hedge fund pals have played this so well that they’re even making their enormous payday look like a loss. The home of tango and 32-ounce grass-fed steaks decided to default on $132 billion in debt after an economic crisis in 2001, closing off access to credit markets. Unexpectedly to purveyors of the neoliberal consensus, growth followed under President Nestor Kirchner amid a commodity price boom. Cleaning up the aftermath, Argentina engaged in two debt restructurings in 2005 and 2010. Roughly 93...

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