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

Resisting Trump’s Politicization of the Census

Trump’s intention is to undercount noncitizens, and Supreme Court conservatives appear on board.

Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo
I don’t want to be a pessimist, but a cursory look at oral arguments in the Supreme Court case over whether the Trump administration can pose a citizenship question on the 2020 census offers no room for hope. It just seems likely that the Roberts Court is sufficiently political to waive aside whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted illegally in demanding the question. The only number you need to know is 6.5 million: That’s the projected number of people, both citizen and noncitizen, that a Census Bureau analysis predicted would go uncounted if the question was included on the 2020 form. That number would come mainly from immigrants who are afraid to turn in the forms and expose themselves or a family member to possible deportation. Career officials at the Census Bureau warned Ross about this likely undercount, but of course that’s the whole point—to shortchange immigrant-rich areas for federal dollars and electoral apportionment, the raw material used to...

How Private Equity Ate Hollywood—and Why Writers Are Fighting Back

Now largely owned by private equity firms, the big talent agencies have turned to producing films and shows—both representing and employing writers. That, say the writers, doesn’t work.

Jerzy Dabrowski/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Hollywood is smoldering this week, after the 13,000 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) prepared to fire their agents , the upshot of the termination of a 43-year-old agreement between the union and the Association of Talent Agents trade group. On Saturday, the WGA ordered members to part ways with agents who didn’t subscribe to a revised code of conduct , which rank-and-file writers approved with 95.3 percent support. The form letters informing agents of their firing, which well-known writers have been posting on Twitter , will be delivered later this week. This isn’t a strike or lockout; as much as you might like your favorite television shows to pause to catch up on your DVR, they will in all likelihood continue with minimal disruption. But the battle between writers and agents represents another example of the monopolization and financialization of our economy, and how organized, unified workers can fight back. While the lead antagonists on the stage are...

Forcing Corporations to Pay At Least Some Tax

Warren’s creative breakthrough against corporate scofflaws

Sipa USA via AP
Sipa USA via AP Presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, speaks at a campaign rally in Glendale, California, February 18, 2019. Elizabeth Warren has been dominating the ideas primary since entering the race for president. Today, on the eve of the April tax deadline, she’s turning her attention to the only major legislation passed since Republicans regained control of government—the Trump tax scam. Warren’s proposal, announced this morning, would place a 7 percent surtax on large and profitable corporations. It would raise over a trillion dollars in the next decade, and restore some fairness to a tax code tilted toward corporations that can afford high-priced accountants to work their magic. As the Prospect has reported , the prize of the Trump tax scam was large corporate tax cuts , which did not spur investment but got leaked out to executives and investors through mechanisms like stock buybacks . This gave corporations an enormous return on their...

Trump’s Damaged NAFTA Deal

It looks like the post-NAFTA accord is going down. What then?

A major unanswered question for this Congress was how House Democrats would handle the U.S./Mexico/Canada Agreement (USMCA), the successor to NAFTA. Trade was not a meaningful topic in the midterm elections, clouding the positions of new members. You could imagine Republicans, centrist Democrats, and freshmen with unknown views coming together to pass one of Trump’s bigger geopolitical accomplishments. Those hopes are D-E-A-D dead. Democrats appear bitterly opposed to USMCA, citing protections for Big Pharma and unenforceable labor standards. The Trump administration is running out of time to make the necessary changes for passage, before elections in Canada and the U.S. shut down the process. And perhaps most important, one major USMCA measure that could actually entice liberals has moved to a separate venue for reform, reducing hopes for a salvage operation. USMCA bears many resemblances to NAFTA, which has been cited as a driver of low-wage corporate outsourcing. But Trump...

Congress’s New Progressives Take On the Banks

The House Financial Services Committee—long a landing place for pro-bank Democrats—now includes AOC and a flock of leftists. And Maxine Waters is its new chair.

This is a preview of the Spring issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . The day before Valentine’s Day, the House Financial Services Committee convened its first hearing of the 116th Congress. For the prior eight years, when Republicans controlled the House, hearings were typically reserved for the majority’s demands that Wall Street be relieved from the shackles of regulation. Proposed deregulatory changes were deliberately buried under technical jargon impenetrable to the average American so almost nobody outside the financial industry would comprehend the committee’s giveaways. But that was then. This year, Maxine Waters (D-CA), who assumed the chair after the Democratic midterm triumph, signaled a break with that past with her first hearing topic: homelessness in America . “In the richest country in the world, it is simply unacceptable that we have people living in the streets,” Waters said in her opening statement, noting that over...

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