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 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.

Section 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. What does Section 13301 do? It limits the ability of corporations to deduct interest payments from their overall taxes. Previously, companies could take all of their interest payments as a deduction, making financing operations through debt...

Gutting the AMT

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

This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . The 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 in the bill: the...

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)
Today 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...

To Bring Drug Prices Down, Trump Proposes -- Nothing, Really

Eschewing policies to lower costs here, the president tells drug companies to raise their prices abroad. (We’re not making this up.)

(Sipa USA via AP)
In 1974, President Gerald Ford announced a plan to alleviate rising consumer prices. “We must whip inflation right now,” Ford proclaimed , holding up a button with the acronym WIN. Ford had no concrete policies to convey, no government price controls or monetary proposals. But he did have the buttons, along with a few recommendations for people to plant vegetable gardens or carpool to save money. The Whip Inflation Now campaign was one of the biggest public relations failures in American history, a slogan in search of an idea. And I couldn’t help but recall WIN when watching President Trump in the Rose Garden on Friday, in front of a sign reading “Lower Drug Prices for Americans.” There were no buttons, but the message was just as empty: a plan to lower drug prices based mostly on mouthing the words “we will lower drug prices.” It’s no wonder drug company stocks climbed higher even while Trump was talking. The fact that this speech was...

Trump Moves to Gut the Post Office

His war on Amazon expands to include the right-wing’s campaign to abolish America’s oldest—and still successful—public service.

(John Rucosky/The Tribune-Democrat via AP)
Some may be inclined to think that Donald Trump’s executive order Thursday night establishing a task force to recommend reforms for the U.S. Postal Service reflects another salvo in the president’s war against Amazon. Trump’s attack on Amazon , a clear byproduct of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s ownership of The Washington Post , included the suggestion that the online retailer was “ripping off the post office” by securing a special deal for the USPS to ship packages the last mile. By reviewing the finances of the post office, Trump’s task force could demand increases to that shipping contract, possibly costing Amazon billions of dollars. Whether Amazon actually is getting a special deal on shipping is open to intense debate . The company also happens to enjoy a discount on stamps , which they then mark up to their own marketplace sellers, a pure arbitrage deal to earn profits from a publicly issued product. But these issues have almost nothing to do...

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