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

For Trade Deal, Bad News Keeps Mounting

Election-year jitters and bad economic signs cloud outlook on Capitol Hill for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

(Photo: AP/Susan Walsh)
This week, emissaries from 12 Pacific Rim countries will meet in New Zealand to sign off on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the most ambitious trade deals in history. But when the ministers sign the agreement in Auckland—presumably after authorities finish rounding up “known activists” in their bid to fend off protests—it will represent the beginning, not the end, of the fight. The 12 nations must now ratify TPP, without amendment, through their national legislatures. Members of Congress, especially those up for re-election this year, do not relish that scenario. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, told NPR this month, “As Trent Lott used to say, you don't vote on a trade agreement in an even-numbered year.” Translation: Corporate-friendly trade deals that ship jobs overseas don’t tend to sit well with voters. Even lawmakers who support free trade would rather not trumpet that fact at election time. Indeed, all the highest-...

Creditors Cry Foul as Puerto Rico's Default Is Smaller than Expected

The pain caused by Puerto Rico's financial crisis is very real, despite what investors may think. 

AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo
Everyone expected Puerto Rico to default on some portion of its nearly $1 billion in debt payments due January 4. While that did happen , the total sum in default, $37.3 million, was substantially smaller than feared. In fact, it came in lower than a previous $58 million default last August. This has led to a lot of loose talk that Puerto Rico must be bluffing about the severity of their crisis, if they can still pay 97 percent of their debts. In fact, the theory goes, this is all a pretext to pressure Congress for bankruptcy protections, using minor defaults as a weapon. Mark Palmer, an analyst with BTIG, told CNBC that “Puerto Rico opted for a default that would send a message about the need for Chapter 9 and the potential for a humanitarian crisis on the island.” John Muller of Nuveen Asset Management explained to The Wall Street Journal that Congress may see through the smokescreen. “The ability of Puerto Rico to keep making all but a few smaller payments may...

How Congress Scuttled a Plan to Save Puerto Rico From Default

The GOP really is telling Puerto Rico to drop dead.

AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo
It’s now become almost a cliché to emulate the famous 1975 front-page headline of the New York Daily News (FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD) any time Washington leaves some entity to suffer misfortune without relief or aid. But when the Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez resurrected the headline on Wednesday to refer to Congress’ neglect of Puerto Rico, it was hard to argue with its appropriateness. Congress really is telling the island, and its 3.5 million American citizens, to drop dead. As I detailed in a long-form piece for the Prospect ’s winter edition, Puerto Rico is facing a rolling humanitarian crisis. Its debt has swelled to $73 billion, and compelling the government to enact punishing austerity measures that have exacerbated unemployment and poverty. A January 1 debt payment of almost $1 billion is almost certain to not get paid in full, and Puerto Rico’s creditors—including a collection of predatory hedge funds known as vultures—could react...

How Hedge Funds Are Pillaging Puerto Rico

Vulture investors have descended on the commonwealth, taking advantage of a debt crisis that has impoverished citizens and created massive unemployment.

This article will appear in the Winter 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine . Subscribe here . “This is a distress call from a ship of 3.5 million American citizens that have been lost at sea,” Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla said on December 1, begging the Senate Judiciary Committee to help protect his homeland from an unspooling disaster. After issuing bonds for over a decade on everything not nailed down, Puerto Rico now carries $73 billion in debt, a sum that García Padilla had termed “ not payable ” in June. Successive governments have enacted punishing austerity measures to service the debt, despite a stubbornly depressed economy and poverty rates near 50 percent. Now, after defaulting on smaller loans, it’s likely that much of the $957 million due January 1 will go unpaid, bringing more chaos and suffering at the hands of Puerto Rico’s creditors. In many ways, the Puerto Rico situation is sui generis ,...

Bring Back Antitrust

Despite low inflation and some bargain prices, economic concentration and novel abuses of market power are pervasive in today's economy—harming consumers, workers, and innovators. We need a new antitrust for a new predatory era.

(Photo: AP/Virginia Mayo)
This article appears in the Fall 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . I n the late 1980s, Thomas Shaw of Little Elm, Texas, watched a news report about surging HIV and Hepatitis C contractions among health-care workers. When treating patients, nurses and hospital personnel would accidentally stick themselves with used needles. Shaw had childhood friends suffering from AIDS, and he wanted to help. “I knew I couldn’t fix the biology side of it, but I could fix one part because I’m a mechanical engineer,” Shaw says. So he went to the nearest drugstore and bought a bunch of syringes. He spent years taking them apart until he finally came up with a way to solve the needle-stick epidemic. Shaw’s syringe operated like a ballpoint pen: Once you fully depressed the needle into the patient, a ring would snap and retract the needle, allowing workers to safely pull out the implement. He called it VanishPoint. If disposed of after a single...

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