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

At Netroots Nation, a Worker’s Voice Spoke Volumes

Sarah Woodhams, a laid-off Toys “R” Us employee, highlighted the schemes of private equity, to a somewhat baffled Julián Castro.

Cory Clark/Sipa USA/AP Images
PHILADELPHIA—The Netroots Nation presidential candidate forum was a sleepy affair, with four hopefuls mostly rehashing existing positions before a generally admiring audience. But one moment shook that up, when Sarah Woodhams, a 33 year-old former employee at Toys “R” Us, took the stage with her baby to pose former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro a question. As the Prospect has documented , private equity firms KKR and Bain Capital, along with real estate firm Vornado, took over Toys “R” Us in a leveraged buyout and dumped over $5.3 billion in debt on the company, digging a hole that proved impossible to climb out from. Toys “R” Us operating income grew each of its final three years , and in 2017, its final year, it was responsible for 1 out of every 5 toys sold in the U.S. But the $450 to $500 million in annual interest payments pushed the retailer into insolvency, while the private equity managers walked away...

The Border Crisis Is Fracturing the Democratic Party

The Netroots Nation conference in Philadelphia emphasized immigration cruelties, as the party leadership struggles to respond, opting for backbiting instead of action.

Bastiaan Slabbers/Sipa USA/AP Images
PHILADELPHIA—This year’s Netroots Nation convention was held hundreds of miles from the southern border. And yet most attendees had the border on their minds over the weekend. Two weeks of images coming from detention camps in Texas, including a visit from Vice President Mike Pence , along with the commencement of ICE raids in large cities, have crystallized what represents the primary moral crisis of the Trump presidency. Netroots attendees massed in the streets at a noontime Friday protest and an evening vigil to close the camps. After sessions in the main hall, a voice-over read out descriptions of legal rights for undocumented people threatened by ICE removal. A (somewhat muted) protest against Elizabeth Warren concerned not foreign policy or health care, but immigration, an issue she had just released a plan on two days before. The plan includes a special Justice Department task force that would investigate the Trump administration’s violations of law at the...

The Biggest Abuser of Forced Arbitration Is Amazon

With 2.5 million third-party sellers, it’s the largest employment-related class barred from using courts for complaints, and confined to the online retailer’s private law.

In the past several months, advocates have expressed surprising optimism that they will be able to make progress in dismantling America’s forced-arbitration system, which supersedes dozens of laws enacted by Congress to protect workers and consumers, and bars access to the constitutionally mandated right to take a complaint to court. Using a once-benign law, the 1926 Federal Arbitration Act, which was given new corporate teeth by right-wing courts, an employer can today demand that a worker sign away a range of rights as a condition of employment. Consumers who purchase possibly defective products are put in the same position by corporate sellers. Under clauses in consumer and employment contracts, disputes must be referred to an arbitrator chosen by the company, and class action suits are prohibited. However, galvanized by the #MeToo movement, workers have organized for and won concessions at workplaces like Google over ending forced arbitration for sexual harassment claims,...

Conservatives Grasp at Straws After CBO Minimum Wage Analysis Shows Clear Benefits

Increasing minimum wage to $15 an hour would be very good news for American workers.

Corporate interests invented cost-benefit analysis as a way to delay progressive policy through studies and weigh it down by equalizing, for example, the burden on business with the benefits for citizens. But now we’re seeing a new genre: cost-cost analysis. When the benefits become too obvious, they get erased, and only the costs are factored in. That’s what we’re seeing after the Congressional Budget Office released its assessment Monday of the effects on employment and income from increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. This analysis precedes an expected vote on a $15 minimum wage in the House before the August recess. Though conservative Democrats had been resisting such a broad nationwide shift from the current $7.25 an hour minimum, progressives rounded up enough votes to ensure its passage. The GOP Senate won’t be passing such a drastic change, and Donald Trump won’t be signing it. But the fight for $15 has triggered this analysis, and...

The Shame of Our Border Cruelty

This is a call to action.

Cedar Attanasio/AP Photo
Every successive Republican administration in the 21st century eats away a little bit more of our collective souls. The Bush administration tortured Muslims at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and black sites around the world, reducing us to a nation led by war criminals who, even worse, got away with it. The CIA has twice been led since Bush’s departure by individuals complicit in the depravity. Today the black sites are on our shores, accessible from U.S. highways, in Clint and El Paso, Texas, among other places. The torturing of brown-skinned people has come home, in locked cells where women and children fleeing violence and death have been kidnapped, brutalized, humiliated, degraded. It’s been carried out by an agency, Customs and Border Patrol, whose own words on a private Facebook group reveal their lack of humanity, their tendency to other-ize asylum seekers as one would an enemy in wartime, and to be honest their comfort with fascism. Hard evidence in the past 48...

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