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

The Facebook Settlement Amounts to Bribery of a Federal Agency

The FTC admitted taking a higher settlement figure from Facebook in exchange for declining to depose Mark Zuckerberg.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
Facebook paid—I would call it, bribed—the Federal Trade Commission $5 billion to protect Mark Zuckerberg from personal liability in violating the privacy of millions of users. I didn’t conjure that up. That was the clear statement of James Kohm , the agency’s associate director of the division of enforcement, who conducted the Facebook investigation. At last week’s announcement of the $5 billion Facebook settlement, Kohm responded to Axios’ David McCabe, who asked why, if the investigation was so exhaustive, was Zuckerberg, the CEO and controlling shareholder, with acknowledged control over every aspect of Facebook’s business, not deposed? “Part of getting this tremendous result with the tools we had is we didn’t need to depose him, but we could use that to get more protections for the public,” Kohm replied. Since the “tremendous result” consists mainly of a fine and establishing an easily ignored privacy...

Democrats Must Reframe 2020 Around Trump’s Corruption

Predicting an economic downturn shouldn’t be the focus when even a good economy fails to benefit everyone.

The path to defeating Donald Trump next November, in my opinion, does not lie in foreboding warnings of an imminent economic washout. It lies in connecting the corruption at the heart of the family occupying the White House to the broader economy, and showing how this rigged system confines the spoils of growth to those wealthy and connected enough to get in line for the payoff, while everyone else treads water. The first option can be tempting. The idea that Trump is causing the economy to burn is easier to get across than the idea that Trump’s stewardship of an economy that looks good in aggregate masks the essential strains for much of the country. But inequality has given the latter idea resonance: It’s actually what Trump ran on, in fact, speaking about scenes of “American carnage” that sounded ridiculous to those who tally up the economy in aggregate but made sense to those in the industrial Midwest living amid the rubble. Trump hasn’t pulled those...

AT&T Hires Verizon (Excuse Me?)

Why has one telecom giant hooked up with its chief rival—and what does it portend for their more than 200 million subscribers?

Lynne Sladky/AP Photo
Friday’s Justice Department announcement approving the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile further consolidates an already concentrated wireless telephone industry, reducing the four major players to three. The deal calls for the divestment of nine million customers to Dish, which would gain access to the merged company’s cellular network for seven years and a mandate to build a 5G operation. The deal thus replaces a smaller but fairly robust fourth competitor in Sprint with a startup that has no history in wireless. If competition was so necessary that the Justice Department had to scramble to try to construct it, it could have just kept Sprint in place by blocking the merger. A coalition of fourteen state attorneys general have filed suit against the merger, and will go to trial in October. But a separate and less publicized deal between the other two telecom behemoths , AT&T and Verizon, each with more than 100 million subscribers of their own, threatens to...

Trump’s Antitrust Cops Fail to Police Big Business—Again

The day after one regulator announces an investigation into Big Tech, another gives Facebook a wet kiss. It’s all part of a pattern.

With public attention directed to the Mueller hearings, the nation’s antitrust authorities have quietly declared their continued abandonment of the American public this week, allowing giant corporations to accrue power and dodge responsibility for significant and serious harm. These actions make the allegedly tough announcement on Tuesday of an antitrust inquiry into the dominant tech platforms ring hollow; results matter, not sharp words. And on the results, the Trump antitrust apparatus has continued a 40-year legacy of failure. First, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a $5 billion settlement with Facebook, for violations of a 2011 consent decree on privacy standards. Or at least that’s the theory: Facebook did not have to admit guilt in the matter, and none of their executives, up to and including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have to face any personal sanction. Zuckerberg was not even brought in to the FTC for an interview. The $5 billion price tag represents about a...

Republicans Proved Deficits Don’t Matter

They aren’t a problem politically, and they benefit the country economically. But Republicans only admit this when one of their own is in the White House.

“No politician (has) ever lost office for spending more money.” Donald Trump reportedly relayed this message from Mitch McConnell to his staff recently, and you can see that philosophy at work in the two-year budget deal he just struck with Congress. In exchange for putting off the debt ceiling for two years, Trump agreed to eliminate the discretionary spending sequester—automatic spending cuts authorized in 2011 but continually nullified in the ensuing decade—which translates into $320 billion in new spending . This increase is partially offset by the extension of some customs fees and Medicare reimbursement caps that maintain the status quo. While sequester waivers have become routine, the trend lines on spending point to something really different under Trump. Barack Obama and a Republican Congress cut discretionary spending by an average of 2 percent per year in his second term; so far Trump and Congress have increased it by 4 percent every year in office...