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

Janet Yellen’s Secret Weapon Against Wall Street Deregulation

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has a rare opportunity to change the culture of the nation’s central bank when she picks a successor to outgoing general counsel Scott Alvarez.

AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File
There will be few moments over the next four years where the opportunity exists to dramatically improve financial regulation. But one of these moments just presented itself, and it must not be squandered. The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that Scott Alvarez, general counsel for the central bank, will retire after 36 years of service. Nicknamed the “ eighth governor ” of the Fed, Alvarez has since 2004 held the general counsel slot, a critical regulatory and legal policy position. He represents one of the last links to the reign of former chairman Alan Greenspan. And he shares Greenspan’s antipathy to regulation, a toxic attitude that literally helped usher in the 2008 financial crisis. At the Fed, the nation’s most important banking regulator, Alvarez participated in virtually every deregulatory maneuver of the past 35 years. He was there when the Fed refused to regulate derivatives in the late 1990s. He helped draft and implement the law that formally...

Dismantling Dodd-Frank -- And More

Candidate Trump promised to take on Wall Street. As deregulator-in-chief, he will be Wall Street’s best friend.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . History teaches us that financial regulations die from a thousand cuts rather than a signifying event. As Cornell University law professor Saule Omarova puts it, “Financial reform is like a big onion. The more layers you peel off, the harder you cry.” For example, by the time the Gramm-Leach-Bliley law removed the Glass-Steagall firewall between commercial and investment banks in 1999, that separation was already effectively wiped out—by administrative waivers granted by regulators. The 1994 Riegle-Neal Act that formally allowed banks to open branches across state lines came after a decade of states altering rules to undermine local control of finance. Deregulation of mortgage rules that led to the housing bubble rolled out over a 20-year period, spanning Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. And even then, it took the George W. Bush administration’s laissez-faire...

Navient Lawsuit Shatters GOP Privatization Myth

Allegations that Navient fleeced students while administering federal college loans put the lie to Republicans’ claim that private sector contractors invariably outperform government agencies.

Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa via AP Images
The Trump era is likely to usher in rapid privatization of public goods and services. Dozens of president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team members and cabinet selections have either close ties to privatization groups or enthusiasm for the concept. Private companies that specialize in taking over government functions are thriving . Trump’s infrastructure plan, one of the few agenda items Democrats have complimented, looks increasingly like a stealth privatization scheme . Behind these plans to sell off the public sector lies a philosophy that private enterprise can perform government roles more cheaply and efficiently. Perhaps nothing shatters this myth more than a lawsuit filed Wednesday against Navient, a company that administers payments on student loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and state attorneys general in Illinois and Washington state accuse Navient of “systematically and illegally failing borrowers at every stage of repayment,...

Trump Team Wants to Wipe Out Consumer Protections, and Obama Administration Just Handed Them the Tools

The Obama administration has pre-empted some state banking rules in a bid to protect consumers, but President-elect Trump may soon turn the tables.

Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
As the Trump era nears inauguration, progressives have found solace in an unlikely quarter: federalism. In The New York Times and Vox , liberal scholars cheer on expected efforts to advance a localized agenda of resistance and reform, from sanctuary cities to mandatory reductions in carbon emissions to a living wage. But President-elect Donald Trump and his team could nullify state and municipal laws through federal pre-emption. Under certain circumstances, federal agencies can argue that the industries they regulate need not comply with any state measures that go beyond their national standards. This can particularly affect consumer protection, where pre-emption has an ugly recent history. And this has Democrats angry that President Obama’s hand-picked regulators are handing their successors a golden opportunity to wipe out state rules. Earlier this month, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the main regulator for national commercial banks, announced that it...

Cures Act Is Bad Medicine for NIH, FDA

A bipartisan bill that promises more money for research and development is actually full of giveaways for the pharmaceutical industry and other trade groups.

(Photo: AP/Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Not too long ago, most political observers expected a lively, lame-duck Congress. Would President Obama muscle through the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement? Would the Senate, wary of a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court nominee, confirm Merrick Garland? Would Republicans pass a year-long budget to keep Clinton’s hands away from the fiscal cookie jar? All that changed after the election. Now the lame-duck Congress is a sleepy affair, with Republicans looking ahead to the ascension of Donald Trump. But there’s one exception to this legislative lethargy: The 21st Century Cures Act , a bill with a bipartisan pedigree that has now become a wet kiss to the pharmaceutical lobby and other trade groups. Liberal Democrats have finally begun to sound the alarm, but with others, including Obama, behind it, and votes scheduled on the bill, will they be too late? The 21st Century Cures Act came into being as a feel-good measure. After all, who doesn’t like cures? The core...

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