David Dayen

David Dayen is a contributing writer to Salon.com who also writes for The InterceptThe New Republic, and The Fiscal Times. His first book, Chain of Title, about three ordinary Americans who uncover Wall Street's foreclosure fraud, was released by The New Press on May 17, 2016.

Recent Articles

Want to Bring Down Drug Prices? Go After the Middleman

“Pharmacy benefit managers”—companies that claim to lower prices—actually jack them up.

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File) A CVS store in Chicago in 2012 A sk any member of Congress what their constituents ask them about most and they’ll probably cite the high cost of prescription drugs. There’s enough anxiety about it to generate space for a bipartisan solution . But the battle over saving Obamacare has dominated Washington, leaving no room for considering improvements to the health system. Even the fixes now being discussed mostly fall under the heading of ameliorating individual market exchanges. Prescription drug costs are somehow seen as a separate issue from health care. Where Congress won’t act, an angry public is stepping into the breach. An important set of lawsuits target one of the biggest causes of higher prices—the middlemen that game the pharmaceutical supply chain by extracting profits from practically every player. Eventually, that gouging gets passed down to consumers. All of which shows why, if we’re truly going to overhaul the health-care system, we...

Gorsuch’s First Opinion: Let Debt Collectors Run Amok

Through a narrow reading of three words, the Court takes a leash off an irresponsible industry.

Olivier Douliery/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Olivier Douliery/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch J ustice Neil Gorsuch’s first Supreme Court opinion won’t earn much notice in his biographies. The unanimous decision reads more like a grammatical lesson, scrutinizing one line of text in a decades-old statute. But if you have ever been harassed in the middle of the night by a debt collector, or been threatened with tax liens or court summonses or even bodily harm, you should understand what Gorsuch and his fellow justices did on Monday: They gave some of the worst bottom-feeders in the economy a free pass to break the law. The case, Henson v. Santander , looks pretty innocuous at first reading. But the Roberts Court’s deference to big business, and lack of experience about the real-world legislative implications of their legal debating club, turned this decision into a huge win for financial predators. It’s now up to Congress to fix what Gorsuch and friends broke. But with the current group in charge, don...

America’s Most Dangerous Temp

Trump’s temporary appointee as chief bank regulator has spent his career helping banks evade regulations—and is exempt from the standard ethical safeguards. 

(Photo: AP/Jacqueline Martin)
An open session of the Financial Stability Oversight Council in December 2014. As comptroller of the currency, Noreika can sit on the council. T wo weeks ago, 44-year-old Keith Noreika was just another corporate lawyer, advising bank clients on evading regulatory enforcement. Today he runs the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the second-most important banking regulator in the federal government. And nobody seems to know how long Noreika will hold this power, how much authority he will wield, or whether he will use the office to assist the very large banks for which he previously worked. You’ve heard of the fox guarding the henhouse; this is the case of a hen, plucked out of line and made the lead watchman. OCC needed a leader after Obama-appointed comptroller Thomas Curry’s five-year term expired in April. Rather than make a career staffer acting comptroller until the Senate confirmed a replacement—the common practice for federal agencies—Trump’s Treasury Department (...

Our Bankrupt Policy for Puerto Rico

The restructuring of the island’s debt allows no role for the Puerto Rico’s government.

AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File
AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File The Puerto Rican flag flies in front of the Capitol building in San Juan. T he endgame for Puerto Rico’s debilitating fiscal crisis has begun. Unable to manage a $74 billion debt that has accompanied a decade of recession, spikes in poverty, and a mass exodus of citizens, the island will now turn to federal courts to approve a resolution with its creditors. But in many ways nothing has changed for Puerto Rico. The congressionally-imposed fiscal oversight board, known locally as the junta , remains in control as lead negotiator in restructuring talks. Whether Puerto Rico’s three million citizens get a fair deal or a continuation of harsh austerity depends almost entirely on seven unelected, unaccountable technocrats. Frustrating journalists everywhere, what Puerto Rico did on Wednesday cannot be called “bankruptcy,” because Congressional Republicans who passed last year’s PROMESA law didn’t want to be saddled with such language. But the process under...

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