Author Archives: David Dayen

About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to Salon.com. He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.

Proof of Ongoing Foreclosure Fraud and Mortgage Document Fabrication, in Five Emails

Five years ago this month, GMAC became the first mortgage servicer to announce that they would suspend foreclosure operations due to irregularities in their document preparation. Within a few weeks every major mortgage servicer in America followed suit. This is usually called the robo-signing scandal, but to be more precise we gave it the name foreclosure fraud. It ended with the five leading servicers, including GMAC, signing the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement.

Except it didn’t end, and this past week I was handed inconvertible proof of that fact. The scenario is so fantastical that if I didn’t have a working knowledge of foreclosure fraud I wouldn’t have believed it. But it appears to be very real.

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Why is China finding it hard to fight the markets?

China’s market drama started in June this year with the collapse of the Shanghai stock exchange, followed by frantic interventions by the Chinese authorities. As if the estimated $200 billion already spent on propping up stock prices were not enough, China found itself in another battle with the market, defending the RMB against depreciation pressures after the PBoC devalued the RMB by nearly 2% on August 11. The cost of the foreign exchange intervention to keep the RMB stable is estimated at $200 billion.

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Ilargi: The Real Refugee Crisis Is In The Future

Perhaps Angela Merkel thought we didn’t yet know how full of it she is. Perhaps that’s why she said yesterday with regards to Europe’s refugee crisis that “Everything must move quickly,” only to call an EU meeting a full two weeks later. That announcement show one thing: Merkel doesn’t see this as a crisis. If she did, she would have called for such a meeting a long time ago, and not some point far into the future.

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Aguilar Proposes Transparency Fix for Broken SEC Waiver System

Since Kara Stein became a commissioner on the SEC, we’ve heard a lot about the agency’s waiver policy. Basically, if a financial institution commits a crime, the SEC has a series of automatic penalties that are “automatic” in name only, because the agency routinely waives the penalties. Stein’s outcry at this turn of events always makes people like Matt Levine, in his usual role of intentionally missing the point, completely befuddled, because the punishments wouldn’t fit the crimes, and banks would lose access to entire lines of business for some unrelated transgression, and that just wouldn’t be fair, now would it?

The point, of course, is that automatic penalties are either automatic or not. If the punishment of banning institutions from managing mutual funds or working with private companies to find investors, or forcing SEC approval for any stocks or bonds that the firm issues on its own behalf, is simply too harsh as a consequence of committing a crime, then the SEC can go ahead and eliminate the automatic trigger. But having them in place, and then routinely waiving them, makes a mockery of any sort of accountability whatsoever. I personally believe that having these penalties in place are a solid way to ensure compliance across business lines, with the only threat that matters – a threat to the pocketbook – in reserve. If it would be too costly for banks to break the law, well maybe they’ll be a little more careful. But I would rather just eliminate the penalties altogether than have the SEC bow and scrape to ensure that committing fraud doesn’t lead to anything bad happening to the perpetrator.

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Ron Wyden Calls NAFTA Insufficient Now; In 1993, He Called It a “Vote For Less Pollution”

One of the common rhetorical tropes supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have used to sell it is to declaim all prior trade agreements as inferior, relative to this bright, shiny and new deal. Ron Wyden, the Democrat in Congress most responsible for moving TPP through, gave a particularly juicy example of this yesterday.

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The Foreclosure Crisis Caused a Great Migration in Miniature

Several commentators picked up on the relationship between the events in Baltimore and the dearth of economic opportunity that leads to a sense of hopelessness. But precious few added the component of the foreclosure crisis, a dislocating event that has few parallels in American history. A new paper in the American Sociological Review by Matthew Hall (Cornell), Kyle Crowder (University of Washington) and Amy Spring (Georgia State) puts numbers to this, and shows that we really had a small-scale version of the Great Migration, the shift of African-Americans from the rural south to the big cities of the north. This migration hollowed out and segregated African-American and Latino communities to an even greater degree than where they already were.

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UK Elections Today: Unpredictable, But Depressingly Little Room Between the Parties on Austerity

By David Dayen, a lapsed blogger. Follow him on Twitter @ddayen While in this country somebody’s probably writing up an early analysis of the 2024 elections, for UK elections they do quick-strike campaigns only lasting a handful of weeks. And today voters cast their ballots in an election most observers agree will really get interesting […]

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Wolf Richter: “Smart Money” Prepares to Profit from Bond Market Rout

“If I had an easy way and a non-risk way of shorting a whole lot of 20- or 30-year bonds, I’d do it,” said our favorite uncle Warren Buffett on CNBC. These kinds of bonds have been on a terrific bull run ever since Paul Volker, as Chairman of the Fed, cracked down on inflation. But now, even the avuncular face of capitalism would bet against them.

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Branko Milanovic: Income Inequality and Citizenship

Dave here. This is a readable discussion of inequality between nations, but the conclusions suffer from the conceit that people – particularly people in poor countries – have universal freedom, wherewithal and mindset to pick and choose what country to which they want to emigrate. But other than that nitpick, worth a read. By Branko […]

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First Quarter GDP Likely Negative as Trade Deficit Soars

By David Dayen, a lapsed blogger. Follow him on Twitter @ddayen. Because of the blinkered way we talk about the economy in this country, news that the trade deficit widened in March well above consensus expectations will undoubtedly be met by cries that we must create more free trade deals to counteract that. Of course, […]

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