Author Archives: David Dayen

About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to 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.

Tom Miller Pens Love Letter to Settlements with Financial Fraudsters

You could spread around a lot of blame for the current state of our two-tiered system of justice and lack of accountability, particularly as it relates to the financial sector. But if you wanted to find the most pathetic figure involved in that whole rigamarole, all roads lead to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.


Privatization: CCA’s No-Bid Family Immigrant Detention Contract Pays Off Whether They House Detainees or Not

A while back I wrote a long piece for Talking Points Memo about the privatization of the criminal justice system. And one thing I learned is that it’s a misnomer to call the two big shots of this industry, Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group, “private prison companies.” Because prisons are not their most lucrative business line; in fact, they only hold around 8 percent of all U.S. prisoners. In recent years, these companies have diversified into a number of associated businesses, from transportation to electronic monitoring to community corrections.

But their biggest growth opportunity – and if you listen to their earnings statement calls they’ll tell you – comes from federal contracts for warehousing migrants. As much as 45 percent of CCA and Geo revenue comes from the federal government now. And while we don’t normally see the terms of these agreements, the Washington Post unearthed one that is breathtaking in how it slathers private operators in taxpayer dollars.


Brexit – A View from North of the Border

The result of the referendum seems to have little to do with the economic benefits or otherwise of EU membership. They seem to have been driven more by issues of sovereignty and a negative reaction to the Westminster ‘establishment’. Nonetheless, the implications of the UK’s trading relationships post-Brexit are important. A central issue is whether ideology or pragmatism will emerge triumphant from the negotiations that will soon begin between the UK Government and the EU.


Where is Amy Klobuchar? How Democratic Indifference is Squandering a Unique Moment on Antitrust Policy

It’s been a good few weeks for opponents of further market concentration. Oil services firms Halliburton and Baker Hughes called off their merger amid a Justice Department lawsuit. New rules on corporate inversions led to an abandonment of the Pfizer-Allergan merger. The White House issued a directive to federal agencies to take steps to foster competition, with an opening salvo of ending the monopoly of cable set-top boxes. The Economist, of all places, started agitating for increased competition amid record corporate profits. The antitrust movement, in short, has gone mainstream.


Italy’s Atlas Bank Bailout Fund: The Shareholder of Last Resort

By Silvia Merler, former Economic Analyst in DG Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission (ECFIN) and an affiliate fellow at Bruegel. Cross-posted from Bruegel. In Greek mythology, Atlas the Titan was condemned by Zeus to eternally hold the weight of the sky on his shoulders. A mythological struggle that has recently made the […]


Obama SEC Pick Lisa Fairfax in Limbo Because of Lack of Substance on Everything, Not Just Corporate Political Spending Disclosure

My initial understanding of the vacancies on the Securities and Exchange Commission was that the selection of Lisa Fairfax last October to replace Luis Aguilar as a Democratic commissioner represented a victory for the reform coalition in the Senate. In fact I’ve written as such. Covington & Burling lawyer Keir Gumbs was the clear choice of the Administration, but his work advising issuers and investors about corporate disclosure of political activities, which opponents defined as advising CEOs to hide their political spending, did him in. Fairfax, a law professor at George Washington University, was reportedly put forward by Sherrod Brown and placed on a list of acceptable nominees by Elizabeth Warren (there’s some question now of whether or not that was the case). Swapping Fairfax for Gumbs was reported as a win for the reformers.

So why did Democrats block her from advancing in the Senate Banking Committee, probably dooming her nomination?


Senators Try to Scuttle Syngenta/ChemChina Merger, in a Harbinger for U.S. Posture Toward Chinese Investment

This is a big week for the future of American industry. Chinese Premier Xi Jinping will meet one-on-one with President Obama on the sidelines of a summit in Washington. The Chinese will apparently use the meeting to make a new offer on a bilateral investment treaty that would pave the way for more foreign direct […]