Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. He writes columns for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times international edition. 

Recent Articles

How Trump Energizes Other Dictators

(Jakub Wlodek/Sipa USA via AP)
(Jakub Wlodek/Sipa USA via AP) Protesters gather in Main Square in Krakow, Poland, on July 22, 2017. P olish President Andrzej Duda surprised nearly everyone Sunday by vetoing legislation strongly supported by his partisan ally, Law and Justice Party leader Jarosław Kaczyński, intended to destroy the independence of Poland’s courts. Duda acted after massive street demonstrations, opposition by Poland’s previous prime ministers, and stern warnings by the officials of the European Union, which requires member nations to be democracies. Conspicuously absent in this chorus of protest against Kaczyński’s assault on Poland’s judiciary was one Donald Trump. Earlier this month, Trump went out of his way to make an increasingly autocratic Poland the first stop on his European trip. In Warsaw, he gave a fawning speech praising the current Polish government for holding back the assault on Western civilization. The speech included scarcely a word about some of the most important contributions of...

The Health Insurance Quagmire: Notes for Next Time

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite Senator John McCain leaves the chamber after speaking. W ith the collapse of Republican efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act, there is renewed talk of a bipartisan effort to improve the program. Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate leader, has called on the Republicans to work with Democrats to stabilize insurance markets and cut costs. McConnell says he will make one more push for a simple repeal. But he doesn’t have the votes. As a last resort, McConnell has said he, too, will turn to a bipartisan fix in the ACA’s defects. But what would that mean? The defects, from the Democratic perspective, are that Obamacare covers too little at too high a cost, while most Republicans fault the ACA for covering too much at taxpayer expense. There is, however, a deeper defect in the entire approach, and that is the ACA’s touching faith in market competition. In theory, having lots of insurers in a given market competing for customers via regulated “...

How Trump Gives Protection a Bad Name

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon President Donald Trump walks in front of Chinese President Xi Jinping as Xi arrives before dinner at Mar-a-Lago. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . T rump’s fulminations about NAFTA, subsidized Chinese steel, protected Canadian dairy products, and failed Obama-era trade deals have produced a spate of articles warning about the damage Trump’s trade policy could do to the global economic order. The most instructive of these was a recent New York Times piece by their senior economic writer, Eduardo Porter. Porter began: “It seems President Trump is ready to start rolling back globalization. Let’s hope he doesn’t blow up the postwar economic order.” According to Porter, Trump might turn his back on the World Trade Organization as “he retreats from prior American commitments to global trade.” Porter asks, rhetorically, “Will he eschew the multilateral framework in pursuit of a set of bilateral deals, turning his back on a long...

The European Mirror

Rex Features via AP Images
Rex Features via AP Images A placard depicts Jeremy Corbyn in the same way as the famous Barack Obama posters. This article appears in the Summer 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . T he British election demonstrated that with the right combination of luck, circumstance, and leadership, popular economic grievances can go left as well as right. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader who was long dismissed as hopelessly old left, demonstrated that if left means taxing the rich and restoring popular services such as free higher education, that sort of left is what lots of voters want, especially the young. Under Corbyn’s leadership, Labour made its biggest gains in a single election—about ten points—since Clement Attlee’s epic defeat of Winston Churchill in 1945. But Labour did not win a governing majority. Instead, British politics is more muddled than ever, and the politics of exit from the European Union only adds to the muddle. The narrow referendum vote in...

Cheer Up, Democrats

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly on camera press conference in the Capitol. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . H ow discouraged should Democrats be after failing to win any of the four recent House special elections to fill vacancies? The losses, most recently of Jon Ossoff, in Georgia’s Sixth District, triggered a blame game, directed against House leader Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic National Committee, the tacticians of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and candidate Ossoff himself. For starters, consider the numbers. Every one of these races was a long shot, and in every case the Democrat did notably better than his counterpart in 2014 or 2016. Ossoff lost by 3.7 points. In 2016, the Democrat lost the seat by 16.2 points. In other words, Ossoff improved the Democratic performance by more than 12 points. Likewise in the Kansas Fourth District election of April 11, Democrat...

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