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

Rising Inequality Is Far From Inevitable

AP Photo/Teresa Crawford
AP Photo/Teresa Crawford Solo Littlejohn, a fast food worker from Cicero, Illinois, joins protesters calling for a union and pay of $15 an hour outside a McDonald's restaurant in Chicago on Thursday, April 14, 2016. An earlier version of this story appeared in The Boston Globe. trickle-downers.jpg T he latest study of deepening inequality by three of the most careful scholars of the subject, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saens, and Gabriel Zucman, has prompted another round of shrugs from economists that inequality is just in the nature of the advanced economy. Supposedly, these inexorable trends reflect technology, globalization, and increasing rewards to more advanced skills. The poor are paid in correct proportion to their contribution to the national product, which alas, isn’t much. A close look at political history suggests that this widespread inference is convenient nonsense—convenient to economic elites. In fact, the distribution of income and wealth has bounced around a lot in the...

Trump and Trade: A Plus for American Workers?

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci
AP Photo/ Evan Vucci Supporters of Donald Trump listen to him speak during a campaign rally at Lackawanna College, Monday, November 7, 2016, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. An earlier version of this article appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . O n a good day, Donald Trump can fool some people into thinking that he will change trade policy for the better. He’s for keeping more jobs in the U.S., renegotiating NAFTA, and taking a tougher line with China. He did a cute publicity stunt, strong-arming Greg Hayes, the CEO of Carrier’s parent corporation into keeping several hundred jobs in Indiana (lubricated by tax breaks). Progressives were on the verge of killing the misconceived Trans-Pacific Partnership, when Donald Trump administered the coup de grace—and took the credit. Trade deals like TPP, and NAFTA before it, signaled to American workers that trade policy was mainly for corporate and financial elites, not for regular people. Despite the repeated claims that these deals...

The Audacity of Hope

Rex Features via AP Images
Rex Features via AP Images Anti-Trump protesters in Miami. This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . I t is hard to contemplate the new administration without experiencing alarm bordering on despair: Alarm about the risks of war, the fate of constitutional democracy, the devastation of a century of social progress. Trump’s populism was a total fraud. Every single Trump appointment has come from the pool of far-right conservatives, crackpots, and billionaire kleptocrats. More alarming still is the man himself—his vanity, impulsivity, and willful ignorance, combined with an intuitive genius as a demagogue. A petulant fifth-grader with nuclear weapons will now control the awesome power of the U.S. government. One has to nourish the hope that Trump can yet be contained. Above all, that will take passionate and strategic engagement, not just to resist but to win, to discredit him and get him out of office while this is still a...

The Republican Sanity Caucus Awakens

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Senators Marco Rubio and John McCain arrive for a Senate Republican conference leadership election meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, November 16, 2016. An earlier version of this article appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . I t’s now clear that Donald Trump is far more severely impaired than even his worst critics imagined. And the cracks in his presumed governing coalition are starting to show, before he even takes office. For starters, leading Republicans are pushing back on his insistence that he knows intelligence better than the CIA and challenging the idea that the U.S. should be a puppet of Vladimir Putin. The best outcome, of course, would be for some constitutional Hail Mary pass to prevent Trump from becoming president: a group of electors who decide that he is just too much of a risk, or some kind of emergency appeal to the Supreme Court, to stay the election because its integrity and validity was hijacked by the Russians...

Cecile Richards or Tom Perez for DNC Chair

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund Cecile Richards waves after speaking during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. An earlier version of this article appeared at The Huffington Post . Subscribe here . T he Democrats desperately need a new national party leader, technically the chair of the Democratic National Committee. The current national committee, elected at the last Democratic convention based on the relative strengths of the Clinton and Sanders forces, is narrowly divided, and close to deadlock. Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, an early favorite after Sanders endorsed him, now appears to be at risk. Though Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democrats’ Senate leader, quickly jumped in and backed Ellison as part of Schumer’s repositioning as a progressive, there is pressure on Schumer and other early supporters to back off. For now,...

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