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 the Tax Bill Backfired on the Republicans

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy conduct a news conference in Washington D id you have a happy Tax Day? Are you feeling grateful for the Republican tax cut? Evidently most American taxpayers are not . In a sublime case of poetic justice, the so-called Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) is backfiring on the Republicans big time. Most voters are unimpressed, and Republicans themselves are ceasing to emphasize it in their campaign material. In the March 13 special election for the Pennsylvania 18th House district, where Democrat Conor Lamb narrowly beat Republican Rick Saccone, Republicans actually pulled ads that bragged about the tax act, because their polls showed that it was more of a target than an achievement. Republican strategists who wanted President Trump to emphasize the tax cut this spring were initially annoyed that Trump was talking about trade, immigration and Korea instead. Now they realize that Trump may be onto...

Trump’s Impotent Rage

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) President Trump walks off after speaking at an event on tax policy in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 12, 2018. S omething very fishy happened last week. On Friday, we were treated to almost hourly rumors that President Donald Trump’s firing of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was imminent. This was to be followed by a scheme to either fire or drastically limit the authority of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The cable channels went into overdrive and the newspapers picked up the story. Critics issued dire predictions. And then exactly nothing happened. So what was that about? Piecing this together, it’s clear that at midweek, my old pal Steve Bannon managed to get through to Trump, and pitched him on one more trademark Bannon scheme: Fire Rosenstein and cease cooperating with Mueller, citing executive privilege. Bannon also called on Trump to fire lawyer Ty Cobb. This was first reported by The Washington Post , and then other news media found...

The Failure of the Globalist Fantasy

Jason Lee/Pool Photo
Jason Lee/Pool Photo Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Beijing W hat does the sweeping re-election victory of the neo-fascist Viktor Orbán in Hungary have to with the escalation of trade conflicts between the West and China? Both are disastrous byproducts of a naïve faith that a push for free-market global capitalism would somehow increase the appeal of liberal democracy. This was the hope in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down and communism fell—a grand convergence of ever-freer markets and ever-stronger democratic institutions. This was also the hope when China was allowed to join the World Trade Organization in 2001, pretty much on in its own terms. China would become less totalitarian in its government and less statist in its economy. No less than Tom Friedman proclaimed , “China’s going to have a free press. Globalization will drive it.” Neither fantasy has come true. In Western Europe and the U.S., the more that political and...

Martin Luther King Jr. 50 Years After

AP Photo
AP Photo Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd on a street in Lakeview, New York, in 1965. A s we mark the 50th anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., let’s recall two paradoxical things about MLK. Despite attempts to airbrush him into a benign idealist who had a dream, King never stopped being a radical. And despite the fact that his was above all a crusade for racial justice, he understood that racial progress required racial coalition. King especially appreciated that the next great struggle had to be economic. The full name of the famous August 1963 march on Washington was the March for Jobs and Freedom. When King was murdered on April 4, 1968, he was in Memphis to march with striking sanitation workers, most of whom were black, but he was increasingly looking to class to help overcome barriers of race. At times, King used rhetoric that today might be considered a reminder of “white privilege” and even a call for reparations. King could give a powerful speech...

The Face(book) of Big Brother

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California I magine that Jimmy Wales and the other good people who built Wikipedia had also created a free, non-commercial version of Facebook; call it Wikiface. People could use it to stay in touch with family and friends, to pass along items that they found interesting, and create networks of common interest. But there would be no commercial exploitation of people’s data, no political use of data other than voluntary self-directed groups, and limits to using artificially amplified posts for orchestrated hype. Nobody would get filthy rich from selling your confidential information. Just as Wikipedia is policed for accuracy and for abuses, by a kind of peer-review, so would be this new nonprofit social medium. This was the original dream of social media. There have been a few halting attempts to create nonprofit social networking platforms, but they have gained little traction. A for-profit competitor to...

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