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 Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and The New York Review of Books. 

Follow Bob at his site,, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

Principles for Tax Reform

The 2017 Tax Act not only harmed most Americans, but upstaged true, overdue reforms. Here are some key elements, as themes for both politics and policy. 

tax_fraud.jpg This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Tax Fairness: Corporations and the Wealthy Should Pay Their Fair Share REPEAL ALL CORPORATE PROVISIONS OF THE TAX ACT . The idea that corporate rates were too high was always phony. Even at the old rates, the United States had one of the lower net rates of corporate taxation among OECD nations. RESTORE THE TOP MARGINAL RATES ON INDIVIDUALS , and add a new surtax rate of 50 percent for incomes over $1 million. During the boom years after World War II, the top rate was never below 70% and the economy flourished. REPEAL PROVISIONS OF THE LAW INTENDED TO PUNISH CITIZENS in states with decent public services, such as the cap on deductibility of state and local taxes. At the same time, cap the mortgage interest deduction and use the savings to finance more affordable housing. TAX INCOME FROM WEALTH THE SAME WAY WE TAX INCOME FROM WORK . Eliminate all preferential tax treatment for...

Trump’s Trade Fight with Canada Highlights Two Approaches to Capitalism

This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post . Subscribe here . President Donald Trump ’s savaging of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has gotten a good deal of attention for its sheer weirdness—why scapegoat one of America’s most loyal allies and benign trading partners? But it’s worth looking below the surface at the actual trade relationship and the differences between the two countries. For now, Trump may have done Trudeau a favor. After the U.S. president’s trade tantrum and imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum, polls showed that 72 percent of Canadians supported Trudeau’s handling of the dust-up. But polls also showed Trudeau’s Liberal party slightly behind the rival Conservatives, with both losing ground to the more left-wing New Democrats. Trade friction between the two nations is nothing new, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did not put an end to them. One long-standing complaint involves the...

The Emblem of This Era

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik President Donald Trump is silhouetted in a car on his arrival at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam. This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . This is the first time in nearly 30 years of publication that The American Prospect has devoted an entire issue of the magazine to a single topic. We are doing so because the 2017 Tax Act so perfectly displays so much of what is rotten and false about this period of Republican rule, and sets up an epic debate about what the two parties stand for. Tax cuts are invariably political winners, or so the Republicans thought. But this one is so grotesque that it is already backfiring. Whether it truly blows up on the right, and becomes a major political liability this fall, depends in large part on how skilled Democrats and commentators are at narrating all that is wrong with it. The law makes clear that the deep corruption in this era emanates not just from Trump...

Trump Blunders Forward with Incoherent Trade Policy

Trump’s policy mess needs to be located in a broader debate about what America’s trade policy should look like.

This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . What on earth is President Donald Trump up to with his trade policy? So far, he has managed to grab the symbolism of trade serving the interest of elites but not regular people. Slapping on tariffs, almost indiscriminately, does accomplish that. Tariffs are popular with frustrated working people who see jobs migrating overseas. But he has totally bungled the substance of repositioning America in the world, rebalancing the calculus of whose interests are served by trade and rebuilding an American economy of broadly shared prosperity. This is classic Trump, of course. This botched execution is one part short attention span, disdain for details and thin skin, and one part a preference for cheap political symbolism over substance. This includes a schizophrenic policy on China, bailing out ZTE one week and starting a general tariff war the next; a bizarre demonization of close allies whose collaboration we need if...

The Lasting Damage Of Trump’s Disastrous Diplomacy

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
It’s hardly a surprise that Donald Trump blew up the Group of Seven summit. In his warped view of the world, America’s closest allies are enemies, and nations that represent dangerous threats are friends. Thus Russia is to be welcomed back, while Canada, about as benign a neighbor as exists, is a menace for taking advantage of the United States on trade. (Fact check: The U.S. government’s own data suggest the United States ran a small trade surplus with Canada in 2017.) The European Union, whose subsidy and open-market policies are on a par with our own, is seen as a bigger threat than mercantilist China. And North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-Un gets warmer words than the leaders of Europe. Has the world gone mad? No, only Donald Trump. Trump’s bullshit in a china shop can best be understood on three levels. First, sheer ignorance. Second, thin-skinned petulance and pique. After barely papering over differences at the actual summit, Trump destroyed whatever...