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 The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy. 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, robertkuttner.com, and on Twitter

Recent Articles

The Welcome Arrival of Radicalism

T he American Prospect has been writing about rising economic insecurity for as long as we’ve been publishing—since 1990. I first addressed the issue well before that, in a piece for the Atlantic titled “ The Declining Middle ,” published in 1983. As economists have now thoroughly documented, the average performance of the economy and the earnings of ordinary people began drastically diverging in the 1970s, as shown in an iconic chart first created by the Economic Policy Institute. Basically, earnings have been flat or declining for most of the bottom 90 percent, while total economic output has tripled. The divergence widened with the election of Ronald Reagan and the deliberate dismantling of a social compact that had provided equitable allocation of the gains. Fair allocation had been accomplished during the postwar era mainly not by redistribution, but by “pre-distribution.” Thanks to strong unions backed by government policy, as well as wage and...

We Need Howard Schultz to Run for President Like Starbucks Needs Cockroaches

The Democratic Party is finally willing to work for working people again. Schultz could really screw that up. 

It was inevitable that some socially liberal, economically center-right billionaire would run for president. So Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, has nominated himself. This is sheer poison. His story, that voters are hungering for a moderate who can solve problems, is malarkey. Here’s what Schultz told The New York Times : We have a broken political system with both parties basically in business to preserve their own ideology without a recognition and responsibility to represent the interests of the American people,” Mr. Schultz said in the interview. “Republicans and Democrats alike—who no longer see themselves as part of the far extreme of the far right and the far left—are looking for a home. No, Howard, we don’t have a “broken political system.” We do have a broken economic system. Politically, we have wall-to-wall Republican obstruction. And after three Democratic administrations that were far too Wall Street-afflicted, we...

Why Trump Blinked First

As I’ve been observing, his Republican Senate support was steadily crumbling. LaGuardia shutting down was the last straw, and more government employees were starting to refuse to work. You can imagine Trump’s fantasies about firing them all and finding temps to work as air traffic controllers (oops), but when Mitch McConnell defects, then Trump knows the game is up. McConnell took the pressure from the Senate Republican caucus as long as he could—and then turned the pressure on Trump . So once again, the Deep State—otherwise known as the U.S. Constitution—has held: barely held, but held. Nancy Pelosi made a monkey of Trump when he thought he could barge into the people’s House without an invitation. His threat to invoke a state of emergency was a nonstarter, too. Presidential power is a funny thing. You have it, until you don’t. The Republican defections also bode well for Trump’s impeachment—and eventual removal...

Why Trump Will Lose His Shutdown Ploy

President Donald Trump’s latest offer of a deal to resolve the government shutdown was an inept playing of a weak hand. It was never in the cards for Democrats to agree to Trump’s $5.7 billion wall demand in exchange for just three years of protection for the Dreamers plus temporary reprieves for some other immigrants. Trump obviously knew this when he made the offer. He is still betting that the public will accept his argument that a physical wall is needed to protect Americans from an invasion of refugees and an inflow of illegal drugs. But public opinion isn’t buying it . There is no such invasion. Flows of undocumented migrants have dramatically slowed in recent years, and most illegal drugs are smuggled in on commercial flights, not via illegal border crossers. The main driver of the opioid epidemic is not illegal imports across the Mexican border, but a commercial U.S.-based drug company, Purdue Pharma , which hyped demand for its product OxyContin. A wall...

Trump’s Crumbling Wall -- of GOP Political Support

The increasing Republican skittishness about Trump’s wall and the continuing government shutdown offers an instructive preview of how the Trump presidency is likely to end: when key Republican senators decide that Trump is more trouble than he’s worth. What’s new about this crisis is the increasing number of Republican defections. Politically, Trump’s obsession has backfired. His demand for the wall and his holding the rest of the government hostage become more unpopular by the day. The most recent polls show that the public blames Trump more than the Democrats for the shutdown by margins approaching 2–to–1. There are at least seven Republicans in tight re-election races in 2020, and they aren’t happy. They include Cory Gardner of Colorado, Susan Collins of Maine, and Rob Portman of Ohio. Senators Pat Roberts of Kansas, who is retiring, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have also expressed exasperation in comments to the press . One can only...

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