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

The Deficit Hawks Have It Wrong

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/via AP Images
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/via AP Images House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conduct a news conference Q uestion for today: What is the connection between the Republican tax cuts, the rising federal deficit, and the wildly gyrating stock market? The answer is trickier than it seems. Ever since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have relentlessly played the following cynical game. It has three basic moves. One: Cut taxes on the wealthy. Insist that the cuts will not increase the deficit because of the tonic, “supply-side” effect on economic growth. Two: When deficits increase, express shock; discover the menace of the national debt—and cut social spending. Three: Rinse and repeat. This fiscal spin cycle has been performed under Reagan, Bush I, Bush II (twice), and now Trump. The spending cuts typically occur under Democrats, who play the role of Fiscally Responsible Adults in this drama, thus putting Democrats at odds with their own ideology and constituency for...

The Democrats’ False Choice

AP Photo/John Bazemore
AP Photo/John Bazemore A supporter of Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Doug Jones reacts during an election-night watch party in Birmingham This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . S hould Democrats go all out to energize a “rising electorate” of women, blacks, Latinos, Asians, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and on-the-march young voters? Or should the Democrats go all out to rebuild their shattered reputation as the Party of Roosevelt that cares about the white working class? A great deal has been written by advocates of both views, and many of these articles and speeches have talked right past each other. For instance, advocates of the new rainbow, majority-minority coalition argue that white working-class voters are privileged relative to people of color, and that progressives can win without them, without compromising on race, gender, immigration, and inclusion to pander to a coddled white working class. Conversely, champions of the white-working-...

Trump, the Globalist Plutocrat

Laurent Gillieron/Keystone vía AP
Laurent Gillieron/Keystone vía AP President Donald Trump about to speak at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . I n case there was still any doubt, Davos showed us who Donald Trump really is: a member of the globalist plutocracy. Strip the racism from his nationalist appeal and there is nothing there. It’s camouflage for his service to the global billionaire class from which he comes. The enthusiastic reception of Trump at the annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland also taught us something about the global capitalist elite. As long as Trump embraces their interests, doesn’t urinate on the podium, and reads a canned speech without rude ad-libs, they praise him as a born-again global statesman. Globalist capital doesn’t care if you are a thug, a fraud, or an aspiring dictator, as long as you do their bidding. So much for the idea that the market system and liberal democracy are natural complements...

Davos Man

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland T he annual Davos event has become a gathering of the very people responsible for a perverse version of globalization—one that has undermined the livelihoods of ordinary people—and stimulated a mass nationalistic backlash that has brought to power people like Donald Trump. Will Trump use his speech to bash the plutocrats? Or to make it clear that he is their friend? Will he try to pose as economic nationalist and lecture them on all the ways that bad other countries hurt America? Rhetorically, Trump (“America First!”) is anti-globalization. He is for re-negotiating trade deals that outsource of America jobs, and bringing back American manufacturing. A few of his officials, notably the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, are taking this vow seriously and trying to fashion policies to match. There are, however, three problems. The first is that trade issues are...

How Do You Say Shithole in Norwegian?

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Donald Trump looks towards Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg as she speaks during a news conference at the White House I n disparaging desperately poor countries whose “wretched refuse,” in poet Emma Lazarus’s eloquent lyric, seek refuge on our shores, Donald Trump urged America to seek more immigration of the “best and the brightest,” specifically mentioning Norway. The problem, of course, is that few Norwegians want to come. In fiscal year 2016, exactly 362 Norwegians became permanent legal residents of the United States. Short of kidnapping Norwegians and using extreme rendition to coerce them to enter our shores, there is no way to increase Norwegian immigration. And why should they come? Norway has full employment, a competitive private economy, one of the world’s most comprehensive welfare states, paid parental leave of a year after a child is born, universal health insurance, and free higher education. Its life expectancy far exceeds ours,...