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

Alabama: One More Assault on Voting Rights

Just in case we needed one more thumb on the scale of today’s Alabama Senate election, how about this:

The Alabama Supreme Court last night inserted itself to block a lower court ruling requiring election officials to preserve ballots, in case of challenges to voter suppression or even a just plain recount. In Alabama, about 85 percent of ballots are recorded digitally, and the lower ruling required the preservation of digital images.

Ironically, Roy Moore, the Republican candidate, served twice as chief justice, and was removed. The Supreme Court, in issuing a stay blocking the lower court ruling, gave no explanation, but sided with a brief filed by Secretary of State John Merrill. Which contended that state officials had no authority to direct local election officials to preserve ballots.

Such preservation, of course is standard procedure. The state Supreme Court adds one more bit of mischief to anticipated abuses of ID requirements and other forms of voter suppression. If Democrat Doug Jones does win, he will need to win by a theft-proof margin.

Al Franken: The Tragedy and the Travesty

AP Photo/Paul Sancya Minnesota Senator Al Franken T he Democrats’ pressure for Al Franken's resignation may make some sense from a zero-tolerance perspective. But it's dumb politics, and a cowardly sacrifice of a good man. It would have been far better to let the ethics inquiry take its course. Once a few leading women Democratic senators decided to demand that Franken go, others felt they had to pile on, lest they be seen as less than fully committed to ending sexual harassment. If you’ve ever seen Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible , about the Salem witchcraft trials, you get how this group-think works. Here's why it's dumb politics. The Democratic strategists, according to my reporting concluded that the Dems’ "cleaning house" would put pressure on the Republicans to do likewise, and hurt Roy Moore in the Alabama election next Tuesday. That explains the sudden pressure for Franken to resign immediately, before the final weekend of campaigning. So this is more about tactics than...

Thank You, Larry Mishel

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images Economic Policy Institute President Larry Mishel L et’s take a moment to salute our friend Larry Mishel, who is stepping down as president of the Economic Policy Institute, after having served as research director since EPI’s founding in 1986, then as vice president, and as president since co-founder Jeff Faux’s retirement in 2003. Larry, who has led EPI for nearly half of its life, has built it into a major national presence. He will be succeeded by Thea Lea, of whom more in a moment, and will continue as a senior staff economist. It is no exaggeration to say that EPI has been an indispensible institution in the firmament of progressive think tanks, and much of that success reflects Larry’s leadership. I take some personal pride in EPI’s role, having been one of its founders in 1986, along with Faux, former Labor Secretary Ray Marshall, future Labor Secretary Bob Reich, and economists Barry Bluestone and Lester Thurow. Our observation was that...

The 2018 Election and the Margin of Theft

Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP, File
Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP, File Voters line up to vote at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . D emocrats were rightly euphoric after their big gains in the 2017 off-year elections. With new grassroots energy yielding improbable down-ticket wins, they very nearly took control of the Virginia House of Delegates, which had been 2-to-1 Republican. At this writing, the House is 49 to 48 Republican, with recounts still pending in three races. The Virginia win was also heartening because it sidestepped and began to heal the Bernie/Hillary schism in the Democratic Party. Both factions came together to elect mostly young progressives to office. Normally, one would expect 2018 to be bumper year for Democrats. The out party normally picks up an average of about 30 House and four Senate seats in the first midterm election after a new president is elected, and this is no average year...

J.D. Vance: Republican Presidential Nominee in 2032?

Rex Features via AP Images
Rex Features via AP Images J. D. Vance, author and venture capitalist T his seems to be my year for crossing paths with right-wing notables. J.D. Vance is 33. His ideologically ambiguous book, Hillbilly Elegy , reflecting on his hardscrabble life in Appalachia, has been atop the bestseller list for more than a year. My wager is that Vance will be among those who pick up the pieces after Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Roy Moore, and Steve Bannon do each other in. Last year, I wrote a very critical review of Vance’s book. Much of the book, despite some poignant stories, wasn’t an elegy at all, but an exercise in moral superiority. In places, it was downright condescending. Sidestepping the economic devastation of Appalachia, Vance seemed determined to place most of the blame on poor choices and bad behavior by individuals, rather like the right’s favorite pseudo-social scientist, Charles Murray. In the end, Vance was insisting poverty is mostly about values and character. He wrote: We...

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