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

Needed: A Democratic Shadow Cabinet

(Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
(Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is joined by Senators Mark Warner and Elizabeth Warren while speaking at the Capitol on March 14, 2017. D onald Trump, precisely because his behavior is so outlandish and unpredictable, has dominated the news coverage. It’s unreality TV, and the media can’t stop covering it. The benefit is that Trump’s sheer craziness gets a lot of scrutiny. But the downside is that Democratic critics have trouble getting much airtime. If this were a parliamentary democracy, there would be a leader of the opposition, and a whole “front bench” of opposition spokespeople, issue by issue—a kind of Shadow Cabinet. Leading Democrats could both hold Trump accountable for his bizarre positions (and those of his Republican allies in Congress), and the Democrats could also offer more attractive alternatives. They could also show up Trump’s sheer ignorance of the issues, and his crazy inconsistency, and hold him accountable, item by item. Once...

How to Marginalize the Tea Party

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite House Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Mark Meadows rushes to a caucus in the basement of the Capitol in Washington, Friday, March 24, 2017, before House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he is abruptly pulling their troubled health-care bill off the House floor. An earlier version of this article appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . H ow is it that the 37 most right-wing members of the House, the so-called Freedom Caucus, have disabled the Republican majority? The explanation is the relatively recent tradition that Republicans never make bipartisan agreements with Democrats, except in the rare cases when they can peel off a few conservative Democrats to totally capitulate to Republican terms. If Republicans could bring themselves to work with Democrats—the norm for most of American history—the outsized influence of the most extreme Republicans would collapse. The Republican posture of ultra-partisanship, which has now backfired, is...

No, We Don’t Need Higher Interest Rates

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking Committee. An earlier version of this article appeared at The Huffington Post . Subscribe here . T he press is fairly slavering for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. You can hardly read an item in the business pages without some commentator declaring that, at last, the unemployment rate is low enough and the growth rate high enough that the Fed can tighten money… and choke off further progress. Hosannas! But the commentators have to strain to tell us how good things are. Yes, wages are up this year and unemployment is down, but as EPI’s comprehensive report makes clear, these gains have only begun to reverse several decades of rising inequality. Why does the financial community want higher interest rates? So that banks and other creditors can make more money, of course. And to head off inflation that for the moment is mostly imaginary. And to keep down worker pressure for higher...

The Search for Trump’s Smoking Gun

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Friday, February 24, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Maryland. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . M uch of the pre-election alliance between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is hidden in plain view . We know that Putin resented Obama’s Russia policy and feared a harder-line Hillary Clinton presidency even more. We know that Putin deliberately engaged in cyber-warfare to embarrass the Clinton campaign. We know that Trump—loudly and publicly—urged the Russians to keep leaking. We also know that Trump and his family—a single commercial entity—had extensive business relationships with Russia. We know that Trump campaign officials had repeated contacts with senior Russian officials, both during the campaign and in the interregnum between the election and Trump’s inauguration. We know that Trump has been extremely flattering in his descriptions of Putin, and is...

Why American Democracy Will Hold

AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
(Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions on February 22, 2017. An earlier version of this story appeared at The Huffington Post . Subscribe here . A fter five weeks of steady pummeling, American democracy is holding—because its institutions are stronger than Donald Trump. Let’s begin with the press. As John McCain reminded us, dictators “get started by suppressing free press”—and Donald Trump is no exception. Trump and his press spokesman Sean Spicer will not be satisfied until there is a totally sycophantic press, accepting Trump’s twisted view of the truth, and adoringly reflecting it back to the great leader and his people. Kind of like the free press in Putin’s Russia. But that’s not going to happen. The press has never been more determined to hold its ground. Certainly, press solidarity behind the First Amendment is not all that it should be. In last week’s schoolyard game of banning from a White House briefing media with the...

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