Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, a professor at Brandeis University's Heller School, and a distinguished senior fellow of the think tank Demos. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week and continues to write columns in The Boston Globe. He is the author of Obama's Challenge and other books.

Recent Articles

President Bush's World Is Turning

The Bush administration's alarming penchant for going it alone in world affairs could have one unintended and salutary effect: Europe, however reluctantly, is learning how to lead. And Europe could lead the way to a more balanced global order. Consider the following events of recent months: Europe and Japan decide to go forward with the Kyoto Accords on global warming despite America's nonparticipation. Eventually, the United States will have to decide whether to be part of a system that it had no voice in designing. Bush's emissaries kill a draft treaty to enforce the global ban on germ warfare. The administration was concerned that international monitors would gain access to US military and commercial secrets. The United States joins a handful of nations in refusing to approve a new accord on children's rights. The offending provision commits participating nations not to imprison children under 16. The administration terrifies allies by trying to overturn the Anti-Ballistic Missile...

Comment: The Political Fed

S o Alan Greenspan is a political animal. What--you were expecting a philosopher-king? A lot of people who should know better were taken by surprise when Fed Chairman Greenspan made George W. Bush's inaugural week by embracing a big tax cut. But it's not as if Greenspan got this far on, say, charm. As Bob Woodward's recent biography of him makes clear, Greenspan for more than a decade outmaneuvered other members of the Fed's board of governors and made such tactical alliances as he needed to survive. One such temporary alliance was with Bill Clinton. Once Clinton agreed to the stringent program of deficit reduction the Fed wanted, Greenspan was willing to make Clinton look good. The Fed not only cut interest rates, but Greenspan gamely sat next to Hillary during the president's State of the Union address and applauded the Clinton program. Clinton, not surprisingly, reappointed Greenspan. But that was...

Tax-Cut Battle Lost, Democrats Can't Let Up Now

In losing $1.35 trillion of federal revenue to George W. Bush's tax cut, the Democrats lost an important battle, but maybe they haven't lost the war. The war, in this case, is a principled conflict between two contending philosophies of governance and the good society. Should people fend mostly for themselves or should some needs be provided socially? In this debate, conservatives want to shrink social spending. Since the Reagan era, the Republican grand design has been to starve government for resources. President Reagan accomplished that, big time, with his massive tax cut of 1981. That tax cut was responsible for more than a decade of spending cuts and escalating budget deficits, which increased the national debt by more than $3 trillion. The Democrats barely got those deficits under control and began to contemplate restoring some social spending when the Republicans came back in and cut taxes again. Seemingly, Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut, most of it to the wealthy, removes money...

The Tax Debate We Really Need

The increasingly severe economic downturn offers a fresh basis to reconsider President Bush's tax plan. For starters, it's the wrong kind of tax cut. For reasons of budgetary sleight of hand, most of the benefits would occur in future years. But we need a strong economic stimulus right now. By contrast, President Kennedy's tax cut, which conservatives love to invoke, was front-loaded. Second, most of the benefits go to the wrong people - very wealthy ones who will save rather than spend the proceeds of their tax break. Whatever is afflicting the economy at this moment, it is not a shortage of savings. On the contrary, there is plenty of investment capital around. But in a downturn, capitalists are pulling in their horns. So the stimulus we need should be on the demand side - consumer spending. Investors, if anything, were overly credulous in the booming 1990s. They were easy marks for stock promoters and backed a rash of unneeded ventures that are now collapsing. For the long term,...

Thank You Mr. President:

Dear Mr. President, I didn't vote for you, but you keep making my day. The liberal magazine that I edit, The American Prospect, has doubled its circulation since last fall. Your administration is slavishly pro-business--but it's also good for our business. The more you keep pursuing policies that most people think are nuts, the more people are eager to find alternatives. Imagine, cutting taxes on the richest one percent of Americans, instead of giving ordinary people secure health care and good schools. Please--keep it up, Mr. President, and the sometimes gutless Democrats in Congress will come roaring back. You tried to squeeze crusty old Senator Jim Jeffords--everything from disinviting him from a major education event honoring a teacher from his own state to threatening Vermont's dairy farmers. You squeezed him so hard he quit the Republican party. Just when I think you've learned something--when it looks like you've decided to repair to the middle of the road and be the kind of...

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