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 Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, and the New York Review of Books. 

Follow Bob at his site, robertkuttner.com, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

Stop Wallowing in Your White Guilt and Start Doing Something for Racial Justice

Shutterstock Protester carrying a Black Lives Matter sign at the March for Our Lives protest at the Minnesota State Capitol This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post . Subscribe here . T he New York Times recently ran an exchange in its “Sweet Spot” advice column from an apparently anguished reader. The letter, signed Whitey, began: I’m riddled with shame. White shame. This isn’t helpful to me or to anyone, especially people of color. I feel like there is no “me” outside of my white/upper middle class/cisgender identity. I feel like my literal existence hurts people, like I’m always taking up space that should belong to someone else. I consider myself an ally. I research proper etiquette, read writers of color, vote in a way that will not harm P.O.C. (and other vulnerable people). I engage in conversations about privilege with other white people. I take courses that will further educate me. I donated to Black Lives Matter. Yet I fear that nothing is enough. Part of my...

The Economy Won’t Save Republicans in the Midterms

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images) Republican Senators John Barrasso, Roy Blunt, Mitch McConnell, John Thune, and John Cornyn on July 31, 2018 D onald Trump keeps bragging about the economy —an unemployment rate of just 3.9 percent, 3.7 million jobs created since he took office, consumer confidence up. Will this help the Republicans in the 2018 midterms? Probably not. If anything, the good economic performance paradoxically will hurt the GOP. Why? Because it’s not trickling down to ordinary people. Voters hear news reports and claims about the strong economy but know that their own wages are still lousy . This reinforces their sense that someone else is making off with the gains. And the statistics bear them out. Because of structural changes in the job market, real wages adjusted for inflation are actually flat. What structural changes? A shift in power from the worker to the boss. A shift to part-time, temp, and contract work. An escalation in the war against unions. This the...

Labor's Astonishing Missouri Win — and the Opening It Portends

Ohio’s razor-thin vote for an open House seat got most of the headlines, but the bigger story was the defeat of a right-to-work ballot proposition in supposedly right-wing Missouri.

The bill to make Missouri America’s 28th state with a “right to work” law was passed by the legislature in 2017 and signed by then–Republican Governor Eric Greitens. But the labor movement qualified a ballot initiative overturning the measure, and it passed by a margin of 2 to 1, including in very conservative parts of a state carried overwhelmingly by Trump.

The “right to work” option was added to labor law by the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. Passed by the Republican 80th Congress over President Truman’s veto (he denounced it as a “slave labor act”), Taft-Hartley allows states to pass laws permitting workers to opt out of paying union dues even when a majority of workers sign union cards.

The name “right to work” was always a fraud. Even in states without such laws, anybody can take a job at a unionized facility. Workers merely have to join, or if they don’t want to join, to pay dues after they are hired.

“Right to work” makes it much harder to organize in such states. Until the last few decades, these measures were largely confined to the anti-union South and Mountain West. Lately, they have been enacted in Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. In the past decade, they've been beaten with ballot initiatives in California and Ohio.

The Missouri vote not only extends and intensifies that success in a supposedly far more conservative state. It shows the latent appeal of pocketbook issues and trade unionism even in Trump country. It shows that the labor movement may be down, but it is far from out.

In Missouri, just 8.7 percent of workers are members of unions. But most working families know someone with a union job and they know the difference a union can make.

The right to have a union signals concern for the forgotten working class. By trying to crush labor, Missouri Republicans signaled not individual rights—the usual pitch for the misnamed “right to work” law—but their contempt for working people, who got the message.

The Missouri outcome also bodes well for the re-election of Senator Claire McCaskill, one of the supposedly endangered Democrats up this fall. More importantly, it signals the resurgence of the labor movement—and reminds Democrats that progressive economics are the indispensable ingredient for success on the beaten-down American heartland.

Why Trump Won’t Be the GOP Nominee in 2020

AP Photo/John Minchillo Supporters cheer for President Donald Trump during a rally in Lewis Center, Ohio T here is a saying attributed to various wise men: “Never make predictions, especially about the future.” Allow me to tempt fate and offer some musings about the 2020 election and America’s democratic future: The Republicans. I will be amazed if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. The water around him is rising fast, and he is likely to be long gone by 2020, either via impeachment or resignation in a deal that spares him prosecution. Trump’s Sunday morning tweet admitted that a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign aides and a Kremlin-linked lawyer was designed to “get information on an opponent.” Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere. I did not know about...

Why Dems Should Make a $15 Wage Their First Order of Business

Let’s make the increasingly likely assumption that Democrats take back the House in November. Nothing symbolizes concern for working people better than a higher minimum wage. And nothing jams Republicans quite as starkly as making them take a vote on this.

Do you doubt that? Here is a true fact. In the election of 2004—that’s the one where John Kerry booted a winnable election—activists in Florida qualified a ballot initiative raising that state’s minimum wage by one dollar, from $5.15 to $6.15

Well, you might say, that doesn’t affect all that many people, right? John Kerry was asked to come down and campaign for it. He declined.

How do you think the initiative did in this quintessential swing state, which George W. Bush carried in that election?

The minimum-wage initiative won overwhelmingly, with 71 percent of the vote. It carried every single Florida county, including some very conservative ones where the sort of working people who later voted for Donald Trump care about their paychecks.

The minimum-wage initiative won by three million votes. It received about two million votes more than Kerry did, and a million votes more than Bush did. If Kerry had accepted the invitation to go out on street corners and campaign for the minimum-wage hike, he might have been elected president.

So as I was saying, when Democrats take back the House, they should make a vote on a $15 minimum wage their first order of business. Any questions?

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