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

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

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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...

Thank You, Steve Bannon

AP Photo/Mary Schwalm
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to President Donald Trump, wipes his forehead as he speaks during an event in Manchester, New Hampshire This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . B annon, the avenging angel of establishment Republicans, recently told The New York Times , “I have an objective that Mitch McConnell will not be [Senate] majority leader, and I believe will be done before this time next year.” Bannon could well get his wish, though not quite in the way he intends. Suddenly, a Democratic takeover of the Senate in the 2018 elections is not such a long shot. McConnell could well hand the gavel over—not to some Tea Party Republican backed by Bannon, but to Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. Thanks to Bannon, Republicans are now saddled with a nominee in the December 12 Alabama special Senate election: ousted Judge Roy Moore, who was already at risk for being too crackpot even for Alabama—and that was before several...

Robert Rubin Speaks with Forked Tongue

There’s a smart op-ed piece in the Times by Robert Rubin—yes, that Robert Rubin—calling for a massive federal jobs program at decent wages. Rubin correctly points out that most people need good jobs, and that the vogue for a Universal Basic Income doesn’t solve that, and is very expensive.

What prevents us from having a jobs program at a scale that would make a real difference? One factor is the Democratic Party’s obsession with deficit reduction and budget balance as necessary tokens of fiscal virtue. That theme ran through both the Clinton and Obama administrations.

And the leading Democratic proponent of that view, along with his Republican Wall Street cronies like Pete Peterson, was the same Robert Rubin.

Now that the good jobs desert has brought us Trump, it’s nice that Rubin is having new thoughts. And tactically, it’s useful that Rubin now supports a massive federal outlay on jobs. But hypocrite and opportunist are among the kinder words to describe this man.

Wither the Democrats?

AP Photo/Steve Helber
AP Photo/Steve Helber Former President Barack Obama, right, speaks as Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam listens during a rally in Richmond A pparently not. Despite all manner of recrimination and schism, and lack of enthusiasm for the bland and risk averse Ralph Northam, Democratic voters realized the stakes and turned out in large numbers to elect him governor of Virginia. Right up until the impressive nine-point win, the election was a nail-biter. Polls showed a tightening race, and the run-up to the Virginia gubernatorial election began to feel feeling like the last days of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But there is nothing like a big win to heal splits and restore spirits. Northam’s secret weapon was the losing GOP candidate, Ed Gillespie, is a longtime party hack and lobbyist, who was far less convincing than Donald Trump as a rich man posing as a populist. He also tried to use the Trump playbook while distancing himself from Trump...

Manufacturing Lies

AP Photo/Eric Gay
AP Photo/Eric Gay A worker uses a lift to move rolls of sheet metal at LMS International in Laredo, Texas This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . D onald Trump promises to make American manufacturing great again. Yet all of his policies would do just the opposite. America was going to get tough on NAFTA, right? The goal was to “rebalance” trade among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Well, a parade of corporate lobbyists demanding that we keep NAFTA has caused the administration to put off negotiations. If NAFTA is renegotiated, the changes will be mostly cosmetic. And anyway, NAFTA is only a small part of American manufacturing woes. If we were serious about restoring good blue-collar manufacturing jobs, what would it take? For starters, we’d need an industrial policy, something that both political parties have rejected as meddling with the market. One place where we actually have a modest industrial policy is at the Energy Department, where government...

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