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

Mass Hacking: Time to Go Offline

Nicescene/Shutterstock This article originally appeared at HuffPost . Subscribe here . L ast week’s mass cyber-attack could produce the wrong lessons. The immediate takeaway seems to be that large institutions need much better cybersecurity systems. But there’s a much simpler and better solution: Vital systems that can’t withstand the catastrophic risk of malicious hacking should just go offline. Hackers will always be able to find ways of getting into networked systems. The fantasy of ever better cybersecurity is delusional. We could spend half of the GDP on network security, and someone will still find a way to hack it—in a digital infinite regress worthy of Mad Magazine ’s Spy vs. Spy . The recent mass hack was an effort to collect digital ransom via Bitcoin (a monetary solution in search of a problem that central bankers could shut down overnight if they had the nerve; Bitcoin’s main legitimate use seems to be illegitimate transactions, money laundering, and speculation—a related...

A Tale of Two Elections

Stefan Rousseau/Pool via AP
Stefan Rousseau/Pool via AP Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the Dhamecha Lohana Centre in north west London, where she is meeting Conservative party general election candidates from across London and the south east of England, Monday May 8, 2017. E mmanuel Macron’s overwhelming 2-to-1 victory over Marine Le Pen has led to immense relief that the center held. France has rejected ultra-nationalism and will not destroy the euro and the EU. The problem, however, is that Macron’s kind of center has been an incubator of the kind of right-wing populism epitomized by Le Pen. The globalist center has devised rules of the economy that reward the cosmopolitan class and leave regular people far behind. Macron’s history and program suggest more of the same. The European Union, with its tight budgetary rules, imposes continent-wide austerity. Macron hopes to “modernize” French labor markets, meaning weakening unions and making it easier to fire workers. This policy is supposed to...

Liberals, Obama, and that Wall Street Speaking Fee

Rex Features via AP Images
Rex Features via AP Images Former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden walk through the the Capitol for Donald Trump's inauguration ceremony. O n Monday in this space, our columnist and colleague Paul Waldman addressed the subject of why liberals are upset about Barack Obama taking a $400,000 speaking fee from a Wall Street firm, Cantor-Fitzgerald, for a speech scheduled for September. Waldman opined, “You'd almost think Obama had begun lobbying for the repeal of Dodd-Frank, or maybe gone on a seal-clubbing expedition.” He continued, in an affectionate reminiscence about the Obama presidency, that a lot of the liberal disappointment or anger reflected upset at the contrast between Obama and Trump. I can’t speak for other liberals or progressives, but here are some thoughts about my own disappointment. As the contrast with Trump vividly reinforces, Barack Obama was one of the most principled, thoughtful, and honorable people ever to serve as president. He was a...

Europe: Don’t Break Out the Champagne Yet

AP Photo/Claude Paris
AP Photo/Claude Paris French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a campaign stop in Marseille. T he political mainstream on both sides of the Atlantic was hugely relieved when the centrist technocrat Emmanuel Macron topped the right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen in the first round of voting for the French presidency. Nearly all center-left and center-right politicians have now endorsed Macron, who is expected to defeat Le Pen in the May 7 runoff by at least 30 points. Polls show Macron winning by about two-to-one. Bullet dodged, right? Well, maybe for now. There was the same general relief in the Dutch election of March 15, when the far-right nationalist Geert Wilders received just 13.1 percent, and the center held. But here’s the problem. The center, as represented by Macron, and by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is committed to austerity policies. These policies continue to sandbag the European recovery, and to...

Two Cheers for the Deep State

(Photo: AP/Susan Walsh)
(Photo: AP/Susan Walsh) President Trump, accompanied by the Easter Bunny, salutes the woman who sang the National Anthem at the White House Easter Egg Roll on April 17, 2017. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. A funny thing happened to Donald Trump in recent weeks. He had an encounter with reality—and reality won. It is one thing to dwell in your own reality during the campaign and to persuade your true believers that real is fake and fake is real. But when you actually try to govern, there is a reality to reality, and it pushes back. It turns out that the budget, and the Syrian civil war, and North Korean nuclear ambitions, and relations with China, and with Mexico, and with the EU are, like health insurance … complicated. As Trump put it so well, who knew? Evidently, everyone knew but Trump. And it turns out that the United States can’t just insult China willy-nilly, because maybe we need China’s help to contain North Korea. It turns out that there is a direct...