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

See Dick Run (the Country)

George W. Bush has been faulted in some quarters for taking an extended vacation while the Middle East festers. It doesn't much matter; the man running the country is Vice President Dick Cheney. When historians look back on the multiple assaults on our constitutional system of government in this era, Cheney's unprecedented role will come in for overdue notice. Cheney's shotgun mishap, when he accidentally sprayed his host with birdshot, has gotten more media attention than has his control of the government. Historically, the vice president's job was to ceremonially preside over the Senate, attend second-tier foreign funerals, and be prepared for the president to die. Students are taught that John Nance Garner, Franklin Roosevelt's first vice president, compared the job to a bucket of warm spit (and historians say spit was not the word the pungent Texan actually used). Recent vice presidents Walter Mondale and Al Gore were given more authority than most, but there was no doubt that the...

Beyond Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart is usefully becoming the symbol of an America where tens of millions of hard-working families cannot make ends meet. Its wages and health benefits are so dismal that in several states Wal-Mart displaces worker healthcare costs onto tax-supported Medicaid for the poor. Wal-Mart batters down wages not just in the United States, but in Third World countries, where it plays foreign suppliers against one another to demand the lowest possible wholesale price (and wage). The New York Times reported recently that Democratic politicians from Senator Joseph Lieberman to his winning opponent in the Connecticut primary, Ned Lamont, are making Wal-Mart their nemesis. This focus is certainly helpful in spotlighting one mega-employer that is symbol and substance of an America where the middle-class dream is vanishing, but the problems go far beyond Wal-Mart. The America of a generation ago had multiple institutions for enabling worker incomes to rise with their rising productivity. More...

Here We Go Again

Dick Cheney was certainly farsighted when he declared Wednesday that Ned Lamont's victory over Joe Lieberman would comfort "Al Qaeda types." Voila! Only a day later, Al Qaeda was revealed as plotting to bring down 10 planes! I thought that was a nice parody line -- until I picked up yesterday's Wall Street Journal . There, editorial page writer Daniel Henninger, in a column headed, "Democrats Knifed Lieberman on Eve of Airliner Plot," goes beyond parody. Henninger writes, "[G]etting on a U.S. airliner, who would you rather have in the Senate formulating policy towards this threat -- Ned Lamont or Joe Lieberman?" We will face this story line between now and the November election, and beyond: As the terror threat rises, you can't trust critics of the Bush administration to keep America safe. The war in Iraq, the nuclear designs of Iran, Hezbollah's rocketing of Israel, new diabolical tactics by Al Qaeda, and the general ideological and military menace of militant Islamism, are all...

Regressive Behavior

A minimum wage increase, the first in nearly a decade, got sidetracked yet again on Thursday when Senate Republicans tied its passage to a permanent estate tax cut for the wealthiest one percent of American families. Democrats refused to take the bait, and both measures failed. The Republicans seem to be going out of their way to dramatize their passion for favoring the interests of the very richest over the livelihood of the working poor -- their brand of class warfare. The federal minimum wage is now $5.15 an hour. In terms of purchasing power, that is its lowest level since the 1950s. The proposed legislation would raise the minimum to $7.25 by 2009. Last month, the House approved a clean minimum wage bill. The Republican leadership tried to keep it bottled up, but Republicans facing reelection in tight races persuaded their leaders to allow a vote, and dozens voted with the Democrats to increase the minimum wage. But then Bill Frist, the Republican Senate leader, got cute. He...

Doha's Death

Shed no tears for the recent collapse of the trade talks, widely portrayed as a big setback for the trading system and developing nations. The suspension opens the door to a more realistic agenda. The current round of trade talks was launched in 2001 at Doha, Qatar, an authoritarian location conveniently off-limits to protesters. It was billed as a "development round" -- something for poor countries. The U.S. government was promoting its latest grand bargain. Emerging economies like India and Brazil, which limit the ability of foreign capital to use their economies as speculative playgrounds, should fling their doors open. In return, the United States and Europe would cut farm subsidies, so Third World nations could export more agricultural products. This was described as a win-win deal: good for Third World farmers, for U.S. and European investors, poor countries that need foreign capital, and good for consumers. But talks were suspended this week because the parties could not agree...

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