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

The Rights Stuff

Is President Bush's effort to claim extra-constitutional powers as a wartime commander-in-chief finally being reined in by congressional Republicans and courts? Or will the Republican Congress and increasingly docile judges figure out ways to legalize Bush's extralegal incursions after the fact? Exhibit A is the administration's secret program to wiretap American citizens in express violation of even the wide police and spying powers of the USA Patriot Act. The administration claimed, in a doctrine put forth by Alberto Gonzales, then White House counsel, now attorney general, that the commander-in-chief role superseded other laws, and that Congress's post-9-11 votes for war essentially gave Bush dictatorial powers. This rankled even some Republicans, since the White House had not bothered to inform congressional leaders of the extralegal spying. Now Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, after weeks of negotiations with Gonzales, has emerged with a compromise that would...

Iraq, Insoluble

Ridiculing the feckless Democrats for their fragmentation on the Iraq War is an easy spectator sport. On the lonely left advocating withdrawal is Senator Russ Feingold, lately joined by Senator John Kerry (did somebody say flip-flop?). On the right Joe Lieberman is defending his Senate seat in dovish Connecticut, while a hawkish Hillary Clinton seems to be incautiously taking her Democratic base for granted and looking beyond her expected 2008 nomination to the general election. And in the mushy center, Democratic leader Harry Reid and 38 Senate colleagues support a vaguely phased withdrawal. But ridiculing these worthies is a little too easy. Because the search for a viable Iraq policy is really hard. President Bush has left the country with a policy problem from hell that may be literally insoluble, for him or anyone else. Put aside partisanship, and consider the options. The first is stay the course. The problem is that the war, at any politically imaginable level of U.S. troop...

Survival of the Richest

Former senator John Edwards gave a terrific speech to the National Press Club Thursday, one that felt like eloquence from another age. His theme: America should end poverty in three decades, mainly by rewarding work and promoting opportunity. "Poverty is the great moral issue of our time," Edwards declared. This speech was his de facto kickoff for a run at the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Unlike most of the undeclared Democratic field, Edwards is not putting his finger to the prevailing wind. He's trying to change it. After his 2004 vice-presidential run, Edwards admirably went home to the University of North Carolina to head its Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity. Though the speech was long-scheduled, Edwards' timing was unerring. On Wednesday, Senator Edward Kennedy's bill to raise the federal minimum wage from its paltry $5.15 an hour to $7.25 won the votes of 52 senators, a majority, including eight Republicans. But the Republican leadership blocked it with a...

Filling the Breach

Are the liberals dividing the Democratic Party once more and weakening Democrats' credibility on defense? Or are they stepping into a leadership vacuum? The Democrats' schisms over Iraq were on display at last week's Take Back America convention in Washington. Senator Hillary Clinton, whose speech to the gathering was mostly applauded, got scattered boos when she declared that it was not "smart strategy" to "set a date certain for troop withdrawal." The hawkish Senator Clinton, one senior Democratic strategist observed, is prematurely positioning herself for the 2008 general election. First she has to win her own party's primaries. At the rate she's going, she is fast alienating the party's overwhelmingly antiwar base. Senator John Kerry quickly differentiated his position from hers. Speaking shortly after Clinton, Kerry won cheers when he pledged to introduce a Senate resolution calling for withdrawal of most troops by the end of 2006 (though several in the audience could be heard...

What's the Matter With Class?

On June 6, California voters decisively rejected a ballot initiative to provide tax-supported public pre-kindergarten. A special surtax would have touched only residents making at least $400,000 or $800,000 for a couple. It's hard to think of a better use of social outlay for the middle class and the poor, or a better-targeted tax. Yet the measure lost, 61 to 39 percent. Yes, there were extenuating circumstances -- low turnout, ambivalence of the state's political elite, and damaging fallout over the dual role of prime sponsor Rob Reiner, who also chaired a state-funded commission on early education. But the defeat was no fluke. Two years ago, writing in the Prospect , Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels reported that voters of all classes supported repeal of the estate tax, which affected only the richest 2 percent. Even moderate-income voters who deplored rising inequality and supported activist government favored repeal by 2-to-1. Last year, Bartels went on to challenge Tom...

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