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

Solidarity Man

On April 3, at an unpublicized strategy meeting, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack assembled AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, AFSCME president Gerry McEntee, and several other senior labor leaders with officials of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), including Clinton administration veteran and DLC president Bruce Reed. Vilsack, the current DLC chairman, encouraged the two factions to stop sniping and start collaborating. People around the table committed to a long-term process of detente. Then Vilsack asked each side what it wanted from the other. One of the union presidents said the DLC should support “card check,” the process whereby a majority of employees at any workplace can sign union cards and form an officially recognized union. (It's one of the labor movement's top legislative priorities, co-sponsored by 43 senators and 216 members of the House.) The DLC people, including Reed, agreed that this was a core Democratic position that the group could endorse. (DLC founder Al From was...

A Losing Formula

It has now become less politically risky for Democrats to accept gay marriage than to support taxing the richest 1 percent of Americans. And that reality speaks volumes about the Democratic dilemma. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans offered a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that they knew had no chance of passage. Their purpose was simple and cynical: Rally the faltering Republican hard-core base, and force a vote that they hoped would embarrass Democrats. The constitutional measure, which required 67 votes to pass, got only 49. Just one Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, supported it. Seven Republicans, including all five New England GOP senators, voted against. It's not that most Democrats endorse same-sex marriage (though civil union commands wide support). Democrats said they opposed the measure because marriage is an issue for the states. Yet you can be sure that in this fall's elections, Republicans will chide Democrats for failing to vote for a constitutional...

A Sad Estate of Affairs

This week, the Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate will attempt to ram through a permanent repeal of the estate tax. A companion bill has already passed the House. Under the Bush administration, the estate tax has been cut to the point where less than one estate in a hundred pays any tax. The revenue loss is one big source of the mounting national debt. The recent cuts in the estate tax expire in 2011. Republicans, who expect to lose seats in November, want to enact permanent repeal now, while they still have the votes. If they can't find the votes for total repeal, they at least want to further cut the rate to something like 15 percent and raise the exemption to at least $3.5 million for an individual and $7 million for a couple. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, getting rid of the estate tax altogether would cost the Treasury a trillion dollars over 10 years. The "compromise" would cost about $500 billion to $600 billion. Republicans also want to get this...

Helllloooo, Nurse

America has a nursing shortage, so Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas has the perfect solution: imports. His provision in the Senate's immigration bill would waive the ceiling on the number of foreign nurses who can immigrate. Most come from poorer countries like the Philippines and India. According to The New York Times , which first reported on this little-noticed provision, the American Hospital Association reports about 118,000 vacancies for nurses, and the federal government projects a nurse shortage of 800,000 by 2020. Outsourcing is killing plenty of American jobs. But nursing is a good job that can't be outsourced, because the patients are here. Hey, no problem. We'll just in-source foreign workers. Nursing is not one of those jobs you hear about in the immigration debate that “Americans don't want to do." Plenty of Americans would love to be nurses. However, as shortages grow, working conditions deteriorate, and nurses suffer burnout. Nor is nursing a job where low...

A Glimpse at the Uniter in Chief

The immigration debate is, among other things, a window on the kind of President George W. Bush might have been if he hadn't been captured by the far right -- a uniter, not a divider, as someone said. Bush, in seeking to satisfy internationalists as well as exclusionists, to respect immigrants as hard-working human beings, and also to deliver good policy, is doing something he has not done since the early response to 9-11. He is committing an act of leadership. Bush's path was cleared last year by another rare case of bipartisanship, the alliance of Senators John McCain and Edward M. Kennedy. Working with immigration groups such as the National Immigration Forum and the National Council for La Raza, McCain and Kennedy embraced what the experts called ''comprehensive immigration reform." That meant not just securing America's borders, but the equally daunting challenge of enabling most of the estimated 12 million people here illegally to regularize their status. People here illegally...

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