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

Force of July

The bitterly contentious nomination of John Bolton to be UN ambassador comes to a showdown this holiday weekend. With the Senate having twice refused to break a filibuster over Bolton, President Bush may use his power to make a recess appointment during Congress's Fourth of July break. Bolton would then serve without Senate confirmation until the next Congress ends, in late 2006. Or Bush could withdraw Bolton's name. Bolton's views on the UN are hostile. He is known as a short-tempered martinet. He got poor reviews for his last job as undersecretary of state for arms control. For instance, Bolton was a skeptic of a U.S. joint program to keep Russian nuclear fuel from reaching terrorists. The effort was tied up in legal minutiae during Bolton's tenure, but soon after Bolton's departure early in 2005, the logjam was broken and agreement with Russia reached. The Washington Post reported that our allies so distrust Bolton on the sensitive negotiations over Iran's nuclear program that they...

Big Labor, Big Choices

The AFL-CIO is on the verge of splintering. Five of the most dynamic unions are threatening to leave the labor federation over differences of how much money to spend on new organizing, and how to turn jurisdictional rivalries into effective coalitions. All this is compounded by rivalries of personality, political style, and turf. The timing could hardly be worse. The earnings of ordinary workers are lagging inflation. Jobs up and down the career ladder are insecure, as are health and pension benefits. The workplace future, except for a fortunate elite, seems to be outsourcing, downsizing, and Wal-Mart. Other, broader policies championed by organized labor that could help ordinary working families, such as good child care, paid family leave, higher minimum wages, secure health and pension benefits, are off the legislative menu in part because of labor's political decline. Polls show that nearly half of America's workers want a union -- as the 1935 Wagner Act allows them to choose. But...

True West

It's 8:30 on a sparkling June evening, and leaders of Montana's resurgent Democratic Party are hosting a river trip for the annual meeting of the party's Western States Caucus. The group of nearly 100 party leaders and elected officials is motoring through the canyon of the Missouri River that Captain Meriwether Lewis, 200 years ago this July, named the Gates of the Rocky Mountains. At a narrow bend, river pilot Tim Crawford swings the Sacajawea II around 180 degrees, and the passage literally looks like immense rocky gates opening and closing. As the setting sun lights up the peaks, Howard Dean, in town for the gathering, peers up the canyon's sheer, 800-foot limestone walls, and spots a bald eagle nested atop one of the ponderosa pines. Turkey buzzards circle, but the group's good spirits suggest that the birds are looking for Republicans. Remarkably, some 172 miles of the upper Missouri looks much as it did when Lewis and William Clark first poled and paddled upstream, mapping the...

A Universe Next Door

Somewhere, in a parallel universe, real leaders in a country very much like our own are dealing with real problems. Imagine what America might be like if our top officials were addressing the genuine challenges that confront us. Domestically, the president might have responded to the September 11 attacks by calling for equality of sacrifice, as presidents have done in every other wartime emergency. Instead, our president pushed through a succession of upscale tax cuts and urged people to go out and shop. In the parallel universe, the American leader is serious about securing our country. Here, it fell to the opposition party to demand that something as basic as airline security not be left to private, minimum-wage contractors. Nearly three years after 9-11, America's ports and other vital infrastructure are still sitting ducks. While the Department of Homeland Security played Keystone Kops with color-coded alerts that seemed suspiciously timed to alarm the public in an election year,...

The Early Lead

The 2008 election is three years off, and the jockeying is already intense. Most insiders have concluded that the Democratic finalists are likely to come down to Hillary Rodham Clinton and one or two anti-Hillarys. The Atlantic Monthly reported a confidential poll of leading Democratic and Republican insiders indicating that 49 of 63 Democrats and 48 of 56 Republicans expected Clinton to be the nominee. Why Hillary? First, the potent Clinton political apparatus enables her to raise prodigious sums. Second, she has proven in places like upstate New York that she can attract independent support. Third, she is a real charmer, having worked with Republican senators on legislation of joint interest -- people who initially viewed her as the arch-fiend. She also has an uncanny ability to charm reporters. New York magazine recently ran an adoring cover piece illustrated by Hillary taking the presidential oath as Bill lovingly looked on. The writer confessed to initial skepticism, but after...

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