Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, a professor at Brandeis University's Heller School, and a distinguished senior fellow of the think tank Demos. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week and continues to write columns in The Boston Globe. He is the author of Obama's Challenge and other books.

Recent Articles

The Gathering Storm

D espite a tough-sounding speech, George W. Bush is suddenly vulnerable on the defining domestic issue of his presidency. The cascading corporate scandals are more than a temporary blow to investor confidence. They are a serious threat to American capitalism -- and Republican doctrine. Bush is at risk of becoming a Cinderella president. Terrorist attacks elevated him from an untested pretender with no mandate into a popular commander in chief. Now a domestic economic crisis, eerily reminiscent of Bush's own dubious financial history, could turn him back into a bumpkin. On issue after issue, Bush's grand strategist, Karl Rove, has sought to blur the differences between Bush and his political opponents -- to "take Democratic issues off the table," as Rove likes to say. Tuesday's New York speech tried to get Bush back ahead of the curve and position him as tough on corporate crime. But this act will be much tougher to pull off. Real reform demands not just tougher penalties; it will...

Markets Dump Bush Stock:

B ush's New York speech on corporate accountability was one of the weakest of his presidency. It was long on platitudes, short on structural reforms. The Dow Jones responded to his call for restored confidence in America's financial markets by plunging 189 points. Ever since he took office, Bush's short run political strategy has been to blur differences with Democrats. He can get away with this, perhaps, on issues like prescription drug coverage, where the details are numbingly complex and few voters are paying attention. But America's corporate meltdown is real, and Bush is way behind the curve. It's more than a little ironic that Bush's mandateless presidency was rescued by a foreign policy crisis that is now being upstaged by what could be the most serious economic threat since the Great Depression. For Bush's own rise to fame and fortune in Texas was a small-bore version of the Enron and WorldCom scandals. There is no way that Bush can do a Nixon-to-China on this issue and get...

Getting Welfare Right

R ecently I was invited to be the token liberal at a major national conference of conservative foundations. The invitation was to debate Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard editor, TV pundit, and conservative grand strategist, as the after-dinner entertainment. Presumably, conservative donors wished to view the face of the enemy, close up. The better I did, the deeper they would dig into their ample pockets. The dinner was held at one of New York's most elegant hotels, the Pierre. The sponsors put me up at the nearby Hotel Roosevelt, a spartan midtown hostelry one cut above fleabag. I gamely accepted this lesser billeting not as demeaning confirmation of the right's two-class vision for society, but as recognition of my esteem for FDR. But I digress. The debate itself was good fun, but the real treat was the before-dinner event: a panel discussion of four presidents of major right-wing research factories, titled, "Philanthropy, Think Tanks, and the Importance of Ideas." The heads of the...

Running Scared

T he Republicans and the Bush administration may have painted themselves into a serious political corner on the hot-button issue of Social Security. Last December a Social Security Commission appointed by the president reported three possible plans to privatize part of Social Security accounts. At the time the commission was appointed, conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute had persuaded leading Republicans that voters liked the idea of "choice" in their retirement planning and that private accounts invested in stocks had great appeal with younger voters. But after a swooning stock market and the Enron scandal, Republican congressmen who have to run in swing districts know better. The GOP's rank and file is refusing to walk this plank. The other day, U.S. Representative Clay Shaw of Florida, a leading advocate of Social Security privatization, denied that he supports Social Security privatization. The House leadership has even refused to put the...

Comment: Philanthropy and Movements

R ecently I was invited to be the token liberal at a major national conference of conservative foundations. The invitation was to debate Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard editor, TV pundit, and conservative grand strategist, as the after-dinner entertainment. Presumably, conservative donors wished to view the face of the enemy, close up. The better I did, the deeper they would dig into their ample pockets. The dinner was held at one of New York's most elegant hotels, the Pierre. The sponsors put me up at the nearby Hotel Roosevelt, a spartan midtown hostelry one cut above fleabag. I gamely accepted this lesser billeting not as demeaning confirmation of the right's two-class vision for society, but as recognition of my esteem for FDR. But I digress. The debate itself was good fun, but the real treat was the before-dinner event: a panel discussion of four presidents of major right-wing research factories, titled, "Philanthropy, Think Tanks, and the Importance of Ideas." The heads of the...

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