Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, as well as 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

Loyal Opposition:

In the 1990s, citizens sent Washington a message by giving one party the Congress and the other the presidency -- intensified checks and balances two centuries after the founders thought of the idea. The voters didn't quite trust either party to govern without the restraint of the other.

Introduction:

A recession was supposed to rescue the Democrats in next
November's midterm election. Even if they had little else, Democratic
strategists expected, they could bash Bush for a weak economy. But the recession
evidently is over almost before it began, and it's not even April. The
unemployment rate has declined for two straight months and may not reach 6
percent. Economic growth has turned positive. Other standard economic indicators
-- inventories, consumer spending, factory orders, and so on -- suggest an
economy in recovery. This surprising turn raises two questions: First, is the
recovery real and durable? And second, what does this do to the Democrats?

Economics for Democrats

Even if the recession's over, not everyone's making out fine.

A recession was supposed to rescue the Democrats in next
November's midterm election. Even if they had little else, Democratic
strategists expected, they could bash Bush for a weak economy. But the recession
evidently is over almost before it began, and it's not even April. The
unemployment rate has declined for two straight months and may not reach 6
percent. Economic growth has turned positive. Other standard economic indicators
-- inventories, consumer spending, factory orders, and so on -- suggest an
economy in recovery. This surprising turn raises two questions: First, is the
recovery real and durable? And second, what does this do to the Democrats?

Enron's End-Runs

There are so many scandals in this Enron era that sometimes it is hard to connect the dots. What ties them all together is the broad acceptance of conflicts of interest as a way of life. Consider the emblematic scandal of our time:

Stockbrokers were supposed to serve the interests of their customers, but many continued to tout Enron stock even as the company was imploding. Auditors were supposed to attest to the honesty of company books, but Arthur Andersen in its consulting role made lucrative fees helping Enron management concoct dubious financial manipulations that Andersen auditors then blessed.

Comment: The Road to Enron

For the past quarter-century, America has been
deregulating capitalism in
expectation of a more dynamic and efficient economy. In fact, average economic
growth since 1976 has slightly lagged that of the previous quarter-century, when
capitalism was more highly regulated. But there has been a much more serious set
of consequences--widening inequality, the dismantling of public remedy, and the
neutering of the Democratic Party as a medium of progressive politics.

Pages