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

Bubblehead

Most economists expect something bad to happen to the U.S. economy sometime this decade, due to the deficit and debt overhang, the trade imbalance, the dependence on foreign borrowing, the sundry asset bubbles, and more. When the history of the next crash is written, President Bush's appointment of California Republican Congressman Christopher Cox to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) during this fragile era will deserve its own chapter. If confirmed, as he almost surely will be, Cox could very well be Bush's single most destructive regulatory appointee. Financial markets are one of the very few areas where even laissez-faire types concede that a measure of regulation is necessary. But Cox is a true believer who imagines that financial markets can police themselves. He has been a relentless foe of even the modest regulation enacted by the outgoing Republican SEC chairman, William Donaldson. The two other Republican commissioners are ideological clones of Cox, who will...

When Secrets are Lies

Consider a startling idea. Matt Cooper of Time magazine was right to testify before the grand jury and identify Karl Rove as the leak. The definition of the Valerie Plame story has now shifted from its first phase (minor, not very newsworthy leak) to a second phase emphasizing the First Amendment (outrage that special counsel is squeezing reporters to testify) to a third phase where it properly belongs (very big story of Karl Rove and Bush White House illegally breaching national security for crass political purposes). There is, at last, plenty of attention to the weaselly Rove, who may finally get what's coming to him. But we should linger awhile on phase two, for the Rove/Plame story casts the issue of press privilege in a new and paradoxical light. It's in the DNA of every working journalist to insist, almost subconsciously, that reporters should never disclose their sources -- ever. Presumably this is one of those high principles and bright lines that is best kept clear and never...

Roving Target

We may soon know who outed Valerie Plame, and a lot of signs point to Karl Rove. If this turns out to be the case, it will be explosive to say the least. Whichever high administration officials turn out to be the culprits, it's appalling that the Bush White House first betrayed a loyal CIA career official in order to punish her husband, Joseph Wilson IV, for having told the truth and embarrassing the administration, and then conspired in a cover-up. The back story: Readers will recall that columnist Robert Novak published Plame's identity, citing two high administration officials as his sources. Plame's husband, Wilson, had undertaken a secret mission at the request of the CIA to investigate what proved to be a fake story about the government of Niger providing nuclear material to Saddam Hussein. The Niger story figured prominently in President Bush's justification for war and his disparagement of UN weapons inspectors, even though it had already been disproven by Wilson's mission...

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...

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