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

Greedy Geezers, Reconsidered

(Seymour Chwast)

For three decades, conservative critics have been warning that the elderly are living too well at the expense of the young. Since the early 1980s, financier Peter G. Peterson has been predicting that Social Security’s excessive generosity would crash the retirement system and the economy. The late British journalist Henry Fairlie, in 1988, famously wrote a piece in The New Republic with the cover line “Greedy Geezers,” faulting the elderly for living too well at the expense of the young. 

Fix Gene Sperling


The corporate-led group, Fix the Debt, is having its latest conference next Tuesday, December 4. Fix the Debt wants massive cuts in Social Security and Medicare, of the sort that the Obama administration has pledged to resist.

The usual suspects will be there—Michael Peterson who runs the Peter G. Peterson Foundation,  Maya MacGuineas who heads the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation, and several corporate CEOs.

But look at who is providing cover for this rightwing crusade.

Obama economic chief Gene Sperling is giving a major speech. Does one hand at the White House know what the other is doing?

A New, Tougher Obama?

(AP Photo)

In response to pushback from Congress and progressive activists following a report in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal that Obama had offered to be “flexible” on tax-rate hikes for the very richest, the White House formally unveiled a tough bargaining stance: $1.6 billion in tax increases over a decade, all on the top two brackets, and no tax hikes for the bottom 98 percent.

Snatching Defeat out of the Jaws of Victory

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Barack Obama, to his great credit, has drawn a bright line. Taxes have to revert to the rates that were in effect before the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent.

This is crucial because the less the very rich pay, the more others have to pay either in the form of less tax relief for the bottom 98 percent or on program cuts like Social Security and Medicare.

Or has he drawn that line?

Simpler Is Better

(Flickr / James Milstid)

On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal ran one of its trademark editorials making fun of government red tape—the massive regulations required to implement the Affordable Care Act; the 398 different rulemakings necessary to carry out the Dodd-Frank Act, and a great deal more. 

I seldom agree with the Journal’s editorial page, but it makes an unintentional point: Government regulations have become so complex that they can’t do their job. Or at best, the sheer complexity makes the government sitting ducks for the mischief of industry lobbyists looking to further complicate the rules with loopholes.