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

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...

Owning Up

Is the housing market experiencing a dangerous price bubble, one destined to pop, like the late stock-market collapse? Housing prices have been rising faster than incomes since 2000, and the ratio of housing costs to incomes is now the highest since the Depression. To compensate, homebuyers are borrowing more than ever, before homeownership gets away from them altogether. On average, homeowners have less equity and more debt than in 2000. And more buyers are taking bigger risks, using adjustable rate and interest-only mortgages, which leaves them little wiggle room as interest rates rise or housing values decline. Nationally, housing prices have gone up 15 percent in the past year, the biggest jump since the hyper-inflationary year 1980. In some sub-markets, such as parts of coastal Florida, they've risen as much as 40 percent. The rising percentage of investor-speculators buying homes -- over 20 percent according to the National Association of Realtors -- is also inflating the bubble...

Raw Deal

The Washington press loves the myth that polarization is what ails American politics and that bipartisan moderation will save the day. The high drama of the "nuclear option" averted by brave moderates fits the script perfectly. Republican Senate leader Bill Frist, wanting court nominees to sail through Senate confirmation on a simple majority vote, threatened to scrap the filibuster by rigging the Senate rules. Just hours before this nuclear option was to be exercised, 14 moderates of both parties, after marathon negotiations, fashioned a compromise in which three controversial nominees get an immediate floor vote, and the filibuster is preserved, sort of. Initial press accounts offered hosannas to moderation. Several reports painted Frist as isolated and humiliated, and right-wing groups furious. The only problem is that this happy spin is almost totally wrong. Consider what actually happened. By threatening what amounted to a parliamentary coup d'etat, Frist got nearly everything he...

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