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

Asleep at the Wheel

The Republicans just did it again. They pushed through Congress a bankruptcy ''reform" bill written by credit card companies. The bill makes it harder for ordinary people crushed by debt (often medical debt) to start anew. It leaves intact dodges used by wealthy people, such as asset-hiding trusts, and the corporate ability to use bankruptcy to slash wages, evade pension responsibilities, and stiff creditors. There's a larger story here. Time after time, Bush administration policies do real economic harm to ordinary people, yet the Democrats can't seem to turn that reality into winning politics. Why not? Other recent examples include: Stealth Tax Increases. While the Bush administration has bestowed immense tax cuts on the richest 1 percent, the upper-middle class is getting socked by the alternative minimum tax. This provision was enacted to make sure that wealthy people did not avoid taxation entirely by piling up multiple deductions. But thanks to inflation, the tax now denies such...

What's Bush Got to Do with It?

Freedom seems to be breaking out all over. To hear supporters of George W. Bush, it's all due to the President's courageous decision to risk his presidency on the Iraq War. Here's the storyline: Just as Bush's neo-conservative advisers planned, ousting Saddam transformed not just Iraq but the balance of power in the Middle East. It gave ordinary Arabs and Muslims a sense of democratic possibility (how dare we smugly presume that Arabs can't do democracy?) Once Saddam went down, the other dominoes started falling. "Across the Middle East, a critical mass of events is taking that region in a hopeful new direction," declared the President in his March 8th speech to the National Defense University. One conservative pundit after another has insisted that the "Arab Spring," as Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe dubbed it, proves that Bush and the neocons were right. Fouad Ahami declaimed in US News and World Report , "Today the Arab world is beset by a mighty storm." "To praise Wolfowitz is...

Grading Larry Summers

Larry, Here are some comments on your seminar presentation dealing with the underrepresentation of women in math and the sciences. Your grade, I regret, is a C-plus. As you know, this is a low grade at Harvard. I do hope that when you develop this into your term paper and as you mature as a scholar, you will take these comments to heart: Pages 1 and 5 of the transcript : You offer three possible explanations for the underrepresentation of women scientists: Women have a harder time succeeding in ''high-powered jobs" because of the demands of intense work schedules and their own preferences. Second, women have lesser innate aptitudes. Third, women suffer the effects of discrimination and prior role expectations. What's missing is an empirical discussion of the immense gains women have in fact made in the past three decades as barriers have fallen and expectations changed. Women PhDs went from 0.6 percent to 17.3 percent in engineering, 2.9 to 15.5 percent in physics, 2.3 to 22.8 percent...

Axis of Allies

"America supports a strong Europe, George W. Bush told an appreciative audience at his first major European speech in Brussels Monday, "because we need a strong partner in the hard work of advancing freedom in the world." This seemed a good beginning for some overdue fence-mending. But many of Bush's own core supporters disagree, and there is strenuous infighting over the shape of the Administration's Europe policy. Gerard Baker, writing in the current Weekly Standard , criticizes the administration's olive branch and warns that Europe is seeking to become a counterweight to the U.S. in world affairs. The real European goal, writes Baker, is to undermine NATO, America's greatest source of trans-Atlantic influence, and to initiate policies of its own that are less bellicose than Washington's. A prime example is the joint German-British-French initiative on Iraq, which would offer economic incentives in exchange for Iran's agreement to dismantle nuclear weapons capabilities. American...

The Liberal Uses of Power

It is a shame there will never be a debate about foreign policy between the George W. Bush who ran for president in 2000 and the one who now occupies the office. As a candidate five years ago, Bush said that the United States should act as a “humble nation” toward the rest of the world and avoid any involvement of our armed forces in nation building. He could have had a lively argument with the current president over the use of the military for nation building in Iraq, and he might have raised an eyebrow over the president's declaration, at his second inauguration, that it is American policy to “seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” The original Bush appealed to an insular Americanism with a constricted conception of the national interest; the new Bush appeals to a missionary vision of America's role. As much as the first understated America's obligations, the second risks...

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