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

The Twinkie Defense

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

You remember the Twinkie Defense? It was a term of ridicule coined by reporters covering the 1979 San Francisco murder trial of county supervisor Dan White. The right-wing White had assassinated both fellow supervisor Harvey Milk, a heroic figure in San Francisco’s gay community, and Mayor George Moscone. Lawyers for White claimed that he overdosed on Twinkies, and was acting under the delusional influence of a sugar high.

Now, there is a new Twinkie Defense, and it is equally shameless and delusional. The Twinkie Defense is: the unions made us do it.

Fiscal Cliff: The End Game

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama continued to display a new toughness about the debt negotiation at his first post-election press conference yesterday. He confirmed publicly what he has been telling progressive leaders privately. He will not give on the principle that taxes—rates as well as loophole closings—must be raised on people earning over $250,000 a year.

“We should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy,” he declared. Obama has also told progressive leaders that he is looking for $600 billion more in other tax increases on the well-to-do, in order to reduce the pressure for spending cuts.

Oil: The Bad News in the Good News

(Flickr/Mayhem Chaos)

On Monday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) came out with a stunner of a projection. The United States will replace Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of oil by 2020, thanks to the unlocking of massive shale oil reserves. The U.S., with hydro-fracking technology, is riding a boom in natural gas as well.

Oil production will increase from its current level of about 6 million barrels a day per year to 11 million barrels by 2020. Within a few years, the U.S. will be a net exporter.

Pardon me if I don’t rejoice.

The Dangers of Our Budget-Deficit Minuet

(Flickr/Austen Hufford)

 

The day after Barack Obama was re-elected, the Dow Jones lost 312.96 points. It wasn’t just that investors were hoping for the lower taxes and further deregulation that would have come with a Romney win. The news from Europe was bad, and pundits were obsessively focused on the “fiscal cliff” of mandatory budget cuts that will drive the economy into a new recession unless Congress jumps off its own budgetary cliff first.

For once, the markets are right. But the news from Europe entirely contradicts conventional assumptions about the fiscal cliff.

Warren: Onto the National Stage

(Flickr/Tim Pierce)

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Elizabeth Warren instantly becomes the national leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party (Disclosure: Warren's daughter serves on The American Prospect's governing board).

She has plenty of company among newly elected Senate Democrats. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, and Chris Murphy in Connecticut are well to the left of the people they succeeded. Conservatives who pulled the Democrats to the right on budget issues—Kent Conrad in North Dakota and Joe Lieberman in Connecticut—are mercifully in retirement.

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