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

Only Connect

The New York Times Book (sic) Review for March 6, 1994 ran a feature piece reviewing a CD-ROM. "Microsoft Art Gallery," an interactive digitized catalog of Britain's National Gallery collection, won a rave. Just point and click, and you can pull up paintings by artist, period, or genre; you can also get spoken critical commentaries and painter biographies; you can zoom in or print out, all for $79.95. The Times' s treatment of a CD-ROM as a virtual book has to be a kind of cultural watershed. The information revolution, decades after predictions of its imminence, has finally reached a popular critical mass. Or, perhaps, a critical elite? Tens of millions of people now use electronic mail, computer bulletin boards, libraries and databases, or "telecommute" from home. Tens of millions more, many in such relatively humble jobs as checkout clerk and bank teller, routinely use computers at work. And after decades of rather pedestrian use of Macs and PCs in the classroom as adjuncts of rote...

Storylines: Get Me Rewrite

A very long time ago, when I was the manager of a listener-supported radio station, we were planning our annual on-air fundraising drive. "The only thing we have to sell," one staffer said earnestly, "is our integrity." A wise guy replied, "What do you think we can get for it?" Thanks to the poisonous blend of talk shows, lecture fees, and an absence of conflict-of-interest standards, too many of today's celebrity journalists seem to have taken this ironic advice literally. Last Christmas week I made my debut on CNN's Crossfire , debating the budget. My conservative opposite number was Grover Norquist of the Americans for Tax Reform. I am generally dubious about food-fight TV, but I thought this a worthwhile debate. I also, I am ashamed to admit, thought it good publicity for The American Prospect (1-800-872-0162, only 25 dollars a year). The producer was eager to fly me to Washington to be live in the studio. I decided that was more trouble than it was worth, so I bargained hard: If...

Revenue Sharing, Anyone?

House and Senate leaders are now deadlocked between a Republican House stimulus bill that is a shameless tax giveaway to large corporations and a Senate Democratic spending bill that is well intended but too paltry. The country is facing a serious recession as well as increased national security needs. The safety net is frayed. Joblessness is rising, but unemployment insurance now covers fewer workers with stingier benefits. Welfare is no longer an entitlement, and many mothers who have played by the new rules and taken jobs are being laid off with no prospect of public assistance. Since health insurance is tied to employment for most Americans, loss of job means loss of health coverage. State budgets face alarming shortfalls, which could exceed $100 billion. Forty-nine of the 50 states are not allowed to run annual deficits (the exception is Vermont). So when recession strikes, states must lay off workers and cut program benefits just when more people depend on them. The alternative...

Comment: Brighter Prospects

A decade ago, in year nine of the Reagan-Bush era, Paul Starr, Robert Reich and I founded a new liberal journal. The Prospect began as a quarterly, with 2,700 subscribers. Longtime readers may notice a few changes in this, our forty-seventh issue, the first to be published biweekly. 1989 was not a liberal moment. The right had the political and intellectual energy. The collapse of communism was too easily taken as a vindication of laissez faire. Ronald Reagan's budget deficit had created a politics of permanent fiscal crisis. Around us, a cottage industry of one time liberals, prosperously reborn as neo-conservatives, was warning that government had overreached, that rights had run riot, that taxes and regulations were strangling economic growth, and inclusion becoming political correctness. These were essentially conservative arguments. The only "neo" part, as Peter Steinfels dryly observed, was who was making them. Indeed, when the first issue of the Prospect came off the press,...

Comment: Incremental Reform Toward What?

How to cure the American health care system depends on what you think ails it. The center and the right identify three basic maladies. First, there is a cost crisis. This view reflects the concerns of "payers"--employers who face rising premiums, federal budget balancers projecting Medicare deficits, and insurance companies whose profits are squeezed by new drugs, more complex technologies, and patients who live longer. Second, there is a coverage crisis. Some 44 million Americans are uninsured, a million more than last year. In addition, prescription drugs are not adequately covered by many plans, including Medicare. Join the conversation! Discuss this article in Political Prospects , part of The American Prospect's Online Forums . Third, managed care has become too heavy-handed. Both the center and the right would add new patients' rights legislation and rely on greater...

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