Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, a professor at Brandeis University's Heller School, and 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

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...

Terrorism and Our Democracy

The first casualty of war is said to be truth, and a close second is civil liberty. As we necessarily become more alert to terrorist threats, we should be just as vigilant of our own liberties as Americans. If the defense against terrorism makes us a police state, terror will have won. America is now a different country. But even in a world where every American is a potential target, it's possible to have higher levels of security without sacrificing basic liberty. Europe takes airport security far more seriously than we do, but still maintains functioning democracies. Even Israel's state airline, El Al, keeps its planes flying safely, with meticulous inspections, armed guards, and anti-terror training. The risk now is that the Bush administration will sponsor needless assaults on our liberties, and still not make America invulnerable to attack. The new wave of brazen terror gives license to the most retrograde people in the national security establishment--people for whom civil...

No Blank Check On Economic Policy

On Monday when the stock exchange opened the Dow dropped by 5 percent. The economy was deteriorating even before the September 11 attack. The stock market was already reflecting this underlying deterioration. Three major financial industries will be directly hurt by last week's tragic events - financial services, airlines, and tourism. There is also an incalculable blow to confidence, and markets live or die on confidence. On the other hand, military expenditures and relief outlays are a form of economic stimulus. Right now, it's hard to know which effect will predominate. One fortuitous side effect: Last Tuesday, the bipartisan conceit that government should never run deficits was also blown away. That entire framing of fiscal debate went up in smoke. But a lot of important debate lies ahead. There is a tradition that partisanship stops at the water's edge in times of national crisis. Leaders of both parties are united on one thing. Global terrorism must end, and that may well take...

Comment: Care, Charity, and Profit

O ur cover story this issue is an investigation of ResCare, a national corporate chain that runs group homes for the disabled and the mentally retarded. As Eyal Press and Jennifer Washburn document in sometimes gruesome detail, deinstitutionalization has come full circle, from notorious state-run warehouses like Willowbrook, to community institutions run by nonprofits, and now, back to mini-warehouses run by corporations for the benefit of shareholders. An exposé of the scandal of group homes in one community, Washington, D.C., has just won The Washington Post the Pulitzer Prize. As writers Press and Washburn reveal, the scandal is national. There are two subtexts to this story, which we intend to continue pursuing. The first is the displacement of community institutions that serve a variety of health, education, and criminal justice needs, by for-profit corporations. These institutions are more than service agencies. They perform a civic...

Difficult Terrain on Three Fronts

As the two-month anniversary of the World Trade Center attack approaches, the Bush administration faces rougher going on three key fronts - domestic politics, economic and homeland security, and the war itself. Politics . Though the commander-in-chief's personal approval rating remains around 90 percent, Democrats are poised to pick up two governorships, in moderate New Jersey and Virginia, as well as the mayor of New York. These contests are being decided by local issues. In both governor's races, the Republican is in trouble for having run too far to the right. If the Democrats do make these gains, pragmatic Republican strategists will caution the president to distance himself from the party's right wing, which has pretty much called the tune on everything from tax policy to privatization to religious involvement in public services. This will fracture the GOP. Despite Bush's narrow win in the Electoral College, even before Sept. 11 public opinion was more sympathetic to the...

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