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

What Piketty Leaves Out

Despite some losses to financial capital during the Great Depression, the more powerful era of equality in the U.S. began during World War II.

We have many reasons to be grateful to Thomas Piketty. His justly celebrated book makes it impossible to deny that the concentration of income and wealth are again approaching Gilded Age levels, far beyond what is required for incentive and efficiency. For the past 15 years, Piketty and his colleagues have put together the most comprehensive data set on inequality ever assembled.

Karl Polanyi Explains It All

Tim Bower
I n November 1933, less than a year after Hitler assumed power in Berlin, a 47-year-old socialist writer on Vienna’s leading economics weekly was advised by his publisher that it was too risky to keep him on the staff. It would be best both for the Österreichische Volkswirt and his own safety if Karl Polanyi left the magazine. Thus began a circuitous odyssey via London, Oxford, and Bennington, Vermont, that led to the publication in 1944 of what many consider the 20th century’s most prophetic work of political economy, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time . Polanyi, with no academic base, was already a blend of journalist and public intellectual, a major critic of the Austrian School of free-market economics and its cultish leaders, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Polanyi and Hayek would cross swords for four decades—Hayek becoming more influential as an icon of the free-market right but history increasingly vindicating Polanyi. Reluctantly,...

The Inequality Puzzle

A new study shows there's been no decline in intergenerational poverty in the last 30 years, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

Flickr/DonkeyHotey
Flickr/DonkeyHotey I n January, a team of prestigious economists published an authoritative study showing that there had been no decline in intergenerational mobility during the past three decades. The paper, by Harvard’s Raj Chetty and three colleagues, using some 40 million Internal Revenue Service records, found that if you were born in the bottom fifth of the income distribution in 1980–1982, you had about the same chance of moving to the top quintile (about 1 in 12) as someone born at the bottom 30 years earlier. This result was surprising. In recent years, the ability of the affluent to pass along class advantage has intensified in countless ways. Young people from wealthy families are more likely to get into elite colleges and less likely to finish college hobbled with debt. Parents can subsidize unpaid internships useful for networking. The children of the affluent can get help with starter homes, in districts with excellent public schools. And when (grand) children come, they...

Kuttner, Galston, and the Debate Over the Social Safety Net

Robert Kuttner and William Galston round out our forum on the future of entitlement programs.

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Social Insurance: The Real Crisis

Why an inefficient welfare state is an insufficient one

div#sidebar-first { margin-top:1610px; } div.introduction { position:absolute; width:285px; left:675px; margin-top:1150px !important; padding:15px; border:1px solid #cccccc; height:300px; overflow-y:scroll; } div.introduction p { font-size:12px !important; line-height:18px !important; font-family: 'droid sans'; } div#table-of-contents { display:block; margin-top:0px; } #table-of-contents { position:absolute; width:285px; left:675px; padding:15px; border:1px solid #cccccc; } #table-of-contents h4 { font-size:28px; text-align:center; font-family:'Oswald', sans-serif;; } #table-of-contents p { font-family: 'Oswald', sans-serif; } Table of Contents Introduction: The Future of the Social Safety Net Triumph and Tribulation Henry Aaron When Public Opinions Collide Andrew Levison Social Insurance: The Real Crisis Robert Kuttner Thoughts on a Center-Left Entitlements Strategy William Galston Fiscal Policy, the Long-Term Budget, and Inequality Dean Baker "Entitlements" Are Just a Budget...

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