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 Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. He writes columns for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times international edition. 

Recent Articles

America’s Collapsing Trade Initiatives

AP Photo/Greg Baker, Pool
AP Photo/Greg Baker, Pool U.S. President Barack Obama, left, returns to his seat as Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds after drinking a toast at a lunch banquet in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Wednesday, November 12, 2014. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post . C hinese President Xi Jinping will be in Washington this week on an official state visit. President Obama had hoped to impress Xi with an all but sealed trade deal with major Pacific nations called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to demonstrate that America is still a force to be reckoned with in China's backyard. But Obama's trade policy is in tatters. The grand design, created by Obama's old friend and former Wall Street deal-maker, trade chief Mike Froman, comes in two parts: a grand bargain with Pacific nations aimed at building a U.S.-led trading bloc to contain the influence of China, and an Atlantic agreement to cement economic relations with the European Union. Both are on the verge...

Is Trump Inevitable?

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump reacts during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, California. I t is beginning to dawn on Republican Party operatives that Donald Trump may well be their nominee. Three reasons: First, no matter what he says he keeps gaining support. As a populist rather than a conservative, he articulates the raw anger that a lot of voters feel, and the details don’t matter. He has said things that would sink an ordinary candidate, but that’s not who he is or the basis for his appeal. Second, the fragmented Republican field plays to Trump’s advantage. Nobody else can get traction. And third, recent changes in the GOP party rules favor Trump. Under provisions mandated in 2014, states with primaries after March 15 may operate winner-take-all elections. That means Trump doesn’t have to win a majority; he just has to get...

The Larger Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn

(Photo: AP/Rex Features)
(Photo: AP/Rex Features) Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a rally for refugees in London on September 12. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post . T he victory of Jeremy Corbyn, an old-style unreconstructed lefty, to lead the supposedly modernized British Labour Party, is emblematic of trends afflicting all of Europe. Corbyn represents the same upsurge among the young and the dispossessed as Bernie Sanders does in the United States—a feeling that the more progressive of the two major parties is just not delivering, and a demand for new leadership that rejects failed centrism. Unfortunately for the Brits, Sanders is rather more presentable in his views than Corbyn. In the mainstream press, Corbyn has been ridiculed for saying admiring things about Hugo Chavez, wanting to pull Britain out of NATO, calling for broad-scale nationalizations of industry, and expressing pro-Palestinian views that, at times, seem to border on anti-Semitism. More on these questions...

Refugee Blues

(Photo: AP/Rex Features)
(Photo: AP/Rex Features) Hungarian police stop a train in Bicske, Hungary, that was carrying refugees from Budapest to the Austrian border, on September 4. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post . Once we had a country and we thought it fair, Look in the atlas and you'll find it there: We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now. The consul banged the table and said, "If you've got no passport you're officially dead": But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive. Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said; "If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread": He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me. Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin, Saw a door opened and a cat let in: But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews. — W.H. Auden, Refugee Blues, 1939 (extracts) A nd here we are, again. Only it’s not Jews, but Syrians. On May 13, 1939, the passenger liner the St. Louis set sail...

Are We Asking Too Much of the Federal Reserve—or Too Little?

How the Fed can jump-start much-needed public investment. 

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, from left, with Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, and the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System, presides over a meeting in Washington on July 20, 2015. This is an expanded version of a piece that first ran on Huffington Post . T here has been obsessive chatter about whether the Federal Reserve will, or should, raise interest rates this fall. At the Fed’s annual end-of-summer gabfest at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the issue was topic A. Advocates of a rate hike make the following claims: Very low rates were necessary when the economy was deep in recession. Now, with growth up and unemployment down, the near-zero rates are creating speculative bubbles . They are not really stimulating the economy much, as corporations put cash into stock buybacks and bankers park spare money at the Fed itself. So let’s get on with a more normal borrowing rate. Opponents of a rate hike counter that the economy is a lot weaker than...