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 Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and The New York Review of Books. 

Follow Bob at his site, robertkuttner.com, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

Planned Parenthood Made the Right Decision

On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood ousted its new president, Dr. Leana Wen, who had served in the job less than a year. Wen, a 36-year-old Shanghai-born physician and former health commissioner in Baltimore, was the first doctor to head the organization in half a century. Wen had defended abortion rights, but had endeavored to shift Planned Parenthood’s focus from reproductive rights to a broader conception of women’s health. She had also alienated staff and board alike with a high-handed management style. The ouster came a day after the Trump administration’s latest effort to cut off federal funding for clinics that provide abortions or even provide abortion counseling. Behind the question of Wen’s personal style is a huge strategic question about the role and future of Planned Parenthood at a time when the right has succeeded in restricting abortion access and created the mistaken impression that the public is increasingly divided on the abortion question. (...

At Last, Legislation to Stop Private Equity Abuses

Alex Edelman/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
The private equity industry represents the great, hidden-in-plain view predator of American capitalism. As the Prospect has detailed in numerous articles examining markets like newspapers , grocery stores , and retail , these firms are secret entities whose basic business strategy is to borrow money to buy healthy companies and then loot the assets. They accomplish this feat first by putting the acquisition debt on the balance sheet of the target company. Next they pay themselves exorbitant dividends and management fees, further stressing the companies they purchase. This forces target companies to slash costs by cutting wages, benefits, laying off workers, and selling off real estate. And when the company goes broke, they abuse the bankruptcy process. Whether the company fails or manages to survive, the private equity managers have often made back their money many times over. Sometimes, as in the case of the great abuser of iconic Sears Roebuck , Eddie Lampert, the private equity...

Pelosi, AOC, Trump, Bannon—and the Stakes

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
For the moment, Trump’s racist tweets have produced the one thing that Democrats couldn’t muster in their destructive infighting last week—party unity. But will it last? And was Trump crazy to make himself and his racist comments the issue and divert the spotlight from the increasingly personal feud between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and AOC’s Squad of four? Or was he crazy like a fox? That verdict, I think, will ultimately be up to the Democrats. For now, there is unity and a merciful break from the infighting, as well as a president on the defensive with all but his hardest core base. The House will vote tonight on resolution of condemnation , putting Republican members in a splendidly awkward position. Pelosi termed Trump’s remarks xenophobic and disgusting. Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, declared, “We’ll stay focused on our agenda and we won’t get caught slipping, because all of this is a distraction.” Yet the bitterness between the AOC...

Legal, Safe, Rare—and Bad Advice

The Times just published another piece urging Democrats to temper their support for reproductive rights. This piece, “Democrats Shouldn’t Be So Certain About Abortion,” by one Michael Wear, a political consultant on religious issues, is a classic of cherry-picked poll numbers and disingenuous reasoning. Read it with care. In fact, as Pew’s polling shows , support for keeping abortion legal has actually increased slightly in recent years. As I explained in a post last month in response to another misleading Times piece, Americans are ambivalent about having abortions but a healthy majority supports a woman’s right to choose whether to have one. The longtime phrase—legal, safe, and rare—still describes how most voters feel about abortion and the right set of public policies. As I wrote in that post: Americans have been personally ambivalent about whether and why to have an abortion ever since Roe v. Wade . Nobody is eager to have an abortion. At...

Barr Throws Trump Under the Bus

You might have missed it, but the most important moment at Trump’s Thursday joint press conference with Attorney General William Barr was the one where Barr committed Trump to obeying the Supreme Court. By making an explicit commitment to obey the courts and the rule of law, Barr has boxed in his president. Trump, at various points, has suggested that he might defy or circumvent the courts. But Barr this time left no wiggle room. In discussing how the administration was dropping its efforts to add a citizenship question, because there was no time to pursue appeals and still comply with the Constitutional census deadline and high court ruling, Barr said this (read it slowly and carefully): Some in the media have been suggesting in the hysterical mode of the day that the administration has been planning to add the citizenship question to the Census by exec fiat without regard to contrary court orders or what the Supreme Court might say. This has been based on rank speculation. As...

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