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,, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

Trump’s Trade Fight with Canada Highlights Two Approaches to Capitalism

This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post . Subscribe here . President Donald Trump ’s savaging of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has gotten a good deal of attention for its sheer weirdness—why scapegoat one of America’s most loyal allies and benign trading partners? But it’s worth looking below the surface at the actual trade relationship and the differences between the two countries. For now, Trump may have done Trudeau a favor. After the U.S. president’s trade tantrum and imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum, polls showed that 72 percent of Canadians supported Trudeau’s handling of the dust-up. But polls also showed Trudeau’s Liberal party slightly behind the rival Conservatives, with both losing ground to the more left-wing New Democrats. Trade friction between the two nations is nothing new, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did not put an end to them. One long-standing complaint involves the...

The Emblem of This Era

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik President Donald Trump is silhouetted in a car on his arrival at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam. This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . This is the first time in nearly 30 years of publication that The American Prospect has devoted an entire issue of the magazine to a single topic. We are doing so because the 2017 Tax Act so perfectly displays so much of what is rotten and false about this period of Republican rule, and sets up an epic debate about what the two parties stand for. Tax cuts are invariably political winners, or so the Republicans thought. But this one is so grotesque that it is already backfiring. Whether it truly blows up on the right, and becomes a major political liability this fall, depends in large part on how skilled Democrats and commentators are at narrating all that is wrong with it. The law makes clear that the deep corruption in this era emanates not just from Trump...

Trump Blunders Forward with Incoherent Trade Policy

Trump’s policy mess needs to be located in a broader debate about what America’s trade policy should look like.

This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . What on earth is President Donald Trump up to with his trade policy? So far, he has managed to grab the symbolism of trade serving the interest of elites but not regular people. Slapping on tariffs, almost indiscriminately, does accomplish that. Tariffs are popular with frustrated working people who see jobs migrating overseas. But he has totally bungled the substance of repositioning America in the world, rebalancing the calculus of whose interests are served by trade and rebuilding an American economy of broadly shared prosperity. This is classic Trump, of course. This botched execution is one part short attention span, disdain for details and thin skin, and one part a preference for cheap political symbolism over substance. This includes a schizophrenic policy on China, bailing out ZTE one week and starting a general tariff war the next; a bizarre demonization of close allies whose collaboration we need if...

The Lasting Damage Of Trump’s Disastrous Diplomacy

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
It’s hardly a surprise that Donald Trump blew up the Group of Seven summit. In his warped view of the world, America’s closest allies are enemies, and nations that represent dangerous threats are friends. Thus Russia is to be welcomed back, while Canada, about as benign a neighbor as exists, is a menace for taking advantage of the United States on trade. (Fact check: The U.S. government’s own data suggest the United States ran a small trade surplus with Canada in 2017.) The European Union, whose subsidy and open-market policies are on a par with our own, is seen as a bigger threat than mercantilist China. And North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-Un gets warmer words than the leaders of Europe. Has the world gone mad? No, only Donald Trump. Trump’s bullshit in a china shop can best be understood on three levels. First, sheer ignorance. Second, thin-skinned petulance and pique. After barely papering over differences at the actual summit, Trump destroyed whatever...

The Normalization of Corruption

The emblem of this era is the mingling of personal corruption on the part of America’s leaders with the political corruption of American capitalism and the rise of autocracy. And of course the three trends feed on each other. Take the case of the latest assertions by Trump’s lawyers in their memo to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The claim is naked in its candor: Trump is simply above the law. Anything that he does as president is legal, simply because he does it. This is Trump’s attitude generally, and it is the essence of tyranny. Autocracy and personal corruption go hand in hand. If there are no democratic checks, the autocrat can be as corrupt as he likes. Trump’s signature in the run-up to the 2016 election, and in office, has been trading favors with Vladimir Putin—not favors that reset our diplomatic relationship with Russia and cooled tensions, but personal favors that benefited Trump financially. As an autocrat, he believes that he can avoid...