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 The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, and the New York Review of Books. 

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

Recent Articles

'We Shall Overcome'

New Orleans -- “This is our first gig," said Bruce Springsteen. ''I hope it goes OK." With that, The Boss and his 18-piece Seeger Sessions Band opened their set with a rocking rendition of ''Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep." As an act of solidarity with this doubly ravaged city, Springsteen began his homage to Pete Seeger tour here, at ground zero of everything ruinous about the people who now run our country. The 37th annual Jazz and Heritage Festival was playing to a smaller, whiter crowd than usual in half-abandoned New Orleans. It would be hard to imagine a more poignant or uplifting marriage of musician, impulse, venue, and moment. Lately, musicians as diverse as Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Paul Simon, and Ani di Franco have followed the same impulse. This is surely the time and the place. Commentators solemnly billed Hurricane Katrina as the flood that laid bare awkward truths of class and race in America. It did -- for a vivid week, and then we turned away. By a fine accident of...

Gas Ache

America needs an Apollo-scale program to shift to renewable energy and more efficient vehicles. Politicians of both parties, particularly Republicans, are scrambling to deal with the voter pain of $3-a-gallon gasoline. President Bush wants a $100 tax rebate to help consumers pay for more costly fuel and more tax credits for people who buy (mostly Japanese-made) hybrid cars. He has revived the recurring Republican idea of drilling in Alaska's wilderness. He proposes to suspend federal purchases for the national petroleum reserve. ''Every little bit helps," Bush said, rather pitifully. Next, he'll be wearing Jimmy Carter's sweaters. Democrats' ideas include the proposal by Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey to suspend temporarily the (industrial world's lowest) federal gas tax of 18.4 cents a gallon to be offset by an excess-profits tax on oil companies, a federal investigation of price gouging, and demands that Bush ''jawbone" his chums at the oil companies and in Saudi Arabia and...

Indispensable, Untouchable China

Question: How do you apply leverage against an emerging geopolitical giant that also happens to be among your biggest creditors? Answer: not very well. When President Bush took office, prodded by neoconservative advisers, he viewed China as a potential rival and menace. Today, bogged down in Iraq and hobbled by American financial dependence on Beijing, Bush must look to the Chinese like a modern, self-inflicted Gulliver. Washington has several issues, as the children say, with the Chinese. For starters, Beijing should play by the usual financial rules and not keep their currency artificially cheap to stimulate exports, which worsens our $200 billion bilateral trade imbalance. We want the Chinese to respect American intellectual property, religious liberty, and human rights. We'd like Beijing to play a more helpful role in the nuclear containment of North Korea and Iran, and, please, not to menace Taiwan. Administration officials have wishfully urged the Chinese not to try to corner...

If You Fund It, It Will Work

Governor Mitt Romney has taken credit for the new Massachusetts approach to universal health coverage, even as he tries to gut its boldest feature, making free-riding businesses with no health coverage pay a modest fee. If Romney is replaced this November by a Democrat, will his successor do better? How to make the system work should be a major issue in the gubernatorial campaign. Many key details have been left to regulations to be written by the next governor. A new institution, the Connector, was created to streamline insurance markets and make insurance more affordable to small employers. But this concept remains to be tested. A key question is whether the roughly $1.3 billion cobbled together from Medicaid, the free care pool, and new state revenues will be sufficient to meet promises. The new law is supposed to provide good insurance to everyone in poverty, and offer the same coverage to everyone with incomes up to three times the poverty level if they pay a modest premium to...

Going Postal

The first time you hear about Oregon's approach to voting, the idea sounds almost un-American. In 1998, the state that gave us assisted suicide decided to run all of its elections by mail: no voting booths, no frantic Election Day get-out-the-vote efforts, no dueling poll-watchers -- and no trooping off to the local firehouse to mingle with neighbors, take one last look at leaflets, and cast your ballot. Why would anyone want to move to such a system? Doesn't it kill one of the few remaining civic rituals that bind us together as a people? Doesn't it spoil the idea of a defined campaign period that ends with everyone casting a ballot on a single day? The full story is told in this special report. But the more deeply you explore the Oregon system, the better it looks. It costs less than half the traditional polling-place system, and has turnout 10.5 percentage points above the U.S. average. At least two weeks before Election Day, every registered Oregon voter gets a ballot courtesy of...

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