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

Could the U.S. Pass the EU’s Democracy Test?

The EU’s basic treaty requires its members first and foremost to be democracies.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . You’ve probably read that the European Union, after years of trying to duck the plain reality of Poland and Hungary ceasing to be democracies, has taken the first step towards denying Poland a vote in the European Commission. The EU’s basic treaty requires its members first and foremost to be democracies. Here’s the backstory. Since Poland’s Law and Justice Party took power in 2015, the Polish ultra-nationalist leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has felt stymied by the independent judiciary. In July 2017, the government drafted legislation to give Kaczynski control of the courts. Other EU leaders warned of dire consequences, and Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda, a close ally of the government, surprised all by refusing the sign the law. Cynics said this was just a ploy to buy some time for a kinder, gentler version of the same scheme—and they were right . The government went back to...

The Tax Cut and the Fake Trump Boom

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
With the economy producing rising growth rates and falling unemployment, will Donald Trump and the Republican tax bill be able to take political credit for the boom of 2017-2018? Maybe not. For starters, the boom was already roaring along in 2015 and 2016, before Trump took office, as the post-recession recovery finally kicked in. The year 2015 showed the strongest GDP growth in more than a decade, and 2016 was not far behind. Unemployment was already down to 4.7 percent when Trump took office and its further drop to 4.1 is entirely the result of policies established before Trump, under one Barack Obama. Even with these low rates of joblessness, profound structural changes in the labor market fail to translate low unemployment into significant gains in earnings or career prospects. The rise of gig employment, the bashing of trade unions, the elimination of reliable career paths—all of this is intensifying. A slight uptick in median wages doesn’t change that. The job market...

Alabama: One More Assault on Voting Rights

Just in case we needed one more thumb on the scale of today’s Alabama Senate election, how about this:

The Alabama Supreme Court last night inserted itself to block a lower court ruling requiring election officials to preserve ballots, in case of challenges to voter suppression or even a just plain recount. In Alabama, about 85 percent of ballots are recorded digitally, and the lower ruling required the preservation of digital images.

Ironically, Roy Moore, the Republican candidate, served twice as chief justice, and was removed. The Supreme Court, in issuing a stay blocking the lower court ruling, gave no explanation, but sided with a brief filed by Secretary of State John Merrill. Which contended that state officials had no authority to direct local election officials to preserve ballots.

Such preservation, of course is standard procedure. The state Supreme Court adds one more bit of mischief to anticipated abuses of ID requirements and other forms of voter suppression. If Democrat Doug Jones does win, he will need to win by a theft-proof margin.

Al Franken: The Tragedy and the Travesty

The Democrats’ pressure for Al Franken's resignation may make some sense from a zero-tolerance perspective. But it's dumb politics, and a cowardly sacrifice of a good man. It would have been far better to let the ethics inquiry take its course. Once a few leading women Democratic senators decided to demand that Franken go, others felt they had to pile on, lest they be seen as less than fully committed to ending sexual harassment. If you’ve ever seen Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible , about the Salem witchcraft trials, you get how this group-think works. Here's why it's dumb politics. The Democratic strategists, according to my reporting concluded that the Dems’ "cleaning house" would put pressure on the Republicans to do likewise, and hurt Roy Moore in the Alabama election next Tuesday. That explains the sudden pressure for Franken to resign immediately, before the final weekend of campaigning. So this is more about tactics than about principle—and it...

Thank You, Larry Mishel

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
Let’s take a moment to salute our friend Larry Mishel, who is stepping down as president of the Economic Policy Institute, after having served as research director since EPI’s founding in 1986, then as vice president, and as president since co-founder Jeff Faux’s retirement in 2003. Larry, who has led EPI for nearly half of its life, has built it into a major national presence. He will be succeeded by Thea Lea, of whom more in a moment, and will continue as a senior staff economist. It is no exaggeration to say that EPI has been an indispensible institution in the firmament of progressive think tanks, and much of that success reflects Larry’s leadership. I take some personal pride in EPI’s role, having been one of its founders in 1986, along with Faux, former Labor Secretary Ray Marshall, future Labor Secretary Bob Reich, and economists Barry Bluestone and Lester Thurow. Our observation was that the absence of a robust, progressive, and scrupulously...