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

Donald Trump's Good Week

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House I s Donald Trump some kind of feral genius whose intuition takes him into policy realms where lesser leaders fear to tread? He takes willful pleasure in not reading briefing books or checking with experts, but in trusting his ample gut. Exhibits A and B, which dominated the news last week, were his ordering of tariffs on aluminum and steel, to the horror of every orthodox trade expert (and the joy of his base); and his even more abrupt decision to accept the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un for a face to face meeting. Might either of these impulsive decisions produce policy breakthroughs, proving the conventional view of both substance and process wrong? Take the case of Korea first. Ever since the Clinton administration, the North Koreans have tried to pull the United States into a process that would result in security guarantees for themselves and lifting of sanctions, in exchange for some...

Trump: The Bull in the China (Policy) Shop

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump speaks at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference T rump is right to attack the foreign subsidy of steel and aluminum exports that threaten to wipe out what’s left of domestic industry. And he’s right to resort to tariffs. But by levying tariffs against the entire world, Trump fails to target the prime offender: China. But Trump’s action has blown open the door to a conversation that America needs to have. The knee-jerk reaction to Trump’s orders shows how orthodox economists and the mainstream press refuse to grasp what’s at stake. Instead, we got the usual sermon about the folly of protectionism and the risks of a general trade war. If you want to appreciate true protectionism, take a good look at China’s entire economic system. Steelworkers’ union president Leo Gerard put it perfectly : “Some of these idiots that say we are going to start a trade war—well, we are in a trade war now, and we are just sitting back.” What’s the...

Putin’s Acts of War and America’s Muddled Response

AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, File
AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, File Voters fill out forms as they prepare to vote at a polling station in Brooklyn, New York, on Election Day 2016 W hen Vladimir Putin decided to use front organizations to leak confidential emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign and deploy bots and troll farms to rev up domestic hate groups and divide progressive ones, this was nothing less than an act of war. More than a year later, U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that more is coming in 2018 and 2020. But America’s response still leaves much to be desired. For starters, we are getting no leadership from the top. Actions that a normal American president would consider an extreme national security provocation, Donald Trump welcomes as politically convenient. The Kremlin’s hacking is aimed not just at undermining democracy; it’s aimed at undermining Democrats. Trump, no slouch at undermining both, has a foreign enabler. He still has not acknowledged the Kremlin’s role, much less warned Putin of...

Mueller Corners Trump

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite FBI Director Robert Mueller listens as he testifies on Capitol Hill S pecial Counsel Robert Mueller is methodically, brilliantly filling in pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When complete, the puzzle will depict a president who is ripe—overripe—for impeachment. Mueller’s indictment on Friday of Russia’s cyber-warfare against the 2016 election was a tactical and investigative masterstroke. President Donald Trump is now cornered. Mueller’s report makes a total liar out of Trump for his repeated claims that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when Putin says Russia had nothing to do with it, that the hacking could have been “some guy in New Jersey.” The indictments do not quite connect the Russian operation to Putin personally, no serious person believes that an operation as sensitive as deliberate disruption of a U.S. election could go forward without Putin’s full knowledge and support in a state as authoritarian as his. Trump, having repeatedly denied...

The Deficit Hawks Have It Wrong

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/via AP Images
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/via AP Images House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conduct a news conference Q uestion for today: What is the connection between the Republican tax cuts, the rising federal deficit, and the wildly gyrating stock market? The answer is trickier than it seems. Ever since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have relentlessly played the following cynical game. It has three basic moves. One: Cut taxes on the wealthy. Insist that the cuts will not increase the deficit because of the tonic, “supply-side” effect on economic growth. Two: When deficits increase, express shock; discover the menace of the national debt—and cut social spending. Three: Rinse and repeat. This fiscal spin cycle has been performed under Reagan, Bush I, Bush II (twice), and now Trump. The spending cuts typically occur under Democrats, who play the role of Fiscally Responsible Adults in this drama, thus putting Democrats at odds with their own ideology and constituency for...

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