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,, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

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.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik President Donald Trump, center, and First Lady Melania Trump, second from left, accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping, third from right, tour the Forbidden City in Beijing. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . W hat 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...

The Lasting Damage Of Trump’s Disastrous Diplomacy

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) From left, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Donald Trump, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on June 8, 2018, in Charlevoix, Canada I t’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...

The Normalization of Corruption

AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump walks to his vehicle after speaking in Houston. T he 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 Is Right About NAFTA, But That Doesn’t Make Him Pro-Worker

Nathan Lambrecht/The Monitor via AP Crates of U.S. manufactured parts are prepared for shipment into Mexico at Freight Dispatch Service Agency LTD in Pharr, Texas. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . A s a deadline for NAFTA negotiations set by House Speaker Paul Ryan came and went on May 17, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin now says that the negotiations are still alive and might even extend into next year. Of course, President Donald Trump has undercut his senior aides before, and there is no telling what he might impulsively do if the mood strikes him. Previously, Trump had insisted that he would withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement if negotiations were not concluded and approved by this session of Congress. By delaying NAFTA talks until after the November election, however, the GOP could avoid an awkward situation in which most of the NAFTA revisions demanded by Trump’s negotiators are supported by labor and the...

Trump’s Gratuitous Damage to Global Harmony

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Donald Trump speaks at the North Side Gymnasium in Elkhart, Indiana T hat Nobel is likely to continue eluding President Trump. Consider his latest trade war with Europe. Are you concerned that Trump will win the Nobel Prize for making peace with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un? You needn’t worry. Kim and Trump may stage the illusion of progress towards a de-nuclearized Korea. But the details of that goal will take long and arduous diplomacy. One risk is that Kim is setting a trap for Trump in which both leaders can claim success, but as negotiations drag on North Korea keeps working on its arsenal and its nuclear delivery vehicles. Trump, showman and cynic, may go along so that he can claim a diplomatic breakthrough. The opposite risk is that Trump will realize that he is being played, and will one-up Kim by walking out of the talks, thus adding to regional tensions. The one thing that will not happen is the immediate conclusion of a final and verifiable...