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, robertkuttner.com, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

Trump’s Trade Policy: Bluster and Cave

Trump has just walked back his threatened new tariffs on China again, this time supposedly to spare customers for Christmas toys and electronic products made in China. Retailers will be ordering these products over the next few months. The 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese products were set to take effect September 1. That has now been moved back to December 15. The Dow promptly soared by several hundred points. Merry Christmas, Beijing. The action came after a round of consultations between Trump’s top trade officials, chief negotiator Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and their Chinese counterparts. Once again, the negotiators will have some more time—to spin their wheels yet again. These discussions are plainly going nowhere—and time is on the side of the Chinese. Trump’s vaunted toughness with China is mainly bluster, and he looks weaker every time he reverses his latest impulsive move. It’s a pity that so many...

The Coming Wave of Primary Challenges to Corporate House Democrats

Representative Richard Neal, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is the poster child for everything that’s wrong about corporate Democrats. His newly announced primary challenger in Massachusetts’s First Congressional District, Alex Morse, epitomizes the grassroots dynamism that is making over the party. Beyond this primary contest is a much larger story involving the unsavory role of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the creative disruption of a growing wave of challengers to other corporate Democratic incumbents. Neal, 70, raises large sums of business money and reciprocates by delivering corporate-friendly policies. He was literally elected to Congress before Morse was born. Morse, 30, is in his eighth year serving as mayor of Holyoke, population about 40,000, a onetime thriving mill town. Holyoke was one of the Northeast’s most depressed cities when Morse was elected mayor in 2011, at age 22. The city’s unemployment...

The Power of the Public Option: A Q&A With Ganesh Sitaraman and Anne Alstott

Ganesh Sitaraman and Anne Alstott have co-authored an important new book, The Public Option: How to Expand Freedom, Increase Opportunity, and Promote Equality , making a powerful case for more public provision in several realms of economic and social policy. They discussed the book in email conversation with Prospect Co-Editor Robert Kuttner. R obert Kuttner: Your book is very astute at explaining that there are areas where both public and private options can and should be available, such as the post office versus FedEx and UPS, or both public schools and private ones, or public systems of health insurance versus private or supplemental ones. What about the problem of political feedback loops, in which the private players recognize the risk that the public system will prove more cost-effective and attractive, and use their political power to game the rules to make the public option less competitive. You mention this dynamic in the case of the post office, where private competitors...

The Inevitability of Impeachment

More than half of the House Democratic Caucus has now come out for impeachment—118 of 235. Mueller’s testimony, though lackluster in performance, was devastating in detail. As I wrote at the time, the pundits who thought that it had killed impeachment had it backwards. Several members of the House leadership have newly called for impeachment. These include Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel of New York and Nita Lowey of Appropriations, both of whom will face progressive primary challengers (thank you, Justice Democrats), as well as Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark. These numbers will keep building, and they include members in swing districts that Trump carried. Speaker Nancy Pelosi will soon be compelled to support a full impeachment inquiry, as urged by Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler. This is right on schedule. In Watergate, only 19 percent of Americans supported impeaching Richard Nixon in June 1973, well after most of the facts had been established. Even in February 1974...

Harris’s Fake Medicare-for-All Plan

In the extensive jousting over Medicare for All, Kamala Harris has evaded scrutiny for the most insidious aspect of her plan: It significantly expands for-profit insurance at the expense of true Medicare by promoting more use of commercial products spuriously known as “Medicare Advantage” and calling that a version of Medicare for All. One of the successes of Republicans and the insurance industry in recent decades has been to take private, for-profit insurance plans whose business model is based on denying needed care—and brand them as “Medicare.” This tactic, ironically, proves the popularity of universal public programs; Medicare is held in such high regard that private companies feel the need to steal its brand. As the saying goes, hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. Two examples are the “Medicare” drug benefit, which is purely private, and so-called Medicare Advantage plans, which Harris would dramatically expand. Unlike...

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