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 Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. He writes columns for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times international edition. 

Recent Articles

Hurricane Donald: Changing Course and Highly Dangerous

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump tours the Texas Department of Public Safety Emergency Operations Center, Tuesday, August 29, 2017, in Austin, Texas. I n case you had any doubt, the two most recent superstorms, Harvey and Irma, whose damage will hit $300 billion , underscore the fact that the United States will need to spend many trillions of dollars protecting our shorelines and modernizing our infrastructure. Only the federal government can do this, as right-wingers like Texas Senator Ted Cruz found, when he changed direction on states’ rights and groveled for more aid for Houston. Donald Trump took office promising big bucks for infrastructure spending and make-it-in-America jobs. Such a program might have lifted his popularity above the mid-30s—and still could. The ever-impulsive Trump seems to be changing course again. Having cast his lot with the Republicans, Trump is furious that the House and Senate don’t just follow his decrees. A poor student of the American...

A Labor Day Cheer For Economic Nationalism

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Donald Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . T o read the mainstream press, you would think that using national policies to assure that American workers have decent jobs is the most flat-earth sort of protectionism. But consider this. The social contract of the booming postwar years was designed so that the U.S. and other nations could protect workers from exploitation, accept strong trade unions, create full-employment economies, contain the excesses of financial speculation and make sure that prosperity was broadly shared. Keeping predatory capitalism from playing one nation off against another required national rules. And the rules of that era worked well, both economically and politically. There was plenty of trade, but trade deals were not used to dismantle national regulation. Ordinary working people thrived. There was no appeal of neo-fascism. That protected...

Goodbye, Columbus?

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews The Christopher Columbus statue in Manhattan's Columbus Circle A ll together now: Will the far-left play into Steve Bannon’s hands? My conversation with Stephen Bannon persuaded me that, if nothing else, he is a deadly serious political strategist. The core of his strategy: rev up racist sentiment and bait Democrats and liberals into standing up for racial decency, but flaking off into identity politics that will keep the backlash going. And here is where it is urgent not to take Bannon’s bait. Which brings me to Christopher Columbus . The movement to take down statues commemorating Confederate leaders was already well along before the disgrace of Charlottesville, and good riddance to them. But as President Trump himself said in his infamous rant against the press, what about George Washington? What about Thomas Jefferson. They held slaves. And so they did. Last week in Baltimore, some far-lefties took a sledgehammer to a statue of Christopher Columbus. A...

Taking Bannon’s Economic Nationalism Seriously

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Steve Bannon at the White House on June 1, 2017 I t’s an out-of-body experience when the reporter becomes the story. That’s what happened to me last week when Stephen Bannon chose me to telephone—for a friend-seeking conversation that turned into his own self-immolation . In the course of interviewing Bannon, and subsequently appearing on several TV and radio discussions to assess what had happened, I found myself taking a much closer look at Bannon and his modus operandi. The indispensable guide to the back story is Josh Green’s terrific book Devil’s Bargain , which recounts how Bannon built Breitbart News into an organizing machine that would turn alienated fringe elements into an army of shock troops for Trump. The right and even some on the left have tried to debunk Green’s book as a love letter to Bannon. That’s malarkey. Green, a superb reporter, gave Bannon plenty of rope and Bannon explained just what unfolded at Breitbart and in the Trump campaign...

Steve Bannon, Unrepentant

Trump’s embattled strategist phones me, unbidden, to opine on China, Korea, and his enemies in the administration.

(Rex Features via AP Images)
(Rex Features via AP Images) Steve Bannon on the phone, December 9, 2016 What follows is the article that likely pushed Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist and architect of his white nationalist messaging, out the White House door. Robert Kuttner, the co-founder and co-editor of this magazine, never expected a phone call from Bannon; the Prospect, after all, is a proudly liberal and defiantly anti-Trump journal. Nonetheless, Bannon called him on Tuesday afternoon, and on Wednesday, we posted Kuttner’s piece—a careful report of what Bannon said and an insightful analysis of why he said it. You can read it below. Y ou might think from recent press accounts that Steve Bannon is on the ropes and therefore behaving prudently. In the aftermath of events in Charlottesville, he is widely blamed for his boss’s continuing indulgence of white supremacists. Allies of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hold Bannon responsible for a campaign by Breitbart News, which Bannon once...

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