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 The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy. In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and The New York Review of Books. 

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Recent Articles

Trump’s One Good Appointee

Will Robert Lighthizer restrain Donald Trump’s impulse to take a headline-grabbing and self-defeating China deal?

This is a preview of the Spring 2019 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Ever since China was admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2001, the trade imbalance between the United States and China has become more and more lopsided. In 2001, the deficit stood at $83 billion. In 2017, it reached $375 billion. Rather than moving toward a more open economy, as enthusiasts of WTO membership predicted, China has intensified its policies of state-led capitalism and protectionism. Combined with its outright technology theft, these policies have enabled China to achieve domination in industry after industry, with grave economic and geopolitical consequences for the U.S. Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, aims to change that. He is dead serious about using America’s economic and political leverage to reset the U.S.-China relationship. An anomaly among Trump’s appointees, Lighthizer is deeply knowledgeable about his subject, strategically clear...

Something There Is that Doesn’t Love a Wall

It will now get even more interesting to be Chief Justice John Roberts, as the Supreme Court will soon consider challenges to Trump’s abuse of presidential emergency powers. At least 16 state attorneys general have filed suit contending that Trump’s action to build his wall is unconstitutional. One can anticipate expedited review and a Supreme Court decision this term. And the Chief Justice is likely to be the deciding vote. On a few occasions, Roberts has decided to clip Trump’s wings, mainly out of concern for the reputation of the Supreme Court as an institution, and partly to position himself as the court’s new center (and a rightwing center at that.) One key case involved Roberts’s abrupt turnabout in NFIB v. Sebelius , where the court’s five conservatives were expected to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Instead, Roberts came up with contorted reasoning that the ACA was not legal under Constitution’s Commerce Clause, but was permissible...

The Winner? AIPAC!

Let’s begin by stipulating that Representative Ilhan Omar stepped way over the line when she suggested in a tweet that support for Israel was all about “the Benjamins,” meaning Ben Franklin’s face on a hundred dollar bill; and that she compounded the damage when asked by a reporter for the Jewish publication The Forward what she meant—and Omar tweeted, AIPAC! AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, otherwise known as the Israel lobby. What followed was a predictable, justifiable, and near-universal firestorm of criticism of Omar for playing into anti-Semitic stereotypes, and a demand for a groveling apology, which was duly forthcoming. Obviously, the entire subject of Jews, political money, and Israel is radioactive. To criticize the status quo, especially for a Muslim freshman member of the House, requires nuance and clarity, neither of which are hallmarks of Twitter. That said, there was a lot of disingenuous posturing in this affair,...

The Welcome Arrival of Radicalism

T he American Prospect has been writing about rising economic insecurity for as long as we’ve been publishing—since 1990. I first addressed the issue well before that, in a piece for the Atlantic titled “ The Declining Middle ,” published in 1983. As economists have now thoroughly documented, the average performance of the economy and the earnings of ordinary people began drastically diverging in the 1970s, as shown in an iconic chart first created by the Economic Policy Institute. Basically, earnings have been flat or declining for most of the bottom 90 percent, while total economic output has tripled. The divergence widened with the election of Ronald Reagan and the deliberate dismantling of a social compact that had provided equitable allocation of the gains. Fair allocation had been accomplished during the postwar era mainly not by redistribution, but by “pre-distribution.” Thanks to strong unions backed by government policy, as well as wage and...

We Need Howard Schultz to Run for President Like Starbucks Needs Cockroaches

The Democratic Party is finally willing to work for working people again. Schultz could really screw that up. 

It was inevitable that some socially liberal, economically center-right billionaire would run for president. So Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, has nominated himself. This is sheer poison. His story, that voters are hungering for a moderate who can solve problems, is malarkey. Here’s what Schultz told The New York Times : We have a broken political system with both parties basically in business to preserve their own ideology without a recognition and responsibility to represent the interests of the American people,” Mr. Schultz said in the interview. “Republicans and Democrats alike—who no longer see themselves as part of the far extreme of the far right and the far left—are looking for a home. No, Howard, we don’t have a “broken political system.” We do have a broken economic system. Politically, we have wall-to-wall Republican obstruction. And after three Democratic administrations that were far too Wall Street-afflicted, we...