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Entries by Robert Kuttner from 12/2012

Better Late Than Never

| Posted 12.02.2012 | Politics

In his budget proposal, the president offered no cuts in Social Security, and only $400 billion over 10 years in Medicare and other savings, money that can be gotten by allowing Medicare to negotiate bulk discounts with drug companies and other administrative savings, without raising the eligibility age or otherwise cutting into benefits. The Republicans, meanwhile are revealed as the people who would push the economy off a cliff in order to fight for tax breaks for the richest 2 percent; the party that would rather cut benefits in Medicare and Social Security than have the wealthy pay even the relatively low tax rates of the Clinton years. It was Winston Churchill who said that you can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they've tried everything else. Obama, belatedly, is doing the right thing.

Money Can't Buy Them Love

| Posted 12.09.2012 | Politics

It is literally possible to have more money than you know what to do with. Take the case of the private-equity billionaire Peter G. Peterson, who has bankrolled much of the austerity crusade. Peterson has now spent over half a billion dollars out of his personal fortune to persuade Americans that austerity is the necessary road to recovery. But the debate seems to be getting away from him. Peterson was heavily involved in the corporate-led group, "Fix the Debt." That effort has increasingly backfired. In Peterson's world, CEO spokesmen are a source of great credibility. But out in America, it doesn't looks so good when the millionaire CEOs who cut jobs and pay low rates of taxes lecture others to tighten their belts.

The Courts: How Obama Dropped the Ball

| Posted 12.13.2012 | Politics

President Obama has displayed new toughness in the budget battle, but his pace of appointing federal judges, much less fighting for Senate confirmation of liberal ones, has been dismal. Why hasn't his new resolve translated into a struggle to rebalance the federal courts, which are still dominated by movement conservatives appointed by Bush and Reagan?

Magnificent Trespasser

| Posted 12.14.2012 | Politics

Albert Hirschman, an economist who became one of the greatest of the 20th century's moral philosophers, died Tuesday at age 97.

Guns, Gestures and Steel

| Posted 12.17.2012 | Politics

The society now can go in one of two directions. Either we will just accept periodic shooting sprees as one of those unfortunate things that must be lived with -- like, say, the periodic flooding and death that results from global climate change? If we go that route, even our sweetest, safest elementary schools will be turned into fortresses. The remnants of our open society will be turned into a surveillance society. We will solve our unemployment problem by hiring millions more armed guards. Alternatively, we can finally get serious about gun control. But the leadership has to come from the president. Barack Obama has a gift for moving public sentiment. If ever there were a moment to use it, on behalf on murdered first graders and others who might be spared, that moment is now.

Des armes, des gestes et du courage

| Posted 12.17.2012 | France

TUERIE DE NEWTOWN - La société américaine peut désormais aller dans l'une ou l'autre direction. Ou bien nous acceptons des folies meurtrières régulières comme des évènements malheureux qu'il faut bien traverser - comme, par exemple, les inondations et les morts qui en découlent avec le changement climatique mondial. Sinon, nous pourrions enfin nous attaquer sérieusement au contrôle des armes à feu. Mais c'est au Président de prendre la tête de ce mouvement.

Des armes, des gestes et du courage

| Posted 12.17.2012 | Canada Quebec

TUERIE DE NEWTOWN - La société américaine peut désormais aller dans l'une ou l'autre direction. Ou bien nous acceptons des folies meurtrières régulières comme des évènements malheureux qu'il faut bien traverser - comme, par exemple, les inondations et les morts qui en découlent avec le changement climatique mondial. Sinon, nous pourrions enfin nous attaquer sérieusement au contrôle des armes à feu. Mais c'est au Président de prendre la tête de ce mouvement.

Des armes, des gestes et du courage

| Posted 12.18.2012 | Canada Quebec

La société américaine peut désormais aller dans l'une ou l'autre direction. Ou bien nous acceptons des folies meurtrières régulières comme des évènements malheureux qu'il faut bien traverser - comme, par exemple, les inondations et les morts qui en découlent avec le changement climatique mondial. Sinon, nous pourrions enfin nous attaquer sérieusement au contrôle des armes à feu. Mais c'est au Président de prendre la tête de ce mouvement.

The Zombie Party

| Posted 12.23.2012 | Politics

Obama, mercifully, has given up the quest for a grand bargain that he never should have pursued in the first place. His current position -- let's just preserve the tax cuts on the bottom 98 percent and fight about the rest of the budget another day -- is exactly what it should have been all along.

New Year, New Low for Republicans

| Posted 12.30.2012 | Politics

Obama wanted to be the president who would change the tone in Washington, meaning a more collaborative relationship with the Republicans. That was not to be. The Republicans would not allow it.