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Robert Kuttner

Entries by Robert Kuttner

A Break in the Greek Tragedy

(63) Comments | Posted January 25, 2015 | 10:45 PM

Europe should count itself lucky that a leftwing anti-austerity party won the Greek elections, swept into office by citizens who've had enough. Elsewhere in Europe, seven years of stupid, punitive, and self-defeating austerity policies have led to gains by the far right.

If a radical left party is now in...

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The Politics of Gesture

(32) Comments | Posted January 18, 2015 | 10:24 PM

Looking forward to Tuesday's State of the Union address, we are seeing a somewhat bolder Barack Obama. The White House has already pre-announced or leaked several "fourth-quarter initiatives," in the president's words. Some of these can be accomplished by executive order; most will require legislation.

The measures that can...

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Make No Little Plans

(20) Comments | Posted January 11, 2015 | 10:36 PM

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized." -- Daniel Burnham

I recently got an email invitation from a Democratic congressional office to come to a "watch party" to view President Obama's State of the Union address. His "fourth-quarter...

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Austerity Killing You? How About a Trade Deal?

(17) Comments | Posted January 4, 2015 | 10:44 PM

Europe is right on the edge of another downward lurch into prolonged deflation. GDP growth is hovering right around zero. Germany, as an export powerhouse, continues to thrive, but at the expense of the rest of the continent -- victims of German-imposed budget austerity demands. The euro, which keeps sinking...

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Schumer's Delicate Dance with Wall Street

(33) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 11:06 PM

Last week, I wrote a piece in this space lamenting the fact that so many Democrats had voted for a budget package that gutted a key provision of the Dodd-Frank Act.

The so called swaps push-out provision, now repealed, required banks to separate their speculative business in...

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The Budget Deal and the Run-Up to 2016

(79) Comments | Posted December 14, 2014 | 9:57 PM

In principle, Saturday's vote to keep the government open should be the perfect curtain-raiser for the political debates between now and the 2016 election. As their price for averting a government shutdown, Republicans demanded and got a gutting of one of the most important provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, preventing...

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Still an American Dilemma

(34) Comments | Posted December 7, 2014 | 10:16 PM

What happens to a dream deferred?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?

That was the poet Langston Hughes, in 1951. In that year, more than half a century ago, the most basic dreams of African Americans were deferred. Segregation was mandatory in the...

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The Cheap Oil Curse

(153) Comments | Posted November 30, 2014 | 7:15 PM

Remember "Peak Oil?" The world was running out of oil, prices would soon skyrocket, and we had better find other fuels.

Well, that argument didn't work out so well for environmentalists, did it? As oil reserves and those of other carbon fuels became scarce and prices rose,...

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Wall Street Leading Washington Yet Again: What Was Obama Thinking?

(45) Comments | Posted November 23, 2014 | 8:12 PM

If you want to understand what makes Elizabeth Warren so special in American politics, consider her nervy leadership of the campaign to block President Obama's foolish nomination of one Antonio Weiss to be the top Treasury official in charge of the domestic financial system, including enforcement of the Dodd-Frank Act.

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Notes for Next Time: From Turnoff to Turnout

(47) Comments | Posted November 16, 2014 | 7:57 PM

The voting turnout in this year's congressional and gubernatorial elections was the lowest since 1942. Much of the story was in young people, poor people, black and Hispanic citizens who tend to support Democrats voting in far lower numbers than in 2008 or 2012. The Democrats just weren't offering them...

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The Cure for the Democrats' Woes -- Goldman Sachs!

(83) Comments | Posted November 9, 2014 | 7:39 PM

After the Democrats' drubbing in the 2014 midterm elections, there have been fervent debates about whether the Party should embrace an economic populism to tap pocketbook frustrations -- or move further to the center in the hopes of capturing more independents.

One thing the Democrats did throughout Obama's nearly six...

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The Dems and the Avoidable Election Rout

(164) Comments | Posted November 2, 2014 | 8:43 PM

Barring a miracle, Tuesday is likely to be an unhappy Election Day for the Democrats. They will need to win virtually every close race to hold the Senate, and that seems unlikely. They are on track to suffer losses in the House as well.

Could it have been different? I...

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Would Warren Really Run?

(86) Comments | Posted October 26, 2014 | 9:46 PM

What is Elizabeth Warren up to?

Elizabeth Warren's offhand remark in an interview with People magazine strongly suggested that the Massachusetts senator has revised her previous firm declarations of non-candidacy for president and is now deliberately leaving the door open a crack. Asked whether she was considering a run in...

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A Revolt Against Austerity?

(54) Comments | Posted October 19, 2014 | 10:56 PM

There was a bit of good news from Europe last week. Two of the nations that desperately need some respite from austerity essentially told German Chancellor Merkel to stuff it.

France, under pressure from Germany and the European Union to meet the E.U.'s straightjacket requirement of deficits...

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More Trade Agreements Won't Fix Austerity

(91) Comments | Posted October 12, 2014 | 11:04 PM

The U.S. economy is growing slowly and Europe's hardly at all. The stock market lurch last week is a belated acknowledgement that our two economies share a common affliction, and Europe suffers more seriously. The affliction is austerity.

And yet the main remedy being promoted by the U.S. government and...

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Bridging the Chasm

(53) Comments | Posted September 28, 2014 | 10:53 PM

For half a century beginning with Franklin Roosevelt, there was a direct connection between the problems that afflicted American society and the remedies on offer from our democratic system.

High unemployment? The New Deal, the World War II mobilization, and the postwar boom took care of that.

Stagnant wages? With...

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The United Kingdom Nearly Died for Maggie's Sins

(61) Comments | Posted September 21, 2014 | 10:28 PM

Why on earth did the Scots, largely quiescent as part of Great Britain for three centuries, suddenly become the mouse that roared?

It wasn't because they became besotted watching re-runs of Braveheart or Rob Roy, or even because they coveted more of a share of North Sea oil revenues. No,...

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Two Cheers for Obama

(71) Comments | Posted September 14, 2014 | 9:23 PM

It took President Obama a long time and multiple stumbles to back into a foreign policy role that looks something like leadership.

If Russian President Putin is agreeing to a cease-fire in Ukraine that just might hold, the U.S.-led combination of pressure and restraint deserves much of the credit. Putin...

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Free Scotland, Free New England!

(66) Comments | Posted September 7, 2014 | 9:37 PM

Until recently, few people took seriously the possibility that Scotland might actually secede from the United Kingdom. However, with a referendum scheduled for September 18, the latest polls show secession in the lead for the first time, and gaining dramatic momentum.

The British government is frantically scrambling...

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Labor Day: The Beginning of a Breakthrough

(17) Comments | Posted August 31, 2014 | 10:16 PM

This Labor Day, working families do not have much to celebrate when it comes to wages and job security. But we can celebrate the fact that the deteriorating conditions of work are finally breaking through into broad political consciousness.

Item. Last week, the board of directors of Market Basket, one...

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