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Robert Kuttner
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Entries by Robert Kuttner

Obama's Trade Deals: A Test for Hillary Clinton

(50) Comments | Posted April 26, 2015 | 10:05 PM

Opposition to the Administration's proposed major trade deals is getting firmer among Democrats in Congress. Both chambers must approve trade promotion authority, better known as fast-track, in order for the deals to move forward.

One Democrat who has avoided taking a position is Hillary Clinton. In the past, she has...

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Hillary Clinton: From Symbolism to Specifics

(67) Comments | Posted April 12, 2015 | 9:21 PM

We progressives should feel pretty good about ourselves after watching Hillary Clinton's launch video. The core economic theme was there -- most American's aren't getting ahead; the top is taking too much. And the social theme was stunning--a heavy emphasis on the racial and ethnic mosaic that is America, the...

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Our Corporate Saviors

(42) Comments | Posted April 5, 2015 | 9:16 PM

What are we to make of the fact that some big corporations are turning out to be the relative good guys, on issues as varied as same-sex marriage, the environment and even (to a limited extent) workers' wages? Last week, the governors of Indiana and Arkansas were forced to back...

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5 Radical Ideas Hillary Should Support

(141) Comments | Posted March 29, 2015 | 8:58 PM

I've argued that Hillary Clinton is at risk of being a weak presidential nominee -- on several counts. She seems like yesterday's news rather than tomorrow's. The excitement of a having a breakthrough woman president is blunted by the fact that her husband got there first. She will raise a...

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Why the 99 Percent Keeps Losing

(403) Comments | Posted March 22, 2015 | 10:08 PM

Our current political situation is unprecedented. The vast majority of Americans keep falling behind economically because of changes in society's ground rules, while the rich get even richer -- yet this situation doesn't translate into a winning politics.

If anything, the right keeps gaining and the wealthy keep pulling...

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The Dance of Liberals and Radicals

(88) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 8:16 AM

March 15 was the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson's best speech, his "We Shall Overcome" address applying the final round of pressure on Congress to enact the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Much of the speech invoked the bravery, dignity and historical rightness of Martin Luther King Jr., and...

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Will the Fed Kill the Recovery Again?

(57) Comments | Posted March 8, 2015 | 10:01 PM

The Labor Department reported that the economy added 295,000 payroll jobs in February, the 12th straight month of job creation of better than 200,000 a month. And the Dow Jones Industrial Average promptly dropped by nearly 300 points.

What gives? Do capitalists hate workers?

Well, perhaps; but the immediate explanation...

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Is Hillary a Sure Thing in 2016?

(255) Comments | Posted March 1, 2015 | 8:21 PM

You hear two competing stories about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in 2016. According to the first, she has a lock on the nomination and the election.

Hillary is sure to win the nomination, because there are no other plausible candidates, especially if Elizabeth Warren doesn't get in. And...

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National Security and the 2016 Election

(28) Comments | Posted February 22, 2015 | 7:23 PM

You may recall a campus slogan from another era, "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Western civ. has got to go." That was at Stanford University in 1987, part of a wave of demands to limit traditional courses featuring dead while males, in favor of cultural pluralism. Sure enough, many colleges a...

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Can Greece Force a New Deal?

(61) Comments | Posted February 15, 2015 | 9:40 PM

Greece and the European Union could face a showdown in their debt talks as early as this week. And if you had to place odds right now, the likelihood is that the stubbornness of Europe's senior leaders will create a catastrophe for both Greece and the EU.

Here is the...

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Will the Recovery Finally Translate into Better Wages?

(85) Comments | Posted February 8, 2015 | 9:55 PM

The good news about the economy's improved job creation dominated the weekend's headlines. Many commentators concluded that the economy is finally shaking off the effects of the financial collapse of 2008 and the long period of stagnation that followed.

The creation of 257,000 new jobs in January...

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America Should Send More People to Prison

(100) Comments | Posted February 1, 2015 | 9:54 PM

You know the statistic. We incarcerate a higher proportion of the population than any other country does. Russia and South Africa rank respectively second and third.

Hundreds of thousands of young, now aging, men, are doing hard time for possession of small amounts of drugs. More and more people...

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A Break in the Greek Tragedy

(68) Comments | Posted January 25, 2015 | 9:45 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 | 9:24 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 | 9:36 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?

(18) Comments | Posted January 4, 2015 | 9:44 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 | 10:06 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 | 8:57 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

(31) Comments | Posted December 7, 2014 | 9:16 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 | 6:15 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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