Kuttner on TAP

Labor’s Astonishing Missouri Win—and the Opening It Portends

Ohio’s razor-thin vote for an open House seat got most of the headlines, but the bigger story was the defeat of a right-to-work ballot proposition in supposedly right-wing Missouri. The bill to make Missouri America’s 28th state with a “right to work” law was passed by the legislature in 2017 and signed by then–Republican Governor Eric Greitens. But the labor movement qualified a ballot initiative overturning the measure, and it passed by a margin of 2 to 1, including [...]

By | 2018-08-08T13:23:54+00:00 August 8th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

How Right-Wing Ideology Connects to Trump’s Corruption

My dear friend E.J. Dionne has a smart column in Sunday’s Washington Post that is also wrong in one key respect. The column is titled “Forget Left and Right. This is What Will Determine the Midterms.” Dionne’s point, echoing and crediting Jonathan Chait, is that Trump’s flagrant corruption, rather than an ideological challenge, is what makes him and his party most vulnerable this year. Dionne and Chait are surely right about the corruption. Trump has become the personification of the swamp [...]

By | 2018-08-06T21:42:26+00:00 August 6th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

About that Capital Gains Scam

The Trump administration has come up with a shameless and probably illegal way to deliver hundreds of billions in further tax cuts to the richest Americans. Allow taxpayers to adjust capital gains for inflation, and thereby pay a far lower tax. They plan to do this by administrative fiat if they can’t get Congress to bite. The move was discussed by the Bush administration, and was rejected as probably illegal. Only Congress can revise the tax code. But with [...]

By | 2018-08-01T21:30:39+00:00 August 1st, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Time to Retire “Red States” and “Blue States”

Reporters and commentators use red states and blue states as if these were God-given characteristics. It’s bad journalism and it tends to reify what are only partial and often temporary characteristics. Polarization in America is bad enough without Orwellian language needlessly exaggerating it. Even states that are heavily Republican have plenty of Democratic voters, not to mention independents and swing voters. So there is no such thing as a “red” state. It’s better and more accurate (and conducive to better [...]

By | 2018-07-30T16:05:26+00:00 July 30th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump and Trade: Will the Voters See Through the Charade?

Trump, having started a trade war without having a clue of how to win it, now is trying to claim victory for token gains. He went to Illinois yesterday to speak at a reopened steel mill in Granite City, Illinois. But elsewhere in the Midwest, soybean farmers are furious at him for inviting retaliatory tariffs, depressing their exports and earnings. In a broad-stroke agreement Thursday with the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the two sides agreed to roll back recent tariffs—which [...]

By | 2018-07-27T18:35:55+00:00 July 27th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Is Kirsten Gillibrand Another Lincoln—or a Rank Opportunist?

I’ve been saving string for a piece on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s odd makeover as a progressive, but the Times beat me to it. Here’s the link. Gillibrand started out as a Wall Street Democrat and Chuck Schumer’s protégé. As the Times reports, in the 2012 election cycle, she ranked third among Republicans and Democrats alike in her donations from the banking and investment sector. Today her strategy seems to be to embrace anything Elizabeth Warren is for, and then [...]

By | 2018-07-25T16:52:39+00:00 July 25th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Feminists Against Nominating a Woman Democrat for President (#fanwdp)

OK, there is no such group, but there might as well be. You have undoubtedly been part of such a conversation, and it usually involves heartbroken Hillary supporters of a certain age: “As a feminist, I hate to say this, but we need to nominate a white male who can win. There is just too much misogyny in America to elect a woman.” Jesus wept! (Or maybe Mary wept.) Call me a mansplainer, but here goes: People, get real. [...]

By | 2018-07-23T14:50:41+00:00 July 23rd, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Why Do We Give a Damn About Those Thai Boys?

Along with everyone else I was fixated on that cave rescue. At stake were the lives of 12 kids and their coach. The world spared no expense to get them out. Then I started thinking about all the people whose lives are at stake, who don’t present that kind of high drama. Like the people still suffering from the failure to get basic services back up and running in Puerto Rico. Or the people who don’t get needed medical [...]

By | 2018-07-20T16:00:59+00:00 July 20th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Making Russia Great Again

One of my favorite quotes is from the British historian A.J.P. Taylor, who was referring to the aborted democratic revolutions of 1848: “History reached its turning point, and failed to turn.” Will the week of July 15, 2018, be remembered in the same way? By all rights, this should be the beginning of the end of Trump’s presidency. Republican defenders can swallow a lot, but flagrant treason is a bridge too far. Or is it? Polls now show that [...]

By | 2018-07-19T00:26:45+00:00 July 19th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

It Must Be Nice to Have Washington on Your Side

Vladimir Putin has to be heading home scratching his head. His meeting with Trump was choreographed to be cordial. But why on earth did Trump need to repeat, in even stronger terms, that he believes Putin’s denials over the extensive investigations of the entire U.S. intelligence establishment? “They said they think it’s Russia; I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia,” Mr. Trump declared at the joint press conference—right after Putin admitted that he had favored Mr. [...]

By | 2018-07-17T13:25:22+00:00 July 17th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments