The Squandering of America, exploring the political roots of America's narrowing prosperity and the systemic risks facing the U.S. economy, is Bob's seventh book. The book was recently honored with the Sidney Hillman Journalism Award. Bob has just begun work on a new book on trade, equality, efficiency, and the challenge of regulating global capitalism.
Bob's best-known earlier book is Everything for Sale: The Virtues and Limits of Markets (1997). The book received a page one review in the New York Times Book Review. Of it, the late economist Robert Heilbroner wrote, "I have never seen the market system better described, more intelligently appreciated, or more trenchantly criticized than in Everything for Sale."
Bob's other previous books on economics and politics include; The End of Laissez-Faire (1991); The Life of the Party (1987); The Economic Illusion (1984); and Revolt of the Haves (1980).
Bob's magazine writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Book Review, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Dissent, Columbia Journalism Review, and Harvard Business Review. He has contributed major articles to The New England Journal of Medicine as a national policy correspondent.
For four decades, Bob's intellectual and political project has been to revive the politics and economics of harnessing capitalism to serve a broad public interest. He has pursued this ideal as a writer, editor, teacher, lecturer, commentator and public official.
Bob was born in New York City. He was educated at Oberlin College, graduating with highest honors, at the London School of Economics, and the University of California at Berkeley. He took a leave from his doctoral program at Berkeley after receiving his M.A. with distinction, to pursue a career in journalism and public service.
He began in 1966, as a one-person staff to the legendary independent journalist I.F. Stone. From there he worked on Capitol Hill as legislative assistant to William Fitts Ryan, the first leader of New York's Reform Democratic movement to win election to Congress, and the first to break with Lyndon Johnson on the Vietnam War. Subsequently, Bob served as Washington bureau chief for Pacifica Radio and as Washington columnist and editor for the Village Voice, and he also wrote for the liberal Catholic weekly, Commonweal and for the journalism Review, More.
In the early 1970s, he did a stint in public television at San Francisco's KQED-TV, as an on-air reporter-producer, and then returned to D.C. and print journalism as a national staff writer on the Washington Post during the Watergate era, covering campaign finance, the IRS, regulatory politics and the Justice Department.
When Senator William Proxmire became chairman of the Senate Banking Committee in 1975, he recruited Bob to be the committee's chief investigator. There, Bob ran investigations on foreign bribery by U.S. corporations, leading to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; on mortgage redlining, leading to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975 and the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. Bob was also instrumental in the legislation creating the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation. Based on his work on community reinvestment, Bob was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as executive director of the National Commission on Neighborhoods.
In 1979, Bob moved to Boston to accept a Kennedy Fellowship at Harvard's Institute of Politics to write a book on the great taxpayer revolt, California's Proposition 13. He became editor of the progressive bi-monthly magazine, Working Papers for a New Society and continued free-lancing for other national magazines, including The Atlantic and The New Republic. In 1983, Bob became economics editor of The New Republic. Bob's affiliation with The New Republic lasted a decade, during which he wrote over 100 feature pieces. In 1985, Bob also became a regular columnist for both the Boston Globe and for Business Week. His Globe column was syndicated nationally by the Washington Post. During the '80s, he wrote two books, The Economic Illusion, challenging the premise that equality is harmful to economic efficiency; and The Life of the Party, on the self-defeating tendency of the Democrats to move away from their progressive roots.
Bob became increasingly concerned that rightwing think-tanks and journals were out-performing their liberal counterparts, while the best known nominally liberal organizations were sounding more like conservatives-lending credence to the idea that every sensible liberal intellectual was moving to the right. Bob helped organize and found the Economic Policy Institute in 1985, to serve as a professionally meticulous counterweight to the economics think tanks of both the right and the center. He continues to serve on its board.
And beginning in 1988, after the Democrats lost their third straight presidential election, Bob and a group of friends and colleagues began organizing a new, unapologetically liberal political magazine. The American Prospect commenced publication in February 1990, initially as a quarterly, with offices in Princeton and Paul Starr as the principal operating executive, Bob and Paul as co-editors, and Robert Reich as chairman.
In 1992, Paul and Bob switched roles, and the magazine's offices moved to Cambridge. Bob became both the magazine's co-editor and president, a post he held until 2006, when Diane Straus Tucker became president and publisher, leaving Bob more time to return to writing and editing.
During his tenure, the Prospect grew from a small quarterly with a paid staff of three and a circulation of 2,700 to a major national liberal institution, now published monthly to a regular readership in excess of 50,000, and widely quoted in larger media. Bob pioneered the Prospect's writing fellows program, which has graduated some of the best known young progressive writers on public affairs.
Having stepped down from management responsibilities at the Prospect, Bob has redoubled his output of books, articles, and public speaking, as a senior fellow at Demos. He continues to spend about half of his time as co-editor of the Prospect, working on the magazine's series of special reports and writing and editing feature pieces.
Along the way, Bob has kept his connection to academia, doing two tours as a visiting professor at Brandeis, one at the University of Massachusetts, teaching four study groups at Harvard's Institute of Politics, lecturing at other major universities, and editing many of the academic notables who write for the Prospect.
His book, Everything for Sale, won the 1997 Sidney Hillman Award, and was selected as a New York Times notable book. Bob has also been the recipient of the Paul Hoffman Award of the United Nations Development Program, in recognition of his life's work on markets and social justice. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Radcliffe Public Policy Fellow, a German Marshall Fund Fellow, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Berkeley and a John F. Kennedy Fellow at Harvard. His syndicated column was recipient of the John Hancock award for business and financial writing, and the Jack London award for writing on labor. In 1999, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Swarthmore.
Bob was married to Sharland Trotter, a clinical psychologist and author, for 26 years. In 1997, Sharland lost a three year battle with cancer. After her death, Bob completed the book that the two had been working on together, Family Reunion, on relationships between grown children and their parents. They have two children, Gabriel and Jessica.
In 2000, Bob married Joan Fitzgerald, who directs the doctoral program on Law, Policy, and Society at Northeastern University. Joan's current work is on green economic development and its potential for job creation and urban revival. They live in Boston.
Bob's son, Gabriel Kuttner, is an actor living near Boston. Gabe spent a decade in London, first as the only American selected in his graduating class to train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, then as an actor in several stage productions. Bob's daughter, Jess Kuttner, a clinical social worker, follows in her mother's footsteps, working as a psychotherapist at a residential school for troubled teens in western Massachusetts. His stepdaughter, Shelly Fitzgerald, is a geographer who works on mapping and surveying, and lives with her family outside New York City.
Bob is the grandfather of Owen, who will be four in January, and of James Dylan, born in September 2007. For diversion, Bob is an avid tennis player, cook, photographer, poet, and grandfather.