Charles Blahous

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Charles Blahous, a Hoover research fellow, currently serves as one of the two public trustees for the Social Security and Medicare Programs. Specializing in domestic economic policy, his areas of expertise include retirement security, with an emphasis on Social Security and employer-provided defined benefit pensions, as well as federal fiscal policy, entitlements, demographic change, economic stimulus, financial market regulation, and health care reform.

From 2007 to 2009, Blahous served as deputy director of President Bush's National Economic Council. From 2001 to 2007, he served as a special assistant to the president for economic policy, first covering retirement security issues and later encompassing energy policy. In 2001, he served as the executive director of the bipartisan President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security.

From 2000 to 2001, Blahous led the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security, a private-sector coalition dedicated to the fiscally responsible reform of Social Security. From 1996 to 2000, he served as policy director for US senator Judd Gregg (R-NH). From 1989 to 1996, he served in the office of Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY), first as a Congressional Science Fellow sponsored by the American Physical Society and, from 1994 to 1996, as the senator's legislative director.

Blahous’s latest publications include Social Security: The Unfinished Work (Hoover Press, 2010) and Pension Wise: Confronting Employer Pension Underfunding—and Sparing Taxpayers the Next Bailout (Hoover Press, 2010). He is also the author of Reforming Social Security. He has published in a number of periodicals including National Affairs, Financial Times, Politico, National Review, Harvard Journal of Legislation, Baseball Research Journal, and the Journal of Chemical Physics. He was named to SmartMoney's "Power 30" list in 2005. His public appearances include various radio and television programs including "Ask the White House," and speeches on university and college campuses.

Blahous has a PhD in computational quantum chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and an AB from Princeton University, where he won the McKay Prize in Physical Chemistry.

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Recent Commentary

Law, Healthcare, and Finance
Featured Commentary

Repealing Obamacare Would Lower Federal Deficits

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has just released a report on the budgetary and economic effects of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Press reports reflect what CBO has reported pursuant to its scoring instructions – specifically, that relative to its scorekeeping baseline, repeal of the ACA would worsen the federal deficit but bolster the economy.

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Featured Commentary

The Social Security Trustees’ Projection Process: Imperfect But Indispensable (Part 2)

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, June 1, 2015

My last piece reviewed several recent criticisms of the Social Security trustees' projection history by Konstantin Kashin, Gary King and Samir Soneji. This piece reviews other criticisms by the same authors, this time focusing on process and presentation.

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Featured Commentary

The Social Security Trustees’ Respectable Projection Record (Part 1)

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Sunday, May 31, 2015

For the last four years I have had the honor of serving as one of Social Security's two public trustees (along with former CBO Director Robert D. Reischauer), co-authoring the annual trustees' reports. These reports are required under the Social Security Act and serve as the primary resource on Social Security's current and projected financial condition.

Social Security
Featured Commentary

Costs Of Merging Social Security Retirement And Disability Funds

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, April 27, 2015

The urgent financing crisis facing Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) is giving rise to suggestions that the DI Trust Fund be merged with Social Security’s larger Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund. These two components of Social Security have been kept separate thus far since their inceptions. The following factors should be borne in mind if any such policy change is considered.

Three Fixes for ObamaCare

by Charles Blahousvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2015

Target specific problems, enable the program to be fiscally sound, and create bipartisan support.

Featured Commentary

Gaming Out The Scenarios In King v. Burwell

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, April 13, 2015

Earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in King v. Burwell, a case critical to the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or so-called Obamacare).

Featured Commentary

CBO Says ACA Will Insure Fewer People Than Predicted

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, March 16, 2015

The Congressional Budget Office’s new report shows updated cost projections for the insurance coverage expansion in the Affordable Care Act.

Featured Commentary

A Solid Choice For CBO Director

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, March 2, 2015

With their selection of Keith Hall to direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the incoming chairs of the House and Senate Budget Committees, Dr. Tom Price and Senator Mike Enzi, have passed an unusually rigorous test. Their choice should be expected to not only well serve lawmakers, but also reflect well upon Congress, in the years ahead.

Featured Commentary

Mindless Yes, Austerity No: The Real Budget Problem

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Thursday, February 19, 2015

When his budget proposals were recently released, President Obama stated, “I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America.” That quotation neatly summarizes how the White House is framing the basic trade-off faced in federal budgeting: between “austerity” (i.e., severe cuts in spending and deficits) and “investments” (i.e., spending on things needed to support future prosperity)...

Featured Commentary

Warning: Disability Insurance Is Hitting the Wall

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Thursday, January 15, 2015

For years Social Security’s trustees (of which I am one) have warned that lawmakers must act to address the troubled finances of the program’s disability insurance (DI) trust fund.   Congress has nearly run out of time to do so.  Legislation will be required during this Congress or, at the very latest, in a rush at the beginning of the next one, to prevent large sudden benefit cuts.

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