John F. Cogan

Leonard and Shirley Ely Senior Fellow
Biography: 

John F. Cogan is the Leonard and Shirley Ely Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a faculty member in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University.

Cogan is an expert in domestic policy.  His current research is focused on U.S. budget and fiscal policy, federal entitlement programs, and health care.  He has published widely in professional journals in both economics and political science.  His latest book, The High Cost of Good Intentions: A History of U.S. Federal Entitlement Programs was published in September 2017.  The book traces the history of U.S. federal entitlement programs from the Revolutionary War to modern times.  His previous books include Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Five Steps to a Better Health Care System, coauthored with Glenn Hubbard and Daniel Kessler, and The Budget Puzzle, (with Timothy Muris and Allen Schick).

At Stanford, he has served on faculty advisory boards for the Stanford-in-Washington campus and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He is a recipient of the Stanford-in-Government's Distinguished Service Award.

Cogan has devoted a considerable part of his career to public service. He served as assistant secretary for policy in the U.S. Department of Labor from 1981 to 1983. From 1983 to 1985, he served as associate director in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and was appointed Deputy Director in 1988. His responsibilities included developing and reviewing all health, housing, education, and employment training programs and policies.

Cogan has served on numerous congressional, presidential, and California state advisory commissions. He served on the California State Commission on the 21st Century Economy and the California Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission.  He has served on President George W. Bush's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, the U.S. Bipartisan Commission on Health Care (the Pepper Commission), the Social Security Notch Commission, and the National Academy of Sciences' Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance.

Cogan serves on the board of directors of Gilead Sciences where he is the Lead Independent Director and on the board of trustees of the Charles Schwab Family of Funds where he is Chairman of the Governance Committee.

Cogan received his A.B. in 1969 and his Ph.D. in 1976 from the University of California at Los Angeles, both in economics.  He received his M.A. in Economics from California State University at Long Beach in 1970.  He was an associate economist at the RAND Corporation from 1975 to 1980. In 1979, Cogan was appointed a national fellow at the Hoover Institution; in 1980 he was appointed a senior research fellow; and in 1984 he became a senior fellow.

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Recent Commentary

Federal Reserve
Featured

The Fed Chief America Needs

by George P. Shultz, John F. Coganvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The president should pick someone who understands that the economy can grow more than 2% a year.

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The High Cost of Good Intentions: A History Of U.S. Federal Entitlement Programs

by John F. Coganvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Friday, September 22, 2017

Federal entitlement programs are strewn throughout the pages of U.S. history, springing from the noble purpose of assisting people who are destitute through no fault of their own. Yet as federal entitlement programs have grown, so too have their inefficiency and their cost. Neither tax revenues nor revenues generated by the national economy have been able to keep pace with their rising growth, bringing the national debt to a record peacetime level.

Featured

Entitlements And The Budget

by John F. Coganvia Policyed.org
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The United States faces a fiscal challenge unlike any in its history, driven entirely by spending on federal entitlement programs. The country is currently borrowing half a trillion dollars a year and is on pace to borrow a trillion dollars every year. Unless entitlement spending is restrained, every American will face higher taxes and lower standards of living.

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On The Prospects For Higher Economic Growth

by John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, John B. Taylor, Kevin Warshvia Analysis
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hoover and AEI economists release white paper on comprehensive economic policy reforms to achieve 3 percent growth.

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America the Fixer-Upper

by George P. Shultz, John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 21, 2016

If we got entitlement programs under control, we could pay for the infrastructure we desperately need. 

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Finding The Money For America The Fixer-Upper

by George P. Shultz, John F. Coganvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Roads and water systems need repair. Funding can be found by making needed government reforms.

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Rescuing ObamaCare

by Scott W. Atlas, John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The best cure? High-deductible plans and health savings accounts.

Featured

Two Essential Tools For Repairing The Obamacare Damage

by Scott W. Atlas, John F. Coganvia The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Health-care savings accounts and high-deductible plans empower consumers and will bring down costs.

A Policy too Far

by George P. Shultz, Scott W. Atlas, John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 21, 2014

Yes, we need to make affordable health insurance available. But to do so we need to scrap the “cover everything” mentality.

Healthcare warning
Analysis and Commentary

It's Time to Rethink Health Insurance

by George P. Shultz, Scott W. Atlas, John F. Coganvia Los Angeles Times
Monday, January 6, 2014

As the acute problems of the Affordable Care Act become increasingly apparent, it also has become clear that we need new ways of ensuring access to healthcare for all Americans. We should begin with an examination of health insurance.

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