Charles Blahous

Visiting Fellow

Charles Blahous is a Hoover visiting fellow 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 2010 to 2015, Blahous served as one of the two public trustees for the Social Security and Medicare Programs. From 2007 to 2009, he served as deputy director of President Bush's National Economic Council. From 2001 to 2007, Blahous 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

In the News

Social Security 2100 Act

quoting Charles Blahousvia Imperial Valley News
Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Washington, DC - Social Security and its solvency have long been a top concern for AMAC – Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] and its nearly 2 million members. Long thought of as a political “third rail,” it is encouraging to see politicians in Washington attempting to address Social Security’s financial viability. Representative John Larson (D–Conn) has put forth “Social Security 2100 Act,” a comprehensive bill designed to strengthen the benefit for years.

Analysis and Commentary

Dem Debates Reveal Fundamental Divide: Should Gov’t Nurture Economy Or Displace It Altogether?

by Charles Blahousvia CNS News
Friday, August 2, 2019

One exchange from the first debate in Detroit this week between Democratic Party presidential candidates has already received substantial airplay. Its deeper significance warrants further exploration. 

In the News

Ramesh Ponnuru: A Democrat's Brave But Dumb Idea To Save Social Security

mentioning Charles Blahousvia Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Give John Larson some credit. The Democratic representative from Connecticut has gone further than anyone in decades to make Social Security solvent. The program's actuaries estimate that legislation he's introduced, the Social Security 2100 Act, would extend solvency into the next century. 

Analysis and Commentary

Ramifications Of Social Security 2100 Act For Program Participants Would Be Substantial

by Charles Blahousvia CNS News
Monday, July 22, 2019

Advocates of Social Security expansion have declared their intention to move the “Social Security 2100 Act” through the House of Representatives before August recess. The bill, introduced by Rep. John Larson (D., Conn.), has more than 200 co-sponsors.

Analysis and Commentary

Gerrymandering Reform Shouldn’t Be About Politics

by Charles Blahousvia North State Journal
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering two cases pertaining to gerrymandering, anits rulings are eagerly awaited by those concerned about the practice. Many commentators take it as axiomatic that gerrymandering is an ongoing scandalbut how problematic is it? The case is not as straightforward as it may first appear.  

Analysis and Commentary

Who Are Winners And Losers Of ‘Medicare For All’?

by Charles Blahousvia CNS News
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Many Members of Congress and presidential candidates, including Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, have embraced “Medicare for All” (M4A), the catch-all phrase used to describe proposals that would replace our current blend of private and public health insurance with a single-payer system run by the federal government. This month provided two opportunities to learn more about the implications of M4A, one a hearing of the House Rules Committee, the other a report issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 

Analysis and Commentary

Social Security Must Be Saved Now

by Charles Blahousvia Peoria Journal Star
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Social Security’s trustees issued a dire warning last week. In their 2019 annual report, they announced that future costs for the program will be 20 percent higher than projected revenue. As soon as next year, Social Security’s yearly expenses are expected to exceed its income — forcing the program to begin drawing down its trust funds.


Charles Blahous: Doubling Income Taxes Won’t Even Cover Medicare For All Costs

interview with Charles Blahousvia The Washington Free Beacon
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Charles Blahous says that doubling all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax would be insufficient to finance Medicare for All.

Analysis and Commentary

We’re Running Out Of Time. Social Security Must Be Saved Now.

by Charles Blahousvia The Washington Post
Friday, April 26, 2019

This week, Social Security’s trustees issued a dire warning. In their 2019 annual report, they announced that future costs for the program will be 20 percent higher than projected revenue. As soon as next year, Social Security’s yearly expenses are expected to exceed its income — forcing the program to begin drawing down its trust funds.

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Perilous Pensions

by Charles Blahousvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Social Security is still heading for a fall. Not even the rising number of new workers can postpone this reckoning.