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

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.

In the News

Would ‘Medicare For All’ Save Billions Or Cost Billions?

quoting Charles Blahousvia The New York Times
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

How much would a “Medicare for all” plan, like the kind being introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, change health spending in the United States?

In the News

Who Wants To Be Bernie’s Nurse?

quoting Charles Blahousvia The Wall Street Journal
Thursday, March 28, 2019

Would Bernie Sanders be able to find enough doctors to practice socialized medicine? As he runs for the Democratic party nomination for President, Sen. Sanders (Socialist, Vt.) this week rejected any Democratic health care reform which does not ban private insurance and force all Americans into government-run care. But news from an existing socialized medical system serves as a reminder that providers of care may wish to avoid such a system just as much as patients do. 

In the News

2020 Democrats' 'Medicare-For-All' Plan Would Cause A Massive Doctor Shortage

quoting Charles Blahousvia Fox News
Saturday, March 23, 2019

Last month, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., introduced House Democrats’ "Medicare-for-all" legislation. Although the plan has absolutely no hope of passing the Republican-led Senate or being signed by President Donald Trump, the legislation will almost certainly become the foundation of Democrats’ 2020 campaign. 

In the News

What Medicare For All Means For Doctors And Hospitals

quoting Charles Blahousvia
Monday, March 18, 2019

Americans generally don’t like the idea of giving up their private health insurance. Hospitals and doctors don’t want them to, either. Private insurers typically pay medical providers a whole lot more than Medicare and Medicaid. And that’s one of the main reasons why many hospitals and doctors oppose Medicare for all proposals that would eliminate or minimize private insurance.