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

Social Security
Analysis and Commentary

Telling It Like It Is About Social Security

by Charles Blahousvia E21
Monday, March 14, 2016

Many voters have said during this election season that they want a president who "tells it like it is." At the March 10 Republican presidential debate, the candidates were given an opportunity for such candor when the politically treacherous subject of Social Security was raised.

Analysis and Commentary

Solving Uncle Sam’s Overspending Problem

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, March 7, 2016

At a time when the presidential campaigns seem to be about everything other than the federal budget, the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) serve as a stark reminder that Americans will suffer grave economic consequences if the federal government does not repair its broken fiscal practices.

Analysis and Commentary

Obamacare Will Drive Health Care Costs Up

by Charles Blahousvia E21
Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Today the Mercatus Center unveiled a study by Bradley Herring (Johns Hopkins University) and Erin Trish (University of Southern California) finding that the much-discussed health spending slowdown that continued in 2010-13 “can likely be explained by longstanding patterns” over more than two decades, rather than suggesting a recent policy correction.

Analysis and Commentary

What The New York Times Isn’t Telling You About Social Security

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, January 18, 2016

The New York Times recently published an editorial highlighting partisan differences over Social Security, advocating that current-law benefit growth be increased, and implicitly rejecting bipartisan calls to include some cost containment in legislated financing reforms.

Analysis and Commentary

Five Lessons Of The Cadillac Plan Tax Failure

by Charles Blahousvia E21
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The omnibus spending bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama delays the onset of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s so-called “Cadillac plan tax” for two years.


Don’t Force Taxpayers To Bail Out Health Insurance Companies

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, December 7, 2015

Both the House and Senate versions of the budget reconciliation bill moving through Congress would repeal several key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This piece focuses on the ACA’s so-called “risk corridors,” which the Senate majority also attempted to repeal though failing on a point of order.

Analysis and Commentary

How Social Security's COLA Politics Lead To Bad Policy

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Sunday, November 22, 2015

On October 15 the Social Security Administration announced there would be no Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) for 2016.

Analysis and Commentary

Covering Pre-Existing Conditions Without A Comprehensive Insurance Mandate

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, November 9, 2015

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) attempts to facilitate insurance coverage for those with pre-existing health conditions through the combination of a comprehensive coverage mandate, guaranteed issue, and community rating, among other provisions.

Bandaged Piggybank
Analysis and Commentary

Future Work Still Needed After Budget's Disability Fix

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

The bipartisan budget bill just passed by Congress contains several provisions affecting Social Security disability insurance (DI) operations as well as Social Security finances generally.

Analysis and Commentary

Distinguishing Policy From Politics In The Cadillac Plan Tax

by Charles Blahousvia E21
Monday, October 5, 2015

The Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac plan tax” has been much in the news of late.