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

The One Budget Reform That Matters

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, October 10, 2016

Proposals to reform the federal budget process are much in the air these days. While there is widespread belief that the process is broken, definitions of that breakage vary widely. 

Analysis and Commentary

Americans' Future Quality Of Life Will Depend On Keeping People Working

by Charles Blahousvia CNSNews
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

It is becoming increasingly clear that reforming federal policies to keep people in the workforce is the primary economic policy challenge of our time. Americans’ future quality of life will depend on our getting this right.

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Candid Candidates

by Charles Blahousvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 11, 2016

The real litmus test of this campaign season is Social Security. Who will save it?


The Worsening Pension Problem Nobody Talks About

by Charles Blahousvia E21
Tuesday, July 5, 2016

In contrast with the well-documented financing shortfalls in Social Security and state/local/Puerto Rican pensions, another pension funding problem generally receives less attention: private sector employer-provided pensions insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

Analysis and Commentary

Federal Debt Is Getting Worse

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, May 30, 2016

One of the fascinating quirks of humanity, studied by scientists ranging from behavioral economists to psychologists, is how our perceptions of events are shaped as much by our expectations as by objective realities.

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Cadillac in the Ditch

by Charles Blahousvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 18, 2016

The tax on high-cost insurance plans was running rough from the start. Here’s what that clunker has taught us.

Analysis and Commentary

How The ACA Is Really Performing

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

In March of this year the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a presentation on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) six years in. The document portrays the ACA in a very favorable light, as one would expect for one of the Obama administration’s signature pieces of legislation.

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.