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

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.


An Overdue Budget Reform: Prohibit Double-Counting Of Medicare Savings

by Charles Blahousvia E21
Sunday, September 20, 2015

Key members of Congress, notably the chairs of the budget committees, have recently signaled interest in reforming a “broken” federal budget process.

Analysis and Commentary

Six Mistakes Paul Krugman Makes About Medicare's Finances

by Charles Blahousvia E21
Sunday, August 30, 2015

My usual custom when writing about Medicare and Social Security finances is to simply present the relevant data instead of discussing others’ commentaries about the programs.

Analysis and Commentary

A Warning From The Medicare Trustees

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Thursday, July 30, 2015

My most recent article for e21 summarized the 2015 Social Security trustees’ report released last week. This companion piece does the same for the Medicare report.

Social Security
Analysis and Commentary

Time Is Running Out To Fix Social Security

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Last week saw the publication of the annual Social Security and Medicare trustees’ reports, along with an accompanying summary.

Analysis and Commentary

Blahous, Fichtner On Medicare And Social Security Trustees Report

by Charles Blahous, Jason J. Fichtnervia Mercatus Center
Monday, July 27, 2015

The Medicare and Social Security annual report, released yesterday, shows that the insolvency date for the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund remains unchanged at 2016. While the fundamental outlook remains materially unchanged for both the Social Security Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund and the combined (OASDI) trust funds, another year has been lost to inaction.

Law, Healthcare, and Finance
Analysis and Commentary

Repealing Obamacare Would Lower Federal Deficits

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

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has just released a report on the budgetary and economic effects of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Press reports reflect what CBO has reported pursuant to its scoring instructions – specifically, that relative to its scorekeeping baseline, repeal of the ACA would worsen the federal deficit but bolster the economy.