Charles Blahous

Research Fellow

Charles Blahous is a Hoover research 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

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.

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Analysis and Commentary

The Social Security Trustees’ Projection Process: Imperfect But Indispensable (Part 2)

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, June 1, 2015

My last piece reviewed several recent criticisms of the Social Security trustees' projection history by Konstantin Kashin, Gary King and Samir Soneji. This piece reviews other criticisms by the same authors, this time focusing on process and presentation.

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Analysis and Commentary

The Social Security Trustees’ Respectable Projection Record (Part 1)

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Sunday, May 31, 2015

For the last four years I have had the honor of serving as one of Social Security's two public trustees (along with former CBO Director Robert D. Reischauer), co-authoring the annual trustees' reports. These reports are required under the Social Security Act and serve as the primary resource on Social Security's current and projected financial condition.

Social Security
Analysis and Commentary

Costs Of Merging Social Security Retirement And Disability Funds

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, April 27, 2015

The urgent financing crisis facing Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) is giving rise to suggestions that the DI Trust Fund be merged with Social Security’s larger Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund. These two components of Social Security have been kept separate thus far since their inceptions. The following factors should be borne in mind if any such policy change is considered.

Three Fixes for ObamaCare

by Charles Blahousvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2015

Target specific problems, enable the program to be fiscally sound, and create bipartisan support.

Analysis and Commentary

Gaming Out The Scenarios In King v. Burwell

by Charles Blahousvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Monday, April 13, 2015

Earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in King v. Burwell, a case critical to the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or so-called Obamacare).