Charles Blahous

Charles Blahous

  • Director of Spending and Budget Initiative
  • Senior Research Fellow

Charles Blahous is the director of the Spending and Budget Initiative, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a public trustee for Social Security and Medicare. He specializes in domestic economic policy and retirement security (with an emphasis on Social Security), as well as federal fiscal policy, entitlements, demographic change, and health-care reform.

Blahous’s media appearances range from The Diane Rehm Show and Fox News to C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. He was named to SmartMoney’s “Power 30” list in 2005 and has written for the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Financial Times, Politico, National Review, Harvard Journal on Legislation, and National Affairs, among others.

Blahous is the author of Social Security: The Unfinished Work and Pension Wise: Confronting Employer Pension Underfunding and Sparing Taxpayers the Next Bailout, as well as the influential study,“The Fiscal Consequences of the Affordable Care Act.”

He was formerly the deputy director of President Bush’s National Economic Council, special assistant to the president for economic policy, and executive director of the bipartisan President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security.

Blahous received his PhD in computational quantum chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and his BA from Princeton University.

Published Research

Charles Blahous | Jan 14, 2014
According to a new paper published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the slowdown in health care cost growth is extremely unlikely to solve Medicare’s financing problems. Indeed, such a suggestion primarily reflects an incomplete understanding of how current Medicare cost projections are done.
Charles Blahous | Nov 14, 2013
In a new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Charles P. Blahous, a Mercatus senior research fellow and public trustee for Medicare and Social Security, examines the causes of federal deficits by systematically examining the federal budget itself, quantifying all contributions to the deficit regardless of when they were enacted.
Charles Blahous | Mar 05, 2013
In the wake of a 2012 Supreme Court ruling, states face complex decisions concerning whether to expand Medicaid coverage to the full extent envisioned in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare). With the federal government no longer able to coerce expansion, states must base their decisions on value judgments that incorporate each state’s unique budgetary circumstances, the needs of its uninsured population, and the incentives established by interactions among the ACA’s provisions.
Charles Blahous | Nov 15, 2012
In a new Mercatus Center study, Charles Blahous, senior research fellow and public trustee for Social Security, reviews the most misunderstood aspects of the current Social Security replacement rate formula, looks at the effects it creates, and discusses potential reforms.

Working Papers

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

e21
Jan 15, 2015

For years Social Security’s trustees (of which I am one) have warned that lawmakers must act to address the troubled finances of the program’s disability insurance (DI) trust fund. Congress has nearly run out of time to do so. Legislation will be required during this Congress or, at the very latest, in a rush at the beginning of the next one, to prevent large sudden benefit cuts. The House of Representatives recently passed a procedural rule to prepare for the coming legislative debate. In this column I explain the issues in play.
e21
Jan 05, 2015

With the term of current Congressional Budget Office (CBO) director Doug Elmendorf expiring, incoming House Budget Committee chairman Tom Price, along with soon-to-be-named Senate Budget Committee chairman Mike Enzi, will need to choose the agency’s next director. I am confident the eventual choice will be strongly credentialed and capable. This piece describes some criteria I believe should guide this critical decision.
e21
Nov 10, 2014

The ACA contains myriad problems; these and other provisions will come under increased scrutiny going forward. As lawmakers approach repairs, they will need to bear in mind what is politically achievable as well as what is fiscally responsible.
e21
Nov 03, 2014

A recent Senate Budget Committee (SBC) Republican report about the fiscal effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or so-called “Obamacare”) has stimulated public and press interest. The report concluded that whereas earlier analyses appeared to find the ACA would reduce deficits, updated analysis employing Congressional Budget Office (CBO) methodology finds it is worsening deficits.
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