Charles Blahous

Charles Blahous

  • Director of Spending and Budget Initiative
  • Senior Research Fellow

Charles Blahous is the director of 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

Apr 17, 2014

When new enrollment figures were released last week, the national discussion focused on whether the ACA is fulfilling its coverage expansion goals. The largely unwritten and more important story, however, is that the ACA is rapidly becoming a colossal fiscal disaster as enrollment proceeds heedless of the concurrent collapse of the law’s financing structure.
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Apr 09, 2014

Our national dialogue over federal policy suffers from a huge information gap when it comes to understanding the federal budget. This information gap afflicts not only the general public as well as press, but much of Washington’s policy insider community. From the very start of my eleven years as Senate staff, I quickly learned that if one can master Congress’s arcane budget rules, one will command knowledge that even many legislators lack. To put it bluntly, far too few people understand how the federal budget works, how budget-related legislative procedures work, and how scorekeeping works. This article represents an effort to fill in some of that information gap.
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Mar 03, 2014

On February 4, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that instantly became a focus of intense controversy. The report found that the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) would reduce US employment by the equivalent of 2 million full-time workers by 2017, 2.5 million by 2024. This news was received in the context of the polarizing politics surrounding the ACA, with commenters choosing sides over the report according to their attitudes toward the health law itself. …
Mar 03, 2014

Below, scholars with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University—the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas—look ahead to key policy areas the president will likely focus on in his 2015 budget submission.
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