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, Jason J. Fichtner, Mark J. Warshawsky | Mar 19, 2015
Social Security’s trustees have long warned Congress to address the troubled finances of the Disability Insurance (DI) program. Given the DI trust fund’s projected exhaustion date of 2016, legislation will be required during this Congress to prevent large, sudden benefit cuts.
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.

Working Papers

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

e21
Mar 16, 2015

The Congressional Budget Office’s new report shows updated cost projections for the insurance coverage expansion in the Affordable Care Act. The following explains what CBO has actually projected: basically that the ACA will do less to expand coverage than previously estimated.
e21
Mar 02, 2015

With their selection of Keith Hall to direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the incoming chairs of the House and Senate Budget Committees, Dr. Tom Price and Senator Mike Enzi, have passed an unusually rigorous test. Their choice should be expected to not only well serve lawmakers, but also reflect well upon Congress, in the years ahead.
e21
Feb 19, 2015

When his budget proposals were recently released, President Obama stated, “I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America.” That quotation neatly summarizes how the White House is framing the basic trade-off faced in federal budgeting: between “austerity” (i.e., severe cuts in spending and deficits) and “investments” (i.e., spending on things needed to support future prosperity). The real trade-off we face, however, is fundamentally different.
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.
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