If the past is a predictor of the future, the 5 percent across-budget cut agencies have been asked/told to take won’t necessarily amount to 5 percent and it won’t necessarily cover all agencies.
Spending cuts, to old hands in government, are nothing new. They are rarely produce the catastrophic results predicted by the media. Nor are they a joke.
They’ve been imposed, with varying degrees of severity and success, since the 1930s.
Often a budget cut triggers an immediate hiring freeze. But that will be trickier this time. A number of old-line and new agencies, with financial oversight/control and national security missions, are under White House orders to expand. So while there may be a widespread hiring freeze or delay, it won’t impact some of the major federal operations.
In addition to hiring, budget cuts often first take a toll on training and travel. And contracting. Because Uncle Sam does lots of travel and training, any cutbacks will have a ripple effect on the national economy.
Reduced federal spending could be a major financial issue in the fed-prosperous Washington metro region as well as in small communities where Uncle Sam is the primary employer or private-sector job-generator.
In the DC area, several hundred thousand people work directly for the federal government. An even larger group – contractors, vendors, travel, housing and retail – depend on the steady federal payroll and spending to stay afloat.
According to estimates based on BRAC alignment studies, each federal job created in the DC area brings 4 or 5 additional people (either as family members or support personnel) to the area. Any job reduction could have the same impact in reverse.
It’s been estimated that for every civil servant there may be as many as 5 or 6 federal contractors.
Finally, any budget cut, especially during a recession, could do a number on the huge number of federal workers who are eligible to retire but are reluctant to pull the plug. Thanks to plummeting TSP accounts and the poor private job market, many government workers have stayed, and probably will stay on, longer than they anticipated. Despite a decade long warning of a Brain Drain or Retirement Tsunami, federal retirements are down. And that could have an impact on people who want inside government but can’t find an opening.
Congress narrowly rejected a plan to freeze federal pay, but could it pop up again? Are retirees going to go a second year without a cost of living adjustment, and what’s the deal with drug pricing in the federal health program? Today at 10 a.m. on our Your Turn with Mike Causey radio show Dan Adcock, legislative director of the National Active Retired Federal Employees, brings us up to speed.
At 10:30 a.m., Randy Erwinof the National Federation of Federal Employees will look at the status of Defense workers being moved from the NSPS back to the regular civil service system. He’ll also talk about the good, bad and ugly legislation feds should be watching.
You can listen on your computer at www.federalnewsradio.com (or click here) or on your radio in the DC area at 1500 AM. The show will also be archived on hour show page so you can hear or share it anytime.
ADDITIONAL PAY AND BENEFITS NEWS ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast Among the headlines this morning: New steps considered for GS grades, FDA needs food safety overhaul: report, FBI uses terror-probe tactics on fraud, Amish farming draws EPA scrutiny, National Park Service takes on Transformers. Learn more from the Morning Federal Newscast by clicking here.
Why there’s still worry about the Conficker worm Remember the Conficker worm? It was first detected in November, 2008, but is still causing a lot of concern. Federal News Radio told you recently that the Department of Homeland Security is putting together a report on the global response to the attack, and Federal Security Spotlight last year delved into the problems that Conficker could cause. Mark Bowden is a national correspondent for Atlantic Monthly and recently wrote an article about what’s currently being done to thwart the threat. Read more here.
Dorobek Must Reads – June 8 Worried you’ll have no idea what people are talking about around the watercooler this morning? Each day, the DorobekInsider team collects a group of stories that we’re reading to stay in the know. On Tuesday: a new poll shows that voters’ support for Congress is at an all-time low, and we have the definitive guide for the iPhone 4. Read more here.