Causey analysis: Will you be hit with a furlough?

Tuesday - 2/8/2011, 4:59pm EST

Mike Causey, senior correspondent, Federal News Radio

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It's the F-word that sends shivers down the spines of federal workers - Furloughs.

Republicans in control of the House outlined a plan Thursday to slash agencies' budgets by $32 billion for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.

Federal News Radio's Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says new members of Congress come in and make statements to cut the federal budget - but then agencies like Defense, Homeland Security, IRS and others fall under exceptions.

In short, "It's easier said than done," Causey said.

Causey said his favorite rule is the law of unintended consequences.

The Reagan administration pushed for smaller government, but there were more federal workers at the end of his term than at the beginning. And under the Clinton administration, the federal workforce shrunk but the government work shifted to contractors.

Now with a push to reduce the federal workforce through attrition -- replacing two workers for every three who leave -- that same law of unintended consequences could take effect by slowing the rate of people leaving government jobs, Causey said.

"If you say you're going to start cutting employment, freezing hiring or what not - especially with what's happened to people's Thrift Savings Plan acocunts, 401k plan accounts - jobs suddenly look very good," Causey said. "People who were dying to go to Florida and play shuffleboard all of sudden think, I'm not leaving the safety net of the job."

Read Mike's column from today's Federal Report.