Ways in Which a Trump Victory Could Benefit California

donald-trump-2On Jan. 20, when Donald Trump takes his hand off the Bible and picks up the phone, he could cause a near-seismic upheaval in California just by changing some federal rules and implementing new policies.

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Let me break the news to you gently: it might work out well.

The federal government continuously writes stacks of regulations that cause consumers to pay more for everything than they otherwise would. But because of the length of time between the writing and the paying, it can be hard to recognize the cause and effect.

For example, your bill from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is higher because of federal regulations interpreted by California regulators to prohibit the use of ocean water for cooling power generation plants on the coast. We’re paying billions of dollars to convert three coastal generating plants, a project that began in 2011 and is scheduled to continue for decades. If the new administration modified those regulations, Los Angeles residents could save a small fortune.

If you’ve noticed that food is a lot more expensive, consider that because of federal regulations, the water supply was cut off to California’s breadbasket, the once-prosperous agricultural goldmine of the Central Valley.

Members of Congress from the area have introduced legislation over and over again to adjust federal law to override those regulations. Most recently, the Western Water and American Food Security Act was attached to the bill that funds the Interior Department. But President Obama has threatened a veto, arguing that the regulations are necessary to protect species like the Delta smelt.

The regulations could easily be changed if the new administration chooses to make abundant food production a policy priority over the protection of the smelt.

Other federal regulations have led to arguably impossible targets for further reducing fine particles, like dust and soot, in the air. To meet these goals, state regulators have repeatedly tightened the requirements for new diesel engines, raising the cost of trucking and the price of everything that’s moved by truck. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has even enforced California’s rules on out-of-state trucking firms when state regulators lacked jurisdiction.

Similarly, federal regulations have caused the South Coast Air Quality Management District to write up a new list of proposed tax increases to raise up to $14 billion. The bureaucrats need the money for policies and plans that are required in order to avoid federal sanctions for missing air-quality targets. But under a new administration, there’s an opportunity to take the bureaucracy off auto-pilot and look carefully at what we’re doing to ourselves. Some regulations may no longer be reasonable or necessary, and the cost may not be justified.

Federal rules that discourage the use of coal have made electricity more expensive, raising the cost of living for everyone. The next president’s policies could lower your utility bills.

Policy changes from the new administration will save taxpayers money in other ways, too.

A 2011 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office said California paid $1.1 billion in 2009 to incarcerate criminals who were in the country illegally. The cost to Los Angeles County that year was $139 million.

President-elect Trump was criticized by California’s legislative leaders for his plan to immediately deport up to 3 million criminals who are in the country illegally. Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon wrote in a joint letter, “We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.”

But what is the argument for not deporting convicted criminals who are in the country illegally? How does that shred the social fabric or the Constitution?

Maybe California politicians should start working now on how they’re going to explain to voters that they rejected federal funds that could have been used for education, transportation and health care because they wanted to protect criminals who are in the United States without legal authorization.

It’s long past time for California’s leaders to give some thought to the damage caused by policies that have gone unquestioned because their cost didn’t become clear until years later.

From housing to energy to transportation to health care to law enforcement to education, federal policies and regulations have consequences that are sometimes both unintended and disastrous. A new administration is an opportunity to take a fresh look at everything.

It might just work out well, even for California.

And here’s the punchline: By 2018, the state’s Democratic politicians will be taking credit for it.

Susan Shelley is a columnist for the Southern California News Group. Reach her at Susan@SusanShelley.com and follow her on Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.

This piece was originally published by the L.A. Daily News


  1. Susan doesn’t mention that by deregulating most of the laws regarding air pollution, Californians with asthma, including many children, will be subject to breathing the filthy air, SMOG, that makes our eyes burn, noses run, and shuts down our lungs. Simplistic political articles like this one, by a non-scientist, are worthless.

    • I think you’re missing the point, I live in Kommieforniastan, if you can call what we do here living. I love the non-smoking in restaurants, I can appreciate the cleaner air, BUT there is a point where it makes no sense. I contend that the increases in asthma isn’t due to auto’s or diesels. It’s due to the increase of foreign plants, non-native species being brought in. Did you know that the push for ‘clean air’ has actually increased NOx levels. The use of a neurological posion in our fuel, Ethanol isn’t the brightest of ideas. Our refiners can do the same thing with refining techniques, increasing fuel mileage while getting cleaner exhaust but…the big bucks pushing the use of food for fuel all in the name of being green, won’t permit it. There is a push for electric cars, but now those will be competeing with the weed growers as we shut down power plants. I’ve been on this planet, in this state for close to 7 decades. My allergies are getting WORSE. I’m thinking that the cure being pushed is the cause, not the answer. Just MHO.

  2. Don’t bet on any savings by reducing or eliminating federal regulations. If they are, our Kalifornia Duma with just past state regulations to replace them.

  3. But….but….deportation rends apart the families of those convicted felons who are in prison separated from their families.
    Oh, wait…..

  4. THE CAPTIVE says

    To change to way things are done here to make it good again would be a well earned slap in the face to the liberal Jerry Brown and all those who make CA not a good place to live these days. To abolish CARB IS on the top of the list . Dear Santa make it happen??

  5. These liberals have only one plan and that is to bring everyone down to the same level .even criminals are view better than good citizen regulation are wipeing out California.

  6. OH that he act quickly. Shall we take up a collection and buy him a HUGE PEN to sign these bills and EXECUTIVE ORDERS. California politicians need to start working FOR LEGAL CITIZENS, not against us. I’m over tired of the NON-SCIENTIST ENVIRO-WHACKO’s running the state. Oh and get RID of the AGENCIES. Who elected them anyway? and SCREW the Delta Smelt. My grandkids need food.

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