[Source: The Orange County Register] On 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.
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.
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 gold mine 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 regulation shave 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.
President-elect Trump was criticized by state 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 U.S. without legal authorization.
It’s long past time for state 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.
Source: The Orange County Register /
Editorial: Susan Shelley is a columnist for the Southern California News Group.
November 18, 2016