From the Publisher: What Does 2017 Look Like?

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Arnold G. York

It’s time look into the crystal ball and discern what the new year might bring nationally and statewide. But, all I seem to see are murky questions floating around.

1. The presidency is a big question mark. We are about to swear in a new president whom no one really knows. Up to now, it’s just been a reality show and he is clearly very good at that. But what happens if Russia decides to move against a NATO country, or if North Korea intentionally or accidentally sinks an American ship or China decides to take over some American industry in China? Suppose someone blows up a Trump property overseas. What then? We don’t know and I suspect Trump himself doesn’t know, because he’s never been in this situation before or anything even remotely close to it.  You can talk about getting good advice, but for sure the advice will be all over the map and, ultimately, the president is the one who has to decide.

2. Who will emerge as a voice that’s listened to in this administration and who will fall by the wayside? There are certainly enough contenders for the prime voice, but maybe it will be like the campaign and he’ll end up falling back on his family or perhaps one of his numerous courtiers.

3. How many battles can he wage simultaneously? He’s going to have a major fight to get some of his more controversial nominees confirmed and every fight will burn some political capital. Obamacare, the Supreme Court appointment, our Russia relationship and the budget are all going to be expensive fights for him.

4. How will he handle all of the business conflicts without losing his base of support? Can he avoid the smell of corruption with his own holdings and also some of his closest cabinet and staff picks?

5. Lastly, can he deliver? Expectations are very high among his supporters and any slightly downward turn in the economy would be a disaster for him. If they kill Obamacare without a replacement in place, Trump might take a 20 million-person hit.  Will American industry cooperate with him so he can put a few wins on the scoreboard, bring back some jobs and open some new plants, or was that just campaign talk? 

 

In California, we’re also going to be reacting to many federal changes:

6. The feds might try to insist that we go along with immigrant sweeps and turn every cop into an immigration officer. We say we’re not going to do it, but there are lots of law enforcement funds the feds could pull out if they wanted to get really nasty.

7. If they cut off Obamacare funds, we could end up a few billion dollars short and either have to raise taxes or cut coverage; both options would be very difficult for us and cause havoc in the healthcare industry.

8. We’ve also legalized marijuana in California, but the feds haven’t. Under the Obama administration, they took a hands-off approach to the states and left us alone. If Jeffrey Beauregard Sessons III ends up as the attorney general, it’s likely the old understandings will vanish and liberal blue California will be at war with a very right, deeply conservative federal government about the right to get loaded. I also can’t imagine Sessions being very aggressive in supporting the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act and, my guess, he’ll take us as far back as he can push us. I’m sure they will try to come after the abortion clinics as many as the states have done and maybe try to pass some new limiting federal legislation.

9. Even without dealing with the federal government, in this next year, California is going to have a number of its own homegrown problems. The environmental movement is turning into a cult and costs; impacts on housing, jobs and homelessness don’t seem to be a factor in any of their desires. That people could seriously consider spending $50 million (which, of course, ends up being $100 million) for an overpass for wildlife over the 101 Freeway, at the same time that homeless adults and children are barely surviving in LA, living in cars or under freeway overpasses or in makeshift tents, seems to me to be a little too much of the “let them eat cake” philosophy — although you would never know it reading the environmental coverage in the LA Times, which unfortunately is beginning to read like a press release for the Sierra Club.

10.California is going to be dealing with water and how we get it from Northern California, which has the water, to Southern California, which needs the water. That means trying to work out some sort of state deal among the farmers, the urban areas, the environmentalists and some of the fish fanatics both in and out of government. We’re also going to be dealing with the fact that California is two states: A California along the coasts with good education, high employment and, general speaking, decent incomes — although here and there are some large pockets of poverty and enormously expensive housing — and a California in the Central Valley with low employment, bad economy, miserable schools and little opportunity, but reasonably priced housing and space and minimal traffic.

I could go on, but wrapping it up I can say, “It’s going to be a very interesting year.”