Republicans attack California

The “tax bill” being crafted in Washington is much more than that. It’s a political weapon carefully aimed at liberal values and blue states.

Peter Goodman of the New York Times reports that the bill has “a lot of elements that have very little, or even nothing, to do with taxation.”

“This is a piece of legislation that … could re-engineer significant swaths of American life,” Goodman writes.

The most obvious non-tax item is the repeal of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which will result in the nation’s poorest and sickest people losing their health insurance. Another measure buried in the bill: It opens the Arctic Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling, a harsh blow to environmentalists who’ve been fighting to protect the place for decades.

The winners and losers have been politically determined. While the legislation delivers $1.5 trillion in tax relief to the wealthiest Americans, not all wealthy Americans are beneficiaries. By reducing or eliminating the federal tax deduction for state and local tax payments, the bill will actually hurt high-earners in high-tax states like California and New York—“not coincidentally, states that tend to vote Democratic,” Goodman writes.

In California, that could do serious damage, according to UCLA economist Gonzalo Freixes. “It could have spiraling consequences,” he says. “The economy, the real estate market, revenues to local governments—it goes further and further into things where it could have a negative impact.”

Here in Sacramento, “the capital of the resistance,” and the rest of California, it is still possible to feel somewhat protected from the worst damage of the Trumpian takeover. That might change.