I recall reading somewhere, sometime when, that if California were a separate country, it would have something like the world's 7th largest economy. In a different, and very real, respect, California does have the same effect as a sovereign nation. Consider this: Way back when, California created its stringent emissions control standards for automobiles. Now, I personally think this is a good thing and I'm all for the environment. In point of fact, California had (still does) a huge smog problem and really needed tighter controls on emissions. The rest of the country, at that time, was not in such dire straits. But guess what happened? The automoble manufacturers arrived at the (correct) conclusion that it would be far too costly for them to make separate models, ones for California, and ones for the rest of the world. So now, all cars have California-level emissions controls (except for large production runs destined strictly for export out of North America). Recently, California announced that all washing machines made and sold after a certain date (2004? 2005?) would have to be low-water-volume machines. These washing machines would have to use far less water cleaning the same amount of clothing. There are ways to do this with technology, plus there are certain formulations of laundry detergent that will help. And who can argue against conserving water, right? Certainly not I! Yet...would anyone care to bet what the manufacturers of washing machines will do, come a few years from now? My money is betting they follow the lead of the car manufacturers. So, although I agree with the particular motivations and actions in these two examples, I'm having a somewhat difficult time accepting that California's legislation, de facto, affects the entire country.