The Corner

Outside Agitators

That businessmen under regulatory attack organize politically to defend themselves never ceases to be a source of shock and anger to some liberals. The premise of Thomas Friedman’s column today seems to be that California has the perfect right to wreak whatever economic damage it thinks necessary outside its borders while the businessmen affected are wrong to respond–at least if they’re out of state. Judging from his repeated geographic references he’d have weaker objections if California businessmen were the ones funding the anti-regulatory campaign. Right? In general, I think state governments should have regulatory authority to their borders but not beyond them. In the case of California, I’m tempted to add an “at most” qualifier.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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