I read Professor Rahe's post below with a mixture of delight and apprehension. Delight because, like any sane citizen, my greatest hope is to see the voters return Mr. Obama to private life come January. Apprehension because there is no telling what might happen when the reality distortion field hereabouts finally collapses.
Perhaps it's just been too long since the last Harry Potter novel, but the magical thinking of the local newspaper of record is breathtaking. Remember: California is in the vanguard of our national descent into insolvency, despite some of the highest personal income tax rates anywhere.
But why not go for pole position? Jerry Brown's brainchild is Proposition 30, a ballot initiative hiking California state income tax rates on those earning $250,000 and above to as high as 13.3 percent, edging out New York City's 12.696 percent for the highest-in-the-nation non-federal personal income tax rate.
We're number one, we're number one!
All this despite the many studies detailing the multi-year mass migration of businesses and residents escaping California's current tax rates.
But don't panic. Like a soothing balm from Professor Snape's potions class, the Mercury News front page assures us that millionaires and billionaires like paying higher taxes, or at least they don't change their behavior in any meaningful way. Left unaddressed is the response of those merely aspiring to become millionaires someday but already earning over the $250K threshold.
But leave all that for another day. For now, it is enough to support the common good by voting to tax someone else, allowing those lucky few to become--what is the president's term?--"economic patriots." And while you fill out your absentee ballot, enjoy the nearby journalistic comfort food about Obama running away in swing states as voters gain confidence in our surging national economy.
Whether it is President-elect Romney on November 7th or a debt crisis a bit further down the road, when reality finally bites it's going to hurt.