I’ve written before about the Law of Unintended Consequences, and I never have to go far to find another example of it in action. With a scenario that is right out of Atlas Shrugged, Oregon lawmakers are scratching their heads wondering where all of the state’s millionaires are disappearing to after they targeted the rich with one of the highest income taxes in North America. The state treasury has admitted that despite the higher rates, revenues are down because some 10,000 rich residents have voted with their feet and waved goodbye to Oregon in their rear-view mirrors. The story goes on to say:
All of this is an instant replay of what happened in Maryland in 2008 when the legislature in Annapolis instituted a millionaire tax. There roughly one-third of the state’s millionaire households vanished from the tax rolls after rates went up.
I would ask if anyone is really surprised by this news, but clearly some are, or at least they like to pretend they are. Oregon Democrat Phil Barnhart, one of the architects of the tax increase, said that this was only temporary and instead blamed the decline on the state’s economy. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he’s aware of the real cause, but just can’t bring himself to admit it. Or maybe he really is that dumb.