Update: I've since adjusted my rate to $300/hr since I wanted to start taking clients. This crazy was designed to prevent getting work unless it was going to pay super well while I focused on other things.
Recently, I updated my hire page with my new rate: $1000/hr. Lots of people on Twitter have been going on and on about how this is ridiculous or how awesome they think this is.
If you think it's too high, don't hire me. Simple as that.
This rate is designed to weed out less serious clients. Serious clients generally have more exciting projects. I'd rather not freelance. I need to focus on Cheddar. I don't mind telling you what I think you should do or giving other advice. That is super enjoyable.
I'd expect most of my clients will want me to just come and talk to them for a few hours. If anyone hires me to write code for $1000/hr, they are wasting their money. If you are looking for hired programmers, you should talk to my friends at Oven Bits (be sure and tell them I sent you if you hit them up).
My first client at this new rate wants me to come to their office and pair with their iOS developer for 3 hours. I'm going to help him optimize some code in an area I have lots of expertise. Frankly, I'm really excited about it. I can't say the same for almost any other freelance project I've done.
For programming, I was charging $200/hr, but I'd rather not do any more programming freelance gigs. I spend most of my days programming. I'm not itching to do more.
I know a few other developers have charged this much in the past. I agree with you that for programming, this is entirely too high. Anyone that hires them for any sizable amount of time is wasting their money.