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Debates Forum

  1. 11 Jan '12 00:07
    A thought that occured to me as people were debating what a fair tax system would look like on the other thread.

    In Finland, a speeding fine is charged not as a fixed rate penalty, but in proportion to one's income, which is available since tax records are public in the country.

    Is this a fair and reasonable system of punishment?

    http://www.globalmotors.net/finnish-millionaire-gets-111888-euro-speeding-ticket/

    "A Finnish millionaire Jari Bär, the former owner of the Iisalmi’s company Finnritilä was handed a fine of 111,888 euros (141,661 dollars) for doing 82 km/h (51 mph) in a 60 km/h (37 mph) zone on January in Siilijärvi, Finland.

    Why such a huge speeding ticket? In Finland fines are issued according to ones salary per day. As Mr. Bär was 2 km over the standard fine range he had to pay his 12 days income. If his income in 2007 had been 50 euros a day, then the ticket would have been 600 euros.

    It turns out that in 2007 he sold a majority stake in his company and in average made an impressive 9300 euros a day, which translates to a 111,888 euros speeding ticket."
  2. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    11 Jan '12 16:47
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    A thought that occured to me as people were debating what a fair tax system would look like on the other thread.

    In Finland, a speeding fine is charged not as a fixed rate penalty, but in proportion to one's income, which is available since tax records are public in the country.

    Is this a fair and reasonable system of punishment?

    http://www ...[text shortened]... ge made an impressive 9300 euros a day, which translates to a 111,888 euros speeding ticket."
    Does everything in these "progressive" economic systems have to keep punishing people for making more money?

    Eventually, they'll start pricing groceries and later all goods and services as a percentage of one's income. That will, of course, have the effect of making everyone's income the same. I believe there's a term for that (C--- something) but I forget it offhand.

    As an aside, 12 days' salary for a speeding ticket??? Yikes! And I thought our penal system was harsh.
  3. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    11 Jan '12 16:50
    Originally posted by sh76
    Does everything in these "progressive" economic systems have to keep punishing people for making more money?

    Eventually, they'll start pricing groceries and later all goods and services as a percentage of one's income. That will, of course, have the effect of making everyone's income the same. I believe there's a term for that (C--- something) but I forget i ...[text shortened]... 12 days' salary for a speeding ticket??? Yikes! And I thought our penal system was harsh.
    But if you're unemployed you can speed without consequences!
  4. 11 Jan '12 17:14
    Originally posted by sh76
    Does everything in these "progressive" economic systems have to keep punishing people for making more money?

    Eventually, they'll start pricing groceries and later all goods and services as a percentage of one's income. That will, of course, have the effect of making everyone's income the same. I believe there's a term for that (C--- something) but I forget i ...[text shortened]... 12 days' salary for a speeding ticket??? Yikes! And I thought our penal system was harsh.
    /Does everything in these "progressive" economic systems have to keep punishing people for making more money?

    The idea is that the pain it causes is likely to be closer to the same, therefore the deterrent effect is, too.
  5. 11 Jan '12 17:35
    Originally posted by sh76
    Does everything in these "progressive" economic systems have to keep punishing people for making more money?
    Do you really think that people actually use or think of that as a reason?
  6. 11 Jan '12 18:55
    It only makes sense if the fine is for severe reckless behavior like driving 95 in a 30 MPH zone.
  7. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    11 Jan '12 19:07
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    Do you really think that people actually use or think of that as a reason?
    I don't mean that the lawmakers intend to punish people for making more money. I mean that they do not mind if that is a consequences of their laws.
  8. 11 Jan '12 19:33
    Originally posted by sh76
    I don't mean that the lawmakers intend to punish people for making more money. I mean that they do not mind if that is a consequences of their laws.
    I don't think that is even the actual effect of such laws. I also don't think they should mind if that is such a consequence.

    While I don't completely agree with increasing all fines based on how much you make, it's an interesting idea as to make the consequences more effective.

    If you make five million dollars a year and a speeding ticket only costs you $5 then where is the real incentive for you not to do it? You can just spend $50/year and not really care about it whereas it is more of a significant amount of punishment to someone with a lower income.

    I think the best solution in the case of speeding is in fact to more strictly enforce the suspension of license, etc.. even in the case of the rich instead of necessarily increasing the amount of money charged, but I can see some reason in it.
  9. 11 Jan '12 20:30
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    I don't think that is even the actual effect of such laws. I also don't think they should mind if that is such a consequence.

    While I don't completely agree with increasing all fines based on how much you make, it's an interesting idea as to make the consequences more effective.

    If you make five million dollars a year and a speeding ticket only co ...[text shortened]... tead of necessarily increasing the amount of money charged, but I can see some reason in it.
    If the goverment opened a store and charged 10 times the normal price to someone with ten times the average income, no wealthy person would shop there. Simply no one wants to pay higher than the fair price regardless of their income.

    Similarly no one wants to pay any fine regardless of income. A system that sets fines based on income has only one main effect: to be punatitive.
  10. 11 Jan '12 21:00
    Originally posted by quackquack
    If the goverment opened a store and charged 10 times the normal price to someone with ten times the average income, no wealthy person would shop there. Simply no one wants to pay higher than the fair price regardless of their income.

    Similarly no one wants to pay any fine regardless of income. A system that sets fines based on income has only one main effect: to be punatitive.
    The point is not that someone more wealthy would somehow want to pay a fine if it was cheaper, of course they wouldn't. The point is that they would be more likely to accept the risk of incurring that fine if they were more wealthy.

    If I only have $5 then I consider doing something like speeding that risks me lose $2 then that's a huge part of my money.

    If I have $2000 then that $2 fine isn't all that much to me so it might be worth it to me to risk getting the fine.

    In both cases I don't want to pay the fine, but in the former case, the fine is a significant deterrent to me wanting to take a risk of incurring the fine where in the latter case it is a lesser deterrent.

    It's not about whether people want to pay the fine, it's about making a punishment that is a real and effective disincentive to committing the crime.

    Any system to impose fines is punitive - and that is its purpose. The question is how to make sure it's effective in the incentives and disincentives that it gives.
  11. 11 Jan '12 22:08
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    The point is not that someone more wealthy would somehow want to pay a fine if it was cheaper, of course they wouldn't. The point is that they would be more likely to accept the risk of incurring that fine if they were more wealthy.

    If I only have $5 then I consider doing something like speeding that risks me lose $2 then that's a huge part of my mone ...[text shortened]... ion is how to make sure it's effective in the incentives and disincentives that it gives.
    Have you ever gone to traffic court? Its not like its filled with rich people who are relatively indifferent to paying fines. Like most people who violate the law, there is a disproportionate number of people of lower socioeconomic status who get traffic fines.

    This idea is not about disincentives because there is simply is no need for a disincentive. It is merely another way to put an extra burden on people who have money.
  12. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    11 Jan '12 22:09 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by quackquack
    Have you ever gone to traffic court? Its not like its filled with rich people who are relatively indifferent to paying fines. Like most people who violate the law, there is a disproportionate number of people of lower socioeconomic status who get traffic fines.

    This idea is not about disincentives because there is simply is no need for a disincentive. It is merely another way to put an extra burden on people who have money.
    You don't HAVE to go to traffic court. Just pay the ticket.
  13. 11 Jan '12 22:16
    Originally posted by quackquack
    Have you ever gone to traffic court? Its not like its filled with rich people who are relatively indifferent to paying fines. Like most people who violate the law, there is a disproportionate number of people of lower socioeconomic status who get traffic fines.

    This idea is not about disincentives because there is simply is no need for a disincentive. It is merely another way to put an extra burden on people who have money.
    Have you ever gone to traffic court? Its not like its filled with rich people who are relatively indifferent to paying fines. Like most people who violate the law, there is a disproportionate number of people of lower socioeconomic status who get traffic fines.

    Yes I have been to traffic court. The people in traffic court are not a representative group of those that get traffic fines. Many (if not most) people who receive traffic fines never go to traffic court.

    This idea is not about disincentives because there is simply is no need for a disincentive.

    I'm not sure that is true and you haven't given me any reason to believe that it is.

    It is merely another way to put an extra burden on people who have money.

    I disagree.
  14. 11 Jan '12 22:30
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    [b]Have you ever gone to traffic court? Its not like its filled with rich people who are relatively indifferent to paying fines. Like most people who violate the law, there is a disproportionate number of people of lower socioeconomic status who get traffic fines.

    Yes I have been to traffic court. The people in traffic court are not a represe ...[text shortened]... b]It is merely another way to put an extra burden on people who have money.[/b]

    I disagree.[/b]
    I don't have the burden of proof on this issue.

    You have not given any evidence that there is a need to make traffic fines proportional with income. Without any evidence of a need to the contrary, there is no reason to change policy and all fines should be equal in nominal terms.
  15. 11 Jan '12 22:38 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by quackquack
    I don't have the burden of proof on this issue.

    You have not given any evidence that there is a need to make traffic fines proportional with income. Without any evidence of a need to the contrary, there is no reason to change policy and all fines should be equal in nominal terms.
    I'm not advocating this plan be implemented, I am just saying that there are reasons why it might be somewhat effective.

    You do have the burden of proof to prove the statements that you did make, but hey... this is an internet discussion and most people don't make that much of an effort to retrieve stats etc... so frankly, the burden of proof isn't just on one side in any case.

    I admit that I do not know if there is a need to make traffic fines proportional with income and I have never stated that there is a definite need. You would need statistics based on the number of infractions by income group and others that I don't know where to find. I simply was saying that the method proposed, if justified with the appropriate statistics etc.., would not have the purpose of punishing the rich for having more money.

    I think with the flat fines there are alternative ways to make sure that income is not a factor in being able to avoid punishment. For example, making it so there is no way to get moving infractions off your record outside of them expiring and having severe penalties for repetitive infractions.