Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Most of Scandinavia determines fines based on income. Could such a system work in the U.S.? Finland's system for calculating fines is relatively simple: It starts with an estimate of the amount of spending money a Finn has for one day, and then divides that by two -- the resulting number is considered a reasonable amount of spending money to deprive the offender of. Then, based on the severity of the crime, the system has rules for how many days the offender must go without that money. Going about 15 mph over the speed limit gets you a multiplier of 12 days, and going 25 mph over carries a 22-day multiplier. Most reckless drivers pay between €30 and €50 per day, for a total of about €400 or €500. Finland's maximum multiplier is 120 days, but there's no ceiling on the fines themselves -- the fine is taken as a constant proportion of income whether you make €80,000 a year or €800,000. In America, instead of sliding-scale "day-fines" flat-rate fines are the norm.



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To advocate for the American adoption of day-fines isn't to engage in the standard grass-is-greener worship of Scandinavia that's in style right now. It's logical. Yes, day-fines might dissuade the rich from breaking the law; after all, wealthier people have been shown to drive more recklessly than those who make less money. Day-fines could introduce some fairness to a legal system that many have convincingly shown to be biased against the poor.

Finland was the first country to introduce day-fines, having established them in 1921, but the roots of the idea run deeper. Fines were first set up as a punishment in Europe in the 1100s, and well into the Middle Ages remained a second-best alternative to simply punishing offenders by seeking personal vengeance. Montesquieu was among the first to recognize the importance of implementing them on a sliding scale. "Cannot pecuniary penalties be proportionate to fortunes?" he wondered in 1748's The Spirit of the Laws.


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In other words justice. Fines in America can deprive the poor of rent money while rich folks speed with impunity because the fine is less than they spend on lunch.

#1 | Posted by danni at 2016-09-20 10:02 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

"Could such a system work in the U.S.?"


#2 | Posted by eberly at 2016-09-20 10:10 AM | Reply


considering the insurance costs that come with a bad driving record, it's not "less than they spend on lunch".

#3 | Posted by eberly at 2016-09-20 10:11 AM | Reply

Flat rate tickets in conjunction with de-facto quotas for police to hand out tickets is one of the more glaring ways our de-facto tax collection system for local governments is focused on the working class.

#4 | Posted by moder8 at 2016-09-20 03:41 PM | Reply

"considering the insurance costs that come with a bad driving record, it's not "less than they spend on lunch"."

It's low enough that they don't give a crap if they get caught speeding. That's why expensive cars blast by me on I-95 all the time. Rarely do inexpensive cars go by so fast.

#5 | Posted by danni at 2016-09-20 03:59 PM | Reply

"Life's Been Good"
I have a mansion, forget the price
Ain't never been there, they tell me it's nice
I live in hotels, tear out the walls
I have accountants pay for it all

They say I'm crazy but I have a good time
I'm just looking for clues at the scene of the crime
Life's been good to me so far

My Maserati does one-eighty-five
I lost my license, now I don't drive
I have a limo, ride in the back
I lock the doors in case I'm attacked

I make hit records, my fans they can't wait
They write me letters, tell me I'm great
So I got me an office, gold records on the wall
Just leave a message, maybe I'll call

Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through
(Everybody say I'm cool) (He's cool)
I can't complain but sometimes I still do
Life's been good to me so far

I go to parties, sometimes until four
It's hard to leave when you can't find the door
It's tough to handle this fortune and fame
Everybody's so different, I haven't changed

They say I'm lazy but it takes all my time
(Everybody say oh, yeah) (Oh, yeah)
I keep on going, guess I'll never know why
Life's been good to me so far
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Joe Walsh


#6 | Posted by nutcase at 2016-09-20 04:02 PM | Reply

considering the insurance costs that come with a bad driving record, it's not "less than they spend on lunch".


A really bad record will also lead to the loss of a drivers license in most places.

Rarely do inexpensive cars go by so fast.


Most people would be afraid to drive your car over 40 MPH. ;)

#7 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2016-09-20 04:25 PM | Reply

Some countries have more creative ways to combat traffic violations. In Mexico, it is customary to beat someone caught driving drunk all the way to the city limits, by foot. In Honduras at one time drunk driving carried a death penalty, which is not surprising, not long ago being Mayan was de facto punished by death.

#8 | Posted by docnjo at 2016-09-21 06:25 PM | Reply

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