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View Diary: New questions emerge about Mitt Romney's run-in with the law (140 comments)

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  •  Purely for sake of debate, of course (0+ / 0-)

    since we're not talking about anything that could actually happen here...

    Fines are intended to deter behavior.   If we want to deter people equally, we should define an amount that is a deterrent relative to their income level.   Minimum wage truckers should be deterred by a threat to 1% of their annual income .... $75 K earners might require 1.5% of annual income for the same deterrent effect.  

    Fines are a tax on bad behavior, and should be progressive, like all taxes, so that the effect on people's lives is similar.  

    What does it take to deter an earner of $1 million per year?   I don't know, but you could study it and find out...  

    It is absurd to ask an unemployed person and a high earner to pay $175 for the same infraction.... for one it is a huge hit, for the other a minor inconvenience that will not influence behavior.  

    =

    We use last year's income, because that's what's available.    The operator of a vehicle is generally responsible for the fines that accrue on the operation of that vehicle, regardless of who owns it... but we all know about the camera problem.

    A housewife with no income should pay a fine that deters a person with no income from speeding.  

    A rich person should pay a fine that will in fact make a rich person less likely to commit the infraction again.

    Seems simple as a principle, although the information systems necessary to administer it would be complex.  But isn't justice worth it?  

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