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post #1 of 50 Old Jan 7th, 2010, 11:06 am Thread Starter
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Speeding fine of $290,000

I have always thought that fines should be relative to wealth - this is a bit much though!!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8446545.stm

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post #2 of 50 Old Jan 7th, 2010, 11:13 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

I respectfully disagree. Fines should be related to the offense. Not the financial statement.

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post #3 of 50 Old Jan 7th, 2010, 11:42 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by c00k1e
I have always thought that fines should be relative to wealth - this is a bit much though!!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8446545.stm
So then,
The harder one works, the more they pay.
The more one sacrifices, the less the reward.
The more one contributes, the less the incentive to continue to do so.
The more value a person contributes to their community, the more their liability.
The more value a person contributes to their community, the lower their social standing.

The less a person works, the less they pay.
The less one sacrifices, the more the reward.
The less one contributes, the less the incentive to do so.
The less value a person contributes to their community, the less their liability.
The less value a person contributes to their community, the more "equal" their social standing.

Any sort of fine like that is worth fighting over, that's for sure.

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post #4 of 50 Old Jan 7th, 2010, 12:23 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

"ass"uming the intent of "fines" are to penalize and invoke a change in behavior, it seems appropriate to increase the amount.

Where a $50 fine for me is severe, this guy probably pays that much for his toilet paper...
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post #5 of 50 Old Jan 7th, 2010, 1:07 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMC1
So then,
The harder one works, the more they pay.
The more one sacrifices, the less the reward.
The more one contributes, the less the incentive to continue to do so.
The more value a person contributes to their community, the more their liability.
The more value a person contributes to their community, the lower their social standing.

The less a person works, the less they pay.
The less one sacrifices, the more the reward.
The less one contributes, the less the incentive to do so.
The less value a person contributes to their community, the less their liability.
The less value a person contributes to their community, the more "equal" their social standing.

Any sort of fine like that is worth fighting over, that's for sure.
Class warfare at it's finest. We really should punish the wealthy for being successful. It's only fair

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post #6 of 50 Old Jan 8th, 2010, 11:40 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Shred
Class warfare at it's finest. We really should punish the wealthy for being successful. It's only fair
Or should we let them off with trivialities just because they're wealthy? Like Channing says, $50 or $100 might be significant for some, but just toilet paper for others.

And does it make a difference if the perpetrator is a self-made man who earned his fortune, or if they simply inherited it? Do we fine Mr. Hilton differently than we'd fine Paris? What if it's Mr. Gotti who made millions via "questionable" means, or one of his offspring who simply spends and spends and spends?

But to bring it directly back on topic, the guy was doing 85 mph through a village, with traffic, shops, schools, pedestrians, etc. And he was a repeat offender, so this wasn't a simple on-time-10-mph-over lapse in judgement.

According to the court, "The accused ignored elementary traffic rules with a powerful vehicle out of a pure desire for speed." Sounds like he just didn't care, and has not cared several times before . . .

Remember, class warfare works both ways, and can be just as much about protecting the "haves" and keeping the rest from getting an honest leg up.

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post #7 of 50 Old Jan 8th, 2010, 11:45 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
Or should we let them off with trivialities just because they're wealthy? Like Channing says, $50 or $100 might be significant for some, but just toilet paper for others.

And does it make a difference if the perpetrator is a self-made man who earned his fortune, or if they simply inherited it? Do we fine Mr. Hilton differently than we'd fine Paris? What if it's Mr. Gotti who made millions via "questionable" means, or one of his offspring who simply spends and spends and spends?

But to bring it directly back on topic, the guy was doing 85 mph through a village, with traffic, shops, schools, pedestrians, etc. And he was a repeat offender, so this wasn't a simple on-time-10-mph-over lapse in judgement.

According to the court, "The accused ignored elementary traffic rules with a powerful vehicle out of a pure desire for speed." Sounds like he just didn't care, and has not cared several times before . . .

Remember, class warfare works both ways, and can be just as much about protecting the "haves" and keeping the rest from getting an honest leg up.
Spoken like a "haves not" You need to be protected? How does the equal treatment of this guy under the law prevent you from getting a leg up?? You're really stretching that argument there.

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post #8 of 50 Old Jan 8th, 2010, 12:27 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Shred
Spoken like a "haves not" You need to be protected? How does the equal treatment of this guy under the law prevent you from getting a leg up?? You're really stretching that argument there.
Trust me, I've had more than my far share of tickets over the years, so I guess you could say that I "have" plenty.

But tell me, how does a repeat offender getting fined halfway across the world affect you? Are you concerned that you'll get a $5,000 or $10,000 ticket because you happened to have a good year? So far, none of this affects our US justice system as far as I can tell, so it's all just random rhetoric anyway.

And how does one guy's fine automatically lead to "The harder one works, the more they pay" and the rest of that "The Socialists are taking over" paranoia? It doesn't.

This guy isn't being punished for being wealthy and successful. He's being punished for blatant and repeated disregard for the laws in his own community, and thus his community's legal system is responding in its own manner. That's all. If he disagrees, then let him hire an over-priced lawyer and fight it out through his own justice system.

But immediately jumping onto the Socialist Class Warfare bandwagon just seems a bit silly to me.

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post #9 of 50 Old Jan 8th, 2010, 12:49 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

The article never mentions what the Law is for Switzerand. It sounds like the court set the fee based on their perception of a particular fine should be and not the Law. I know they have discretion in their assessment, but, not that much!

I would think a repeat offender first loses his license, if he repeats, then maybe goes to jail for a short time, then maybe goes to jail for a long time. Perhaps he forfeits some property (Testarosa) along the way.

It used to be that we all valued "freedom". Take anyone's away and there would be a fight.

Looks like the rich guy bought his for $290K. That means my "get out of free card" is about $0.29. Fair deal!

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post #10 of 50 Old Jan 8th, 2010, 4:09 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Ken,

We all know that the response to the original post is really all about their dislike of Cookie and not really about some rich guy in Europe getting a huge fine.

I have never had a speeding fine (23yrs of lucky driving), but I do have an intimate knowledge of how fines are put together in England and Wales being a Justice of the Peace. I am sure that the U.S is not hugely different than here, in that the idea is to punish and to prevent re-offending (thus protecting the public).

In the US, would someone's salary not be taken into account when working out relevant fine? Here, fines worked out in the courts (not fixed penalty) are worked out using a table that takes the weekly wage into account (also taking a guilty/not guilty plea into account).

If we are talking about the topic of why someone was given such a large fine, then we can look at the reasons it was put together but if it keeps coming down to the 'haves vs have not's, we all know that it is about scoring points against a certain member who likes to visit Cuba.

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post #11 of 50 Old Jan 8th, 2010, 6:33 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

We all know that the response to the original post is really all about their dislike of Cookie and not really about some rich guy in Europe getting a huge fine.

??????????? Not sure what field that came out of.


The real question is the fine deserved? Heck no!!!!!! This is grand theft and piracy. Not to mention government gone haywire. I have been to Switzerland and loved every minute of my time there. Great countryside and people but in this case the government way outstepped its bounds.
Another thing to consider in a perfect world is that he was probably driving some high tech supercar such as a Farrari. He Has some major big bucks so most likely has some intelligence. In my eyes he is just as safe going 50mph over the limit as a moron in a beater going the speed limit.

Ken, I have seen you ride, I think you should be more sympathetic to this speeders cause,,,,,,

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post #12 of 50 Old Jan 8th, 2010, 9:16 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Just a clarification on Graham's take on my post; my post is in no way a reflection of any dislike of Cookie. In fact, I find him to be a really interesting person, an enigma if you will. And in the conversation we had regarding Communism/Statism, I found him to be a very fun guy to exchange thoughts with. I certainly don't agree with his politics, but just as certainly do not dislike him.

On the other hand, I DO take issue with the concept of waging war on individual wealth, and unfair/unjust/unrealistic penalties based on a concept of saying someone "deserves" to be treated differently because they're "wealthy".

As I stated in my original post, to reward behavior which is contrary to a successful society is to me, just asinine. To "deincentify" working hard, being fiscally responsible and staying out of trouble/making intelligent life decisions, can only have an outcome which is detrimental to society as a whole. It has nothing to do with any dislike of any one particular person.

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post #13 of 50 Old Jan 9th, 2010, 3:42 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

You're all reasoning from an american perspective, and fail to realize that the Swiss democratic processis actually more advanced than the US version.

But in order to better illustrate the situation and understand Switzerland, first a joke:

Question: how fo you recognize a poor swiss citizen? Answer: he washes his Mercedes himself.

Now, you should know that Switzerland practices "direct democracy". What this means is that its citizens get to directly vote on all of the issues. As a consequence, the Swiss government cannot impose laws voted by upper class so-called "representatives of the people" (that would be congressmen & women in the US and "députés" in France, where I'm from) who have their own agendas and line their pockets with lobby cash. If you're a swiss citizen, you get one vote, just like everyone else, it's that simple. Fair and square.

Therefore it is safe to assume that if the Swiss impose speeding fines calculated on your net worth rather than on the infraction alone, it means that a majority of citizens stand behind this practice.

I can see why this is shocking, but to be honest, if you were sitting on tens, hundreds or even thousands of millions of dollars, would 500$ fine discourage you from speeding?

Yeah, me neither.
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post #14 of 50 Old Jan 9th, 2010, 7:09 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Dislike of Cookie?

I've never met the man.

I strongly disagree with some of his views but would reserve the like/dislike part until I've met him and maybe tipped a brew or two.

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post #15 of 50 Old Jan 9th, 2010, 7:14 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Mmm...I didn't expect this thread would be such a thought provoking somewhat facinating arguement. No, I didn' t know that about Sweden.

It makes me think about the USA and the "criminal" speeding crap that we've seen lately. I guess if you do like 90 MPH here you get to go to jail, I'm not sure if its a felony off hand.

And that is in the land of Arizona, where i havent' seen a daym speed limit over 40 in this town yet! So it's pretty easy to get way over the speed limit fast, 20 over appears to be nothing in this state based on my observations.

Maybe they just figure we're all so old here we can't drive any faster

Regardless, I don't know what to think. On one hand, yes, if I was that wealthy maybe I wouldn't care about the ticket but I don't condone speeding in populated areas, residential, etc. On the other hand, wealthy folks can afford to break the law more often but where do you draw the line?

I can't complain whatsoever as many time as LEO's have let me off the hook but I've always been in the middle of nowhere when they have stopped me for speeding, not going like a bat outta hell thru a town!

One comment I definitely agree with is, its worth fighting that one...
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post #16 of 50 Old Jan 9th, 2010, 8:21 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Personally I like this idea of government very much, wish I could move over there.

I do not see this as have and have not. I see it as an intelligent way of handling penalty. A homeless guy for Public Drunkenness, and a "have" for the same offense. Which one would have the resources to avoid it?

Not sure what I am, have or have not. I am pretty sure I am a have not though. I do my best to support the Economy as I spend pretty good. I do manage to save 10-12% of my salary though.

I see this as a most perfect instance of "let the punishment fit the crime". Whether it was his, I have ego of I don't give a crap, I can afford it, that made him disobey the rules of his own Country, but IMHO he got what he deserved based on the explanation of the Judaical system of his Country.

I feel no pity, or even gladness in it, just that it seems fair based on that Country's rules.

And it shows that at least there, class doesn't mean the working guy is out classed by wealth.



Quote:
Originally Posted by gholt417
Ken,

We all know that the response to the original post is really all about their dislike of Cookie and not really about some rich guy in Europe getting a huge fine.

I have never had a speeding fine (23yrs of lucky driving), but I do have an intimate knowledge of how fines are put together in England and Wales being a Justice of the Peace. I am sure that the U.S is not hugely different than here, in that the idea is to punish and to prevent re-offending (thus protecting the public).

In the US, would someone's salary not be taken into account when working out relevant fine? Here, fines worked out in the courts (not fixed penalty) are worked out using a table that takes the weekly wage into account (also taking a guilty/not guilty plea into account).

If we are talking about the topic of why someone was given such a large fine, then we can look at the reasons it was put together but if it keeps coming down to the 'haves vs have not's, we all know that it is about scoring points against a certain member who likes to visit Cuba.

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post #17 of 50 Old Jan 9th, 2010, 8:37 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

speeding fines should be related to speed, at a fixed amount, period. If you want to send a message, charge him with something more serious, like reckless operation to endanger the public or something and throw his [email protected]@ in jail. Doesn't matter how much money you have... in jail... if you put him in and really make him stay and not let him out.

All this banter about why everyone moved to haves, have nots... If you read the op's comments, it's clear that everyone was responding to that, not to the article, and I would hesitate to say they all jumped in to beat up the op because they don't like him.

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post #18 of 50 Old Jan 9th, 2010, 2:23 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfmz
You're all reasoning from an american perspective, and fail to realize that the Swiss democratic process is actually more advanced than the US version.
Thank you for finally pointing out the obvious here. It still amazes me that some folks think the whole world should think/talk/act just like America, Land of the Free, blah, blah, blah.

This was a report on a UK news site, about an offense that occurred in Switzerland, and the fine that was handed down under Swiss law.

It does not mean that they're coming to take your hard-earned money away, or that they're declaring a war on the wealthy, or that the Socialists are coming to take over America. No, it's just a reflection of what a Swiss court did in regards to an offense committed by a Swiss driver on Swiss soil (although it was in an Italian car. ).

And for the guy who asked, no, the US doesn't base speeding or traffic fines on your net income. There is a set fee schedule that judges must adhere to, although there is some wiggle room built in for particularly heinous offenses or for an obvious and blatant disregard for the law (such as is suggested by the repeat offender comments in the linked article). And even so, it seems those fees rise every year for the same offenses . . .

The guy was doing 85 mph through a small village, where there are pedestrians, increased traffic density, limited visibility, and many other hazards not found out on the open road. That is just plain stupid no matter what you're driving or what your net worth is.

Had he been busted here in the States for doing 35 mph over the posted limit in town, he'd likely have been charged with Reckless Driving and possibly Reckless Endangerment, that is an act which is "likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm to another person." He'd have most likely been taken away in handcuffs and had to plead his case from a jail cell. These types of offenses rank right up there with Drunk Driving and can stay on your record for a very long time. In addition, he'd probably have lost his license for a year or more and still had to pay thousands of dollars in fines and enroll in traffic safety courses before being allowed to drive again.

Now perhaps the loss of his license and jail time would be a better deterrent to repeat offenders than a financial slap on the wrist (whatever he amount), but once again, this is a Swiss driver in a Swiss court, so our American ideals of justice simply don't apply.

And neither does the misplaced bravado of someone claiming that the penalty handed down within another country's system of laws is somehow unfair/unjust/unrealistic based purely on the assumption of how our US laws work. If it happened to you, in your own country, then sure, fight it to the bitter end if you choose. But if it happened in another country to someone that you don't even know, then it's all just useless speculation and posturing anyway.

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post #19 of 50 Old Jan 9th, 2010, 2:31 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjaun2
Ken, I have seen you ride, I think you should be more sympathetic to this speeders cause,,,,,,
Yeah, I remember seeing you in my rear view mirrors for the first few turns or so.

Now you know that I don't strictly adhere to every single posted law and regulation, even if or especially if the posted laws are clearly set to the least common denominator. I still believe in personal choices and in taking responsibility for one's own actions above all else.

But there is a difference in riding a lonely country road and adjusting your speed for the conditions based on your own perceptions and skill level, and blasting through a densely populated area at well over the limit. No, I don't know what road this guy was caught on, but the article clearly said he was cited for 35 mph over in a village, which to me implies driving too fast for conditions in the least and reckless endangerment at the other extreme.

That I have a problem with, which is why I simply don't speed through towns where the risks are so much greater.

Then again, if this guy had been driving his Ferrari through Malibu, he'd probably just end up with it wrapped around a telephone pole. We haven't had a good exotic car crash down this way for several months now . . .

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post #20 of 50 Old Jan 9th, 2010, 2:38 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCrider
All this banter about why everyone moved to haves, have nots... If you read the op's comments, it's clear that everyone was responding to that, not to the article, and I would hesitate to say they all jumped in to beat up the op because they don't like him.
Bingo. It's also clear that some folks immediately reacted to the huge fine with their own perceptions of how the world should work, regardless of the facts as presented. That's how we got off on the class warfare and deincentification (is that even a word?) tangents.

Trouble is, those who jump so quickly onto their own personal soapboxes are always the last to see that that's exactly what they have done, and the first to deny that they have done it . . .


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post #21 of 50 Old Jan 9th, 2010, 6:22 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
It still amazes me that some folks think the whole world should think/talk/act just like America
Could someone quote where this was said?

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
America, Land of the Free, blah, blah, blah.
Wow

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post #22 of 50 Old Jan 10th, 2010, 12:51 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

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Originally Posted by KMC1
Could someone quote where this was said?
When you take a case that happened halfway around the world and was conducted fairly under the laws that they set up to govern themselves and try to apply American laws and logic to it, then you are trying to force your own internal views on someone else.

Sure, we have the concept of equal protection (and punishment) under the law, but this didn't happen in our country, so that concept simply doesn't apply here.

Switzerland has set up their legal system as they think best, and they're simply following those rules. Whether you may or may not agree with it really doesn't matter at all. Now if they try to implement an income-based system of fines here in the US then sure, get all up in arms and fight it out of you feel inclined to do so.

And please tell me how this is automatically just another case of punishing the wealthy for being wealthy? I'd guess that the perpetrator was well familiar with his laws and the associated fines, based on the fact that he was a repeat offender. And this system was set up specifically to apply an equal "punishment" to all offenders. So the "poor" get fined as well, in an amount deemed appropriate to the offense and to their individual circumstances.

Now tell me, how does that turn into punishing the "haves" and letting the "have nots" off scott free?

I'll agree that $290,000 sounds crazy excessive, but I'm not intimately familiar enough with the Swiss fee schedule or their legal system to make that determination. And I'd venture that none of us here are, either.

A $50 fine for someone who is without a job or a $500 fine for someone who's working or just barely getting by can be a significant deterrent. But a $500 or even $5,000 fine for someone who's worth several million dollars is simply a nuisance. So the Swiss have decided to set their fines based on net worth in an attempt to levy a similar amount of punishment on all comers, rather than let those who can afford it get off with hardly a slap on the wrist.

Maybe you don't agree with that, but again, it's not your country and you aren't the one who was caught and fined so it really doesn't matter at all what any of us may think of this transaction.

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post #23 of 50 Old Jan 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

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Originally Posted by meese
When you take a case that happened halfway around the world and was conducted fairly under the laws that they set up to govern themselves and try to apply American laws and logic to it, then you are trying to force your own internal views on someone else.
Ken, you took nearly 400 words to say that what you alleged was said, never was.

You made an Anti-American statement and you've continually stated that "it's all just useless speculation and posturing anyway".

So, can I just ask you;
1) What purpose do your constant personal attacks serve?


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post #24 of 50 Old Jan 10th, 2010, 3:13 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Y'all keep trying to apply American laws and logic to a situation that occurred in a different country altogether. Sorry, but the world just doesn't work that way.

And you still haven't answered a direct question, that is, how does a perfectly legal application of a Swiss law by a Swiss court for an offense that occurred in Switzerland to a Swiss citizen turn into yet another one of your "the poor are punishing the rich for being successful rants"?

You haven't answered because quite simply, it doesn't apply here.

At least admit that you simply jumped right onto one of your own soapboxes, just as you constantly twist whatever you come across to fit your own perceived injustices of the world.

And now we're back on the personal attack soapbox? Please . . .

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post #25 of 50 Old Jan 10th, 2010, 3:23 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

If you guys want to get into your own discussion on this, take it to PMs please. If you want to keep it "in the thread" leave out the accusations based on assumptions.

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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Yes sir, Mr. Moderator sir. No problemo at all.

Although I think I'll let Kevin initiate the PMs, if he's so inclined as to continue the conversation elsewhere.

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post #27 of 50 Old Jan 10th, 2010, 4:06 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by ldbikin
Mmm...I didn't expect this thread would be such a thought provoking somewhat fascinating argument.
Funny, I knew it would be as soon as I saw it.

Although I do agree that had they tossed the guy in jail for Reckless Driving and took away his driving privilege completely then it might have had more of an impact on him than any monetary consideration but then again, it's Swiss law that matters here more than what any of us thinks.

As for treatment of the wealthy and powerful, I still remember the Janklow case where he ran through a stop sign at 70 mph and killed Randolph Scott and got off with a light slap on the wrist. Sure, he chose to resign his Congressional seat, but that was so he could come out of all this with all his pensions and benefits still in place. And also allow Janklow to get his law license reinstated so he could continue working. Imagine that, a lawyer who has been convicted of a felony being allowed to work as if nothing had changed at all.

And again, Janklow was an unapologetic repeat offender with three previous accidents and twelve speeding violations before this fatality. In fact, Janklow himself said "Bill Janklow speeds when he drives – shouldn't, but he does. When he gets the ticket he pays it."

Perhaps had Janklow previously been given a $100,000 fine or completely lost his license based on his atrocious driving record, then maybe he wouldn't have been speeding through that South Dakota intersection on that fateful day and just maybe, Randy would still be alive and with his family.

Now I know that the huge fine doesn't fit into our American legal system, but losing your license based on repeated infractions does, at least for most of us "normal" citizens. Too bad that law didn't apply equally to Janklow himself.

And to top it all off, Scott's family was unable to bring suit against Janklow because he was on "official" business at the time of the accident, and thus protected from the consequences of his actions. So much for equal protection under the law.

I've actually been to that very intersection outside Trent, South Dakota and stood there at dawn looking upon the roadside memorial. And yes, it still pisses me off.

Is that directly back on topic and non-personal enough for everyone?

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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Meese, that Janklow case leaves me speechless. Make a film about that and no one would believe it.
I never started this post to be contentious, just thought people would be astounded about the level of the fine, sure taught me a thing or two about Swiss and American legal thinking and cultural values.

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post #29 of 50 Old Jan 10th, 2010, 7:53 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
"the poor are punishing the rich for being successful rants"?

You haven't answered because quite simply, it doesn't apply here.
I'm not sure how you got to "the poor punishing the rich" either. Just another fast and loose with the facts meestake I guess....
I stated VERY clearly why I don't agree with that outlook. In fact, it was my very first response to the post.

In regards to the Janklow case, that is unequivocally a travesty. No two ways about it. The fact that he is able to walk around a free man, is an absolute travesty.

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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

And I still maintain that Swiss law was set up with a sliding fee schedule precisely to apply an equivalent punishment to both rich and poor alike. Not the exact same punishment, but equivalent. That may not be how we do it over here, and you may not personally agree with that concept, but that is how they do it in Switzerland, where this offense occurred.

And thus I still disagree that this is yet another case of the rich getting punished just for being rich, or the poor somehow getting rewarded for being lazy.

So, does that refute your original post in a clear, logical, concise, and non-personal manner?

As for Janklow, now there is a clear case of money and power getting him off just because of who he is. And that happened right here in America, where it could easily have been any one of us on that bike so to me, that's something worth getting all up about.

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post #31 of 50 Old Jan 10th, 2010, 9:09 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
So, does that refute your original post in a clear, logical, concise, and non-personal manner?
I actually don't think it does Ken. Because you're saying "that's how they do it there, so your reasoning is flawed". It's still a sliding scale based on an individual's "wealth" isn't it?
How is that NOT an attack on individually held wealth? I understand the concept that $50 to me is not the same as $50 to you. I get it. Simple. No problem.

But it still penalizes individual wealth.


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post #32 of 50 Old Jan 10th, 2010, 10:39 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

I'm saying that your immediate assumption of an attack on the wealthy and a free ride for the poor fails for two reasons.

1) Swiss law is set up to give an equivalent punishment to both rich and poor alike. In fact, exactly to make the punishment "fair" and equally punishing to all offenders.

That's where the "my $50 doesn't equal your $50" comes in. So the scale slides to an amount that is felt to be equally punishing to each offender. Yes, the amount they came up with is excessive to the point of ridiculousness, but apparently what they came up with fits under their laws and local practices. If it didn't, then any decent lawyer could get it thrown out for a hell of a lot less than the proposed fine amount.

2) A "poor" person would also be ticketed and charged and fined an "equivalent" amount for the same offense. So they don't get off free either, but are fined an "appropriate" amount as well. Again, as based on their laws and local practices.

So the system attempts to penalize the offender with an "equally" punishing fine, rather than letting the rich get off with what to them is a trivial amount of cash. This point was made and supported by the original poster, as well as several other responders.

No, this isn't an attack on the wealthy simply because they're wealthy, but rather an attempt to hold them accountable in a manner which they understand and thus might respond to.

Let's try another analogy then. Some Canadian provInces have enacted street racing laws where the offender's vehicle can be confiscated and sold off. So if I'm driving a brand new K1600LT with all the fixings and you're on a 25-year-old K75 and we get busted, is that somehow more punishing to me?

After all, I've just lost a $30,000 vehicle while you're only out maybe $2,000 or $3,000. Yet we were both busted for the exact same offense, and both punished in the exact same manner. So, am I being punished more because I happen to ride a nicer bike than you do? After all, we'd both make an equal sized dent in that bus full of schoolkids, wouldn't we?

Now I don't know what the Swiss guy's net worth is, but I'm guessing that his Ferrari is worth close to $300,000, so can't we also just say that the fine is equivalent to him losing his vehicle for being a repeat offender?

And I never said your logic was flawed. I simply stated that their laws are set up
to mete out equal punishment for all offenders, so immediately jumping on the same old "the rich get shafted while the poor get away free" refrain just doesn't fit here.

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post #33 of 50 Old Jan 11th, 2010, 5:58 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
I'm saying that your immediate assumption of an attack on the wealthy and a free ride for the poor fails for two reasons.

1) Swiss law is set up to give an equivalent punishment to both rich and poor alike. In fact, exactly to make the punishment "fair" and equally punishing to all offenders.

That's where the "my $50 doesn't equal your $50" comes in. So the scale slides to an amount that is felt to be equally punishing to each offender. Yes, the amount they came up with is excessive to the point of ridiculousness, but apparently what they came up with fits under their laws and local practices. If it didn't, then any decent lawyer could get it thrown out for a hell of a lot less than the proposed fine amount.

2) A "poor" person would also be ticketed and charged and fined an "equivalent" amount for the same offense. So they don't get off free either, but are fined an "appropriate" amount as well. Again, as based on their laws and local practices.

So the system attempts to penalize the offender with an "equally" punishing fine, rather than letting the rich get off with what to them is a trivial amount of cash. This point was made and supported by the original poster, as well as several other responders.

No, this isn't an attack on the wealthy simply because they're wealthy, but rather an attempt to hold them accountable in a manner which they understand and thus might respond to.

Let's try another analogy then. Some Canadian provInces have enacted street racing laws where the offender's vehicle can be confiscated and sold off. So if I'm driving a brand new K1600LT with all the fixings and you're on a 25-year-old K75 and we get busted, is that somehow more punishing to me?

After all, I've just lost a $30,000 vehicle while you're only out maybe $2,000 or $3,000. Yet we were both busted for the exact same offense, and both punished in the exact same manner. So, am I being punished more because I happen to ride a nicer bike than you do? After all, we'd both make an equal sized dent in that bus full of schoolkids, wouldn't we?

Now I don't know what the Swiss guy's net worth is, but I'm guessing that his Ferrari is worth close to $300,000, so can't we also just say that the fine is equivalent to him losing his vehicle for being a repeat offender?

And I never said your logic was flawed. I simply stated that their laws are set up
to mete out equal punishment for all offenders, so immediately jumping on the same old "the rich get shafted while the poor get away free" refrain just doesn't fit here.
But Ken,

that would mean to treat everyone equally, we must discriminate. And unfortunately, in this case, the Swiss choose to discriminate against a factor that a person is not (typically) born with, such as color, sex, disability. I find it very interesting (fascinating, actually) when folks who scream so loudly about discrimination of others based on factors a person has no control over feel just fine about discriminating against others because of salary or position in life or political ideology or values. And most of the "enlightened" perople I have met with that "social justice" mentality cannot even see the flaw and how it is still a serious and dangerous form of separating and categorizing people, and acting on that separation and categorization (discrimination). It is a slippery slope.

It is interesting to get a peek into Swiss mentality of fairness in this one case- I know it doesn't mean I fully understand Swiss thinking (thought I should say that before someone accuses me otherwise). In America, we try to keep standards standard- speeding (standard- set speed above the limit, set fine, since speed is speed, no matter how rich or poor you are). Once a person travels into the "gray" area (reckless endangerment), we have more flexibility and "subjective" interpretation.

Anywho, it's all shouting into he wind...

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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCrider
In America, we try to keep standards standard- speeding (standard- set speed above the limit, set fine, since speed is speed, no matter how rich or poor you are). .
The 'trying' doesn't seem to work. The Janklow case shows this.

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post #35 of 50 Old Jan 11th, 2010, 8:16 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
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The 'trying' doesn't seem to work. The Janklow case shows this.
Boy, are you right about that! In Janklow's case, I think it was more his political connections that kept him from getting what he deserved. An absolute travesty - he should have been punished MUCH worse.

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post #36 of 50 Old Jan 11th, 2010, 8:24 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
so immediately jumping on the same old "the rich get shafted while the poor get away free" refrain just doesn't fit here.
Boy. You're really into being verbose lately, eh?

I guess we agree then. It's a sliding scale which changes penalties based on a person's "wealth". It sets up a system and reflects a way of thinking, which penalizies the "wealthy".

Your point seems to be that it's a "proportionate" penalty. I understand that as I have said.

The issue for me still boils down to penalizing wealth. I don't think it's the right thing to do for a community/society. In my opinion we should not discourage individuals from amassing wealth, rather, we should promote it. Doing so encourages citizens to contribute to the best of their ability, which positively affects the entire society.

The same old moral equivilency tests, don't change that, right?

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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

I guess it all comes down to what you think the judicial system is for.
I see 3 reasons for it
1. Deterrent - a serious reason to stop people doing something in the first place and stop people doing it again
2. Punishment - a feeling that if someone has done something wrong, they feel they have been punished for it.
3. Rehabilitation - stop people even wanting to do it again.

To fine someone in proportion to their wealth covers all 3. To fine someone $60, even if they are a multi-millionaire does not cover even one of them. They will quite obviously repeat the offence.
Is it 'fair'? Yes of course - EVERYONE gets fines in accordance to their wealth.

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post #39 of 50 Old Jan 11th, 2010, 11:30 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

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Is it 'fair'? Yes of course - EVERYONE gets fines in accordance to their wealth.

And who gets to decide the thresholds at which the rates should increase? You? There's the problem- we don't even see the world the same way- so who gets to decide the threshold at which we discriminate? No, you're absolutely wrong- it is unfair! It may be effective, but there is no way you can say it is a "fair" system.

So I should not try too hard, remain poor because my obligations will then be less, and also because I have people out there fighting to get me what I should have (in their minds) anyway. And what has a society that lives this way produced that is of value to the world lately?

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•free from favoritism or self-interest or bias or deception; conforming with established standards or rules; "a fair referee"; "fair deal"; "on a ...

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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by c00k1e
I guess it all comes down to what you think the judicial system is for.
I see 3 reasons for it
1. Deterrent - a serious reason to stop people doing something in the first place and stop people doing it again
2. Punishment - a feeling that if someone has done something wrong, they feel they have been punished for it.
3. Rehabilitation - stop people even wanting to do it again.

To fine someone in proportion to their wealth covers all 3. To fine someone $60, even if they are a multi-millionaire does not cover even one of them. They will quite obviously repeat the offence.
Is it 'fair'? Yes of course - EVERYONE gets fines in accordance to their wealth.
This does not make sense to me. SO if I was "poor" and driving let say a 1985 "whatever" and i only make $30K ayear my fine should be $200 for the same offense? How is that fair to the guy that makes $100K and gets a $1000 for same offense?

Each guy has the potential to do the same amount of damage if they were to crash.

I think that is where we have the difficulty understanding the difference. I look at it as what is the outcome of the behavior or potential outcome of the behavior.

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post #41 of 50 Old Jan 11th, 2010, 1:16 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

So... if a rich guy runs down a human being, his "liability" would be the same as, say, me?

Why then should we have "insurance" to protect our particular financial condition? Why would I consider a 2 million dollar liability umbrella?

Oh.. maybe because it has nothing to do with fairness... only money.

Sounds like some folks believe "penalty" / fines are only for generating "revenue"? I certainly agree to some point...that the "penalty" process is unfair... even if applied fairly.

This is important because across our planet, "legislators" are trying to drive revenues as high as they can... plus some.
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post #42 of 50 Old Jan 11th, 2010, 2:09 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

You could say that 'fair' is fining someone a set percentage of their weekly wage so say if in the UK you were fined 100% of your weekly wage for driving with no insurance, it would affect all to a similar level.

I am sure that our perceptions of fairness are different but there is some logic to both sides.

Graham
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post #43 of 50 Old Jan 11th, 2010, 4:02 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

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Originally Posted by gholt417
You could say that 'fair' is fining someone a set percentage of their weekly wage so say if in the UK you were fined 100% of your weekly wage for driving with no insurance, it would affect all to a similar level.

I am sure that our perceptions of fairness are different but there is some logic to both sides.

Graham
I agree that on the surface it seems fair. But what if one guy won the lottery for his wealth and another sacrificed everything, doesn't have children, works his ass off, never takes vacations etc.... should these two guys get the same penalty? Think about it before you answer though - the Populist answer is "yes, of course"... but, if we have a system which penalizes wealth, where's the incentive to strive?

The second guy probably brings a lot more value to the community through providing jobs, homes, taxes, etc. than the other too - so the costs can be much more than just the lack of motivation to do better.

And I agree with NCRider. Who gets to set up the thresholds - and how are they set? Obviously when there's wealth involved there's going to be opportunity to create loopholes.

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post #44 of 50 Old Jan 11th, 2010, 6:09 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Forget thresholds - everyone pay exactly the same percentage.
Remember, we are talking about someone who is breaking the law - they have a choice here - don't break the law.

"Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect" Mark Twain


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post #45 of 50 Old Jan 11th, 2010, 6:30 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

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Boy. You're really into being verbose lately, eh?
No more than usual. Although it sometimes gets a bit tough on an iPhone keyboard.

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Originally Posted by KMC1
I guess we agree then.
We all agree that the Swiss system is set up on a sliding scale, in an attempt to make the fines proportionately equal for all offenders. But that's the easy part.

Where we continue to disagree is in the concept of punishing the wealthy. You seem to think that's the primary factor here, and it's obviously something that you're very concerned about in general, so you tend to be hyper-sensitive to any perceived instance of that.

Whereas I tend to be more concerned with the abuses that power and wealth brings, and thus I gravitate towards arguments that limit those potential abuses, or at least try to keep things more evenly balanced.

The Janklow case is a pretty clear indication of that abuse, which is one thing that we do all seem to agree on.

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Obviously when there's wealth involved there's going to be opportunity to create loopholes.
And these loopholes are what I tend to be more concerned about. So that's what trips my buttons and gets me on my soapbox.

But in this case, I don't think it's discrimination at all. Discrimination is defined as "unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice." So excluding all women from a certain golf course is discrimination. Pulling over a black man because he's driving a fancy sports car is discrimination. Pulling someone out of the airport security line just because he's wearing a turban is also discrimination. None of these has anything to do with the particular individual, they are all discriminatory based on some outward appearance alone.

But this guy was pulled over for speeding through a small village, and thus he set himself up to be targeted. He's also a repeat offender, with a callous disregard for the speeding laws. So the penalties were applied to him specifically, and raised to such an extreme level specifically because of his past and current actions.

I imagine that any one of us that was pulled over there for the same offense and with the same driving record would face the same extreme penalties if we had the same net worth.

So that's not discrimination at all, but rather as Cookie said, an attempt to deter, punish, and rehabilitate this specific offender.

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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

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I agree that on the surface it seems fair. But what if one guy won the lottery for his wealth and another sacrificed everything, doesn't have children, works his ass off, never takes vacations etc.... should these two guys get the same penalty?
Hmm, seems I already asked this question earlier, when I compared Mr. Hilton to Paris. And the answer is - it doesn't matter. This isn't about how you made your money, it's about setting a up fine schedule that will make a specific and noticeable deterrent to any repeat of this illegal behavior.

Remember, they're not randomly targeting rich folks just to bring in free cash. They're not just pulling over every fancy car they find and hitting them up for bribes. That would be discrimination, and also illegal in itself. What they're doing is applying specific penalties set by their legal system to specific drivers who disobey the law.

And the original article specifically stated that the driver was a repeat offender. In addition, it clearly stated that:

"The accused ignored elementary traffic rules with a powerful vehicle out of a pure desire for speed," the court said in its judgement.

And yes, I'd also be interested in knowing how they set such penalties, and how the scale slides based on wealth, severity of the offense, etc. But like most government systems, I doubt that we'll ever really know for sure.

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Remember, we are talking about someone who is breaking the law - they have a choice here - don't break the law.
And don't do it again and again and again, just because you think you can buy your way out of it.

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post #47 of 50 Old Jan 12th, 2010, 2:44 am
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

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Boy. You're really into being verbose lately, eh?

I guess we agree then. It's a sliding scale which changes penalties based on a person's "wealth". It sets up a system and reflects a way of thinking, which penalizies the "wealthy".

Your point seems to be that it's a "proportionate" penalty. I understand that as I have said.

The issue for me still boils down to penalizing wealth. I don't think it's the right thing to do for a community/society. In my opinion we should not discourage individuals from amassing wealth, rather, we should promote it. Doing so encourages citizens to contribute to the best of their ability, which positively affects the entire society.

The same old moral equivilency tests, don't change that, right?
The Swiss example proves that it is indeed possible to do exactly that: both promote wealth (Switzerland is an extremely weathly country, with wealthy citizens, excellent healthcare and almost nonexistent corruption) and still impose speeding fines depending on wealth.

Oh yeah, and when you get caught doing something stupid, you get punished, no matter who you are, who you know or how much money you have.

Pretty much the opposite of the US (and most civilized countires, for that matter), and all this with a banking system that prevents even their government from seeing how much money you have (except in criminal matters, tax evasion not being one).

Trouble is, Switzerland is a tiny country, plus it's boring as hell there (except for skiing) so it's entirely possible that their system wouldn't scale well. I guess the bigger you get, the more worms enter the apple...

p.s.: I'm American (and French), but definitely not Swiss. In case you were wondering.
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

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Oh yeah, and when you get caught doing something stupid, you get punished, no matter who you are, who you know or how much money you have.
In Switzerland you also get reminded by everyone when you break the law as well - I didn't realise they had a law stating that you have to switch your engine off in a traffic jam - some guy got out of his car behind me to 'remind me'! Don't even think of dropping litter, I wouldn't anyway, but I can imagine what would happen.

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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

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In Switzerland you also get reminded by everyone when you break the law as well - I didn't realise they had a law stating that you have to switch your engine off in a traffic jam - some guy got out of his car behind me to 'remind me'! Don't even think of dropping litter, I wouldn't anyway, but I can imagine what would happen.
True and true.
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post #50 of 50 Old Jan 14th, 2010, 8:40 pm
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Re: Speeding fine of $290,000

Here's a fun little read that covers quite a bit of ground. Too bad more people can't think more than 5 minutes in front of them to see what this guy sees.

Speeding and Marxism

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