My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Europe goes crazy....

This is just insane....
Last week the Swiss newspaper Blick broke the story of a guy who was caught driving above the speed limit through the town of Mörschwil and given a speeding ticket for $290,000. No, that’s not a typo — two hundred and ninety thousand dollars.

What could possibly justify such a large fine? One simple reason: The guy was rich. And under a new scheme of “progressive pricing” that’s becoming more and more common across Europe, rich people must pay higher fees for things because they can afford it — and because, well, they’re rich, and therefore deserve extra punishment.
"Traffic thug Roland S. has five luxury cars in its garage."

Blick even featured a mugshot-like photo of the offender with the shocking caption, “Traffic thug Roland S. has five luxury cars in his garage.”

Horrors! Five fancy cars?!?! What an outrage. On that count alone we should condemn him. (A rough English translation of the Blick article can be read here.)

But wait — that’s not all! The British tabloid Express pointed out that the judges deciding on the size of his fine heard testimony that Roland S. was Facebook “friends” with Formula 1 stars Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa. Unforgivable!

As to how the judges arrived at the reasonable sum of $290,000, the Express notes,
Under Swiss law he was fined for the offence, then had the sum multiplied by 130 to account for his fortune.

The penalty is the highest speeding fine handed out in Switzerland. He was ordered to pay half of it in cash immediately with two years for the rest.

He was stopped last month driving at 85mph through the town of Morschwil, where the speed limit is 50mph.
The few American papers which covered this story safely classified it as “Today’s Weird News” or “Oddly Enough!”, an anecdote presented solely for our amusement, nothing to think about too deeply.

Yet The Fine of Roland is no mere bagatelle. It may be a vision of our future. And you should care very deeply indeed.

More Than Just a Funny Story

On Sunday, AP published an article pointing out the significance of Roland’s fine: Far from being an isolated incident, it’s part of a growing trend in Europe to scale fines and fees to match the payer’s income level:
European countries are increasingly pegging speeding fines to income as a way to punish wealthy scofflaws who would otherwise ignore tickets.

Advocates say a $290,000 (euro203,180.83) speeding ticket slapped on a millionaire Ferrari driver in Switzerland was a fair and well-deserved example of the trend.

Germany, France, Austria and the Nordic countries also issue punishments based on a person’s wealth. In Germany the maximum fine can be as much as $16 million compared to only $1 million in Switzerland. Only Finland regularly hands out similarly hefty fine to speeding drivers, with the current record believed to be a euro170,000 (then about $190,000) ticket in 2004.

The Swiss court appeared to set a world record when it levied the fine in November on a man identified in the Swiss media only as “Roland S.” Judges in the eastern canton of St. Gallen described him as a “traffic thug” in their verdict, which only recently came to light.

“As far as we’re concerned this is very good,” [said] Sabine Jurisch, a road safety campaigner with the Swiss group Road Cross.
And, what happens if you are a tourist? Are you held while they do a financial investigation? Can husbands be fined because of their speeding wives?


Blogger Lucy said...

It seems a fair system to me. If the standard fine for speeding is (for example) £200, then it punishes a lower earner (could be 25% of monthly disposable income)more than a higher earner (could be 1% of monthly disposable income) so where is the incentive to stop them speeding?
If they know they will be fined proportionally to their income, then i have no problem with that whatsoever.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Francis said...

My first reaction was the same as yours, but I soon came to the conclusion that the judgment was the right one and the fine was appropriate.

Break any law you like, but if you're caught, you should expect to pay a penalty that will make you think twice before you do it again.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Lucy's Nemesis said...

I just knew Lucy would be a firm advocate of this unjust socialist money hating scheme of the Europeans.

6:27 PM  
Blogger GayandRight said... a standard fine..if you are a repeat offender, then your driving license gets taken away.

Making people pay on the basis of income would mean that unemployed people could just speed, period.

7:22 PM  
Blogger The Grey Lady said...

OMFG folks......

The sheep bleat "it is fair, it is fair", "Rich can afford it, they should pay more".

They already are paying more you silly dolts.

I tell ya what, why don't we all just don our grey cotton sackcloth suits and wait in line for the hand outs that big brother deems we are entitled too and be done with the pretence of freedom and democracy already, the sheep are killing it one lockstep at a time thru jealousy and pure unmitigated stupidity, using the government to take revenge on those rat bastards that excel at making dirty, disgusting money.

What the heck good, efficiency has a government EVER done with money, Face it they suck at it, have aways sucked at it, will always suck at it.

Sheep are the scariest animals alive.


8:49 PM  
Blogger Free Speech Czar said...

No cash cow is out of bounds for these thieving socialist governments. Why pay fines at all? Why not make a community service or jail penalty universal? It is just too tempting for cops to bust Lamborghini drivers who happen to break the speed limit and cash in. Heck, you might even earn some extra stripes back at the office that way. Sorry, guys, jealousy is not a pretense for distributing a warped socialist version of "justice." As long as a guy doesn't steal his fortune, then it is his to keep and none of our concern.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Lucy's Nemesis said...

Equal justice for all? Not if you're rich!

10:37 PM  
Blogger The Grey Lady said...

Then stop bitching how life is unfair and get rich, work hard, marry it, buy a lottery ticket I could care less, but jealousy is ugly and your attitude makes roseanne bar a regular beauty queen in comparison.

BTW why not take a look at what sucks about the justice system, why it isn't equal, why there is NO justice in this country and many other so called democracies,ya know that thing run by the state instead of gleeful cheering on of the fleecing of the most productive by the system.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous DoorHold said...

Maybe I can't fully defend myself on this, but I agree with the concept.

Fines are supposed to be a punishment, aren't they? How is a two-hundred dollar fine a punishment for the wealthy? It isn't. At all. It's nothing. A minor inconvenience, the price of ignoring the law.

As for "they'll lose their license," uh, probably not, and having someone drive you around until you get your license back is hardly a punishment.

However, "He was ordered to pay half of it in cash immediately with two years for the rest." Do the less-than-wealthy get this kind of allowance? If not, then providing a payment plan is an obvious indication that the fine was way too large.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Lucy said...

You know me too well Nemesis.

Calm down Grey Lady, dont get so excited especially if you plan to take the car out anytime soon and especially if you are in Europe. We have this great system of fining people who speed over here, you may of heard about it....

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Rick T said...

Hmmm...I'm considered by most of my friends and acquaintances to be just slightly to the right of Attila the Hun, but I have to agree with Lucy here.

A fine is meant to be a deterrent, while €200 will make me wince, it obviously will not have the same effect on...hmm..let's say the Prince of Lichtenstein (of course he has diplomatic immunity so is a bad example, but whatever).

As for Gay and Right's claim that those who are unemployed can speed with impunity, nope not with the cost of cars in Europe, (about 50% more than in Canada) gas ( it was €1.35 a litre today, you do the math), also registration tax (about €300 in my case). Whith these costs most cannot afford to operate a car, let alone speed with it.

5:50 PM  
Blogger GayandRight said...

Rick: with generous benefits, many people who are unemployed can still drive...and they can certainly from time to time rent a car.

Question: Do we really need to do a financial investigation of everybody who gets a speeding ticket?

8:00 PM  
Blogger The Grey Lady said...

Alright you have all convinced me that the ability to pay more is a "fine" form of justice, lets just take this whole concept one step further.

If it is not be equal penalty for everyone but to be of equal proportional deterrent to everyone. Then let all just transfer this to some other aspect of enforcement.... Oh I don't know... Prison Sentences shall we.

The young offenders have a looooong life to live there fore they should automatically serve longer, old folks are near death already so they should get almost no jail time. Not fair that they would have to give up more of a percentage of their time on earth. We could even figure this out scientifically based on Insurance actuary tables.

After all it is only fair and equitable...

How those jockeys fitting now?

BTW G&R your word verification has a sense of humour. The word is retrial.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous LiP said...

I think this is fair. For someone who earns millions a fine of 500euro would mean nothing, it would be as if he could break the law freely.

The penalty should affect everyone to the same point. And the point is different for everyone.

1:53 PM  
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2:18 AM  

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