In fact.....I've been thinking about this sort of thing for quite a number of years, now:
Let's say that you have committed one of the more extreme moving violations in California, and it's your first offense...
- Speeding Over 100 MPH Prohibited, first offense = $500.00 fine
That's BEFORE court costs, and various other financial penalties are added to the base fine, mind you; and, for some of the lower-order violations, the base fine is the least of your worries (according to some sources, a $35.00 base fine can result in a final assessment against you of $380.00). But, let's focus on the base fine, for the time being, while keeping in mind that it's a LOT worse at the cashier's window.
So, the median income for a full-time worker, in the United States, is $43,317.00 per year, and we'll say that's what you make.
That means that the $500.00 fine would be 1.1542812291% of your income for the year; and that hurts.
Now, the guy who makes $500,000.00 won't even miss the 1/1000th of his income for the same offense; so, why aren't we fining the guy who makes $500,000.00 per year the same percentage of HIS income?
Losing $5,771.41 has the same proportionate impact upon that person's finances and, thus, carries a similar disuassive affect on his future behaviour. $8,657.12 for the second offense, and $11,542.81 for the third....OUCH!
How about the person who drags-down several million dollars per year?
IMHO, it has long been my opinion that we should be requiring people to appear in court with a copy of their most recent 1040 filing, to have their fines assessed in a manner that impacts every infractor in the same manner. I bet you'd see a lot less "A-hole" driving out of the BMWs, Mercedes', and Jags on the road, if we did.
Move this idea into the realm of corporate criminality. Compile a schedule of fines which are percentages of GROSS corporate revenues, and hammer the ish out of corporate criminals with financial penalties that ACTUALLY HURT them.
I'd be willing to put money on corporations "suddenly" growing a conscience, and regulating their behaviour, instead of treating fines as merely a 'cost of doing business'; and it's long past the time when we should have started doing this.
Anyway....I'm going to shut-up, now.