Turns out that such astronomical speeding tickets are commonplace in Europe now. Finland bases its fees on the payer’s income, including one infamous case in which the son of a wealthy sausage-making family had to pay 170,000 Euros for driving 50mph in a 25mph zone. The Norwegians take it even one step further, sentencing wealthy people to intentionally humiliating hard labor as well, such as the drunk driver who not only had to pay a $85,000 fine but also chop wood for 30 days.

The idea is catching on. Pundits in Wales want the same variable pricing scheme to be enacted in their country. And yes — inevitably — some writers have already suggested bringing similar laws to the U.S., making all fines and fees be not a fixed amount but rather a percentage of your annual income…

If all this seems a bit cockeyed from an American vantage point, remember that Europeans have an undying affection for Marx and his slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” While conservative American pundits often focus on the second half of that phrase — “to each according to his needs” — when criticizing the Welfare State and incessant government handouts, little attention has been paid in the U.S. to the first part of the slogan, because up until now it hasn’t been implemented fully.