Late last week President Obama made his tax return public amongst allegations that GOP hopeful Mitt Romney had something to hide in his past tax returns. In the UK there have also been calls for more transparency. After a UK Spring budget that attacked pensioners and charities there have been calls for prominent Coalition members to step up to the mark and reveal their tax returns.
The problem for politicians in the UK is that they have been shown to "bend the rules" in the past as far as expenses go. We are getting to the stage when most people in the UK no longer trust politicians at all. The most common phrase heard around the workplace, the pub or where ever is "they are all the same". This understandable attitude will in the long term have a dire effect on UK governments and open the door to extremist groups as the majority of the population opt not to vote.
Speaking on Andrew Marr on the BBC Sunday April 15 Ed Miliband reiterated that he had no problem making his tax returns public. He did however feel that calls for people such as Nick Clegg's wife to make public her tax returns were a step too far.
It seems to this blogger sad that public trust in politicians has sunk so low. Of course they only have themselves to blame but of course as usual the majority will suffer for the few. Tax returns are private. When you complete yours do you make sure that you keep a photocopy to show any person who demands access? No. Should the financial affairs of politicians wives be up for scrutiny too? No.
The trouble of course is the funding of political parties and the abuse of the system by some. In the US it appears that the tax system carries flaws which result in the richest people in society paying a lesser rate of income tax. That has to be wrong. Most right minded people who are wealthy would agree. The greedy of society may not but that is expected.
The recent furore of Peter Cruddas in the UK all but offering policy change for cash proved that our party funding needs to be overhauled. It needs to be done fairly. If the current coalition do it in a way to stack the odds against Labour and other parties then it will simply reinforce most people's perception that they are intrinsically corrupt.
Whilst opposing political parties, on both sides of the Pond, play childish games and search for a political edge the general public move ever further away from faith in them. Groups such as the Occupy Movement may be considered a joke by many but they have the passion needed for change. Perhaps governments ought to consider some of the alternatives that people may trun to in despair such as the BNP, Communism or Fascism.
So do we need to see our politicians tax returns which overall show that they have more money than is necessary and in some cases is obscene? In some cases yes we do. However that is only because over the years they have all proved themselves lacking as far as politics and fairness goes. What we do need is a tightening upmof the system to remove tax loopholes and corruption. Anything less is simply a smokescreen and nothing will change.
Tags: Tax returns, Obama tax rate, Romney tax rate, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg wife, UK political sleaze, politics