Deckplate Leadership

Posted: January 14, 2010 by bshockle in Editorial/Commentary
Tags: ,

by Bobby Shockley

In the Navy, deckplate leadership is a slogan that was created to get the senior enlisted leadership to re-engage itself into the lives of their subordinates. The premise behind the slogan is that when you find out what’s going on, you can then direct resources to fixing whatever problem may exist. Moreover, by getting a clue, you may also become aware of emerging issues that could impact the performance of those within your division, department or command.

I do believe that we are devoid of political deckplate leaders. Far too long, it seems that our leadership has been far too concerned with those at the top or those at the bottom of the economic food chain. Policies put in place have done very little to ease the economic burden of the middle class. Middle class tax relief is needed. We have witnessed the federal government’s bailout of banks-only to have Wall Street reward its top executives with huge bonuses. We have witnessed federal and state legislatures kill the aptly named “death tax” and now, one of the measures that may possibly be looked at in the Commonwealth of Virginia is doing away with the corporate tax rate.

In all fairness, let me pronounce that I am not a fan of the “trickle down” economic theory. I am one who firmly believes that you can accomplish more by utilizing a common sense bottom up approach. My methodology is this: the more you allow individuals to retain of their hard earned dollars, the more they will spend and save.

Some specific areas where this common sense approach could be instituted are childcare expenses and overtime/second job expenses.

Childcare expenses are straining the middle class. Many families classified as middle class are classified as such because they subsist on two incomes, and these two incomes are not ensuring financial security. Childcare expenses are eating up a good portion of one of the incomes. According to some estimates, childcare expenditures are rising just as fast as heath care expenditures. To begin addressing this issue, the government should consider increasing the amount allowable to be deducted for childcare expenses in the tax code.

End taxes on pay derived from second jobs and overtime-up to $10,000 per year. Why do this? People working second jobs and overtime are doing so, because they are trying to get ahead. Because of increases in college tuition, healthcare, childcare and other expenses, many need to work extra hours or get second jobs to maintain their current lifestyle. The ultimate question is: Why are they being penalized for working harder?

America will only go as far as its middle class can propel it. True tax relief for the most productive segment is just as important to our global competiveness as reducing the tax burden of our corporations. The leadership of this country needs to get out of the boardrooms and onto the sidewalks if it really wants to find out what’s going on on the deckplates.

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