We said it before and still stand firm that there should be no reason to derail Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch from nomination. Politics is hardball and there is a time and place for strategy as well as political give and take. This is not one of those times as this is the right person at the right time. Lynch is making headway as she won two key Republican endorsements from Senator Orrin Hatch who is the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona; we think we heard that Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is also on the same page. This is not Eric Holder and there is a clear best choice candidate. The bottom line is she only needs two GOP members and all Democrats to win approval by the Judiciary Committee. in coming weeks, since she needs only two Republican votes on the panel if all Democrats back her. From there, her nomination would move to the full Senate, where she also is likely to win approval. The fact is for the last two years of this administration it will be nice to have to end run Eric Holder and have this president hide behind his apron any longer. We trust the integrity of Loretta Lynch to always do the right thing.
We think staying on a tax theme this week is a good place to go. There will be anywhere from three to six million Americans that will have to pay the Obamacare tax penalty for not having health insurance last year. We never knew the number before so this is the first estimate for how many people will be subject to a fine. We know your next question, how much is it, the penalty is $95, or 1% of income above $20,000 for a couple. Want to do some math let use a nice even number so you can apply to your situation. A married couple with $100,000 in income will have an Obamacare bill of $797. Stop, the choice was pay $12,700 for the year or ride the lighting and pays $797, what was the better deal. The thought of that the penalty for remaining uninsured rises to the larger of $325 or 2% of income in 2015. This system was to be funded by the young people who use less high cost care, but if they can opt out and save $12K the choice is simple. Will they still not get emergency room care, then what is the point? How about one more nugget before we go there are 15 million to 30 million people will request and be granted an exemption to the mandate by filing Form 8965. Those lucky ones are undocumented immigrants, low-income Americans and those for whom insurance premiums were more than 8% of their household income.
There are now multiple sources reporting the budget cuts at the Internal Revenue Service will hamper the call center. They are hoping to use social media to help customers online. The latest is to use Twitter and YouTube to reach taxpayers this year and increase online information about filing taxes. The reason of course is a strain by budget cuts and a declining staff. They hope using these new channels will reduce the burden on its ill-equipped call center. They have been at it making YouTube videos explaining how the free file program works and giving advice to first-time filers. If you take a look at the IRS Twitter feed it is filled with links to commonly asked questions and answers and information about the effect of health coverage on tax returns this year. When you have low expectations you can always hit the mark this year the IRS expects nearly half of the calls it gets this season to go unanswered and the wait times to be north of 30 minutes. In 2014, about 85% of filers e-filed which leaves tens of millions of tax returns filed as hard copies that take more work and time to process. Refunds for those who file paper returns this year are expected to be delivered within seven weeks, if not longer. E-file refunds take about three weeks to be processed.
This week we highlight a new comer to the list. Jessica Parker Kennedy who was born October 3, 1984 in Canada. We are not sure if you or from where but we cannot take our eyes off her in the role of Max on Black Sails. The show just returned for a second and the minute Jessica batted her eyes on screen we knew we found the winner. She has been acting since 2006 and some of more famous roles was 33 episodes on the Valemont, and Lucy the Elf in the Santa Baby movies. She had a recurring role in 2012 in the revamped 90210 but we think she has hit a home run on the Starz original series Black Sails. There are plenty of reason to watch the show about pirates and there is not a lot of eye candy in the pirate world but Jessica is amazing. When you see her walk across the screen she can smolder the celluloid right of the projector. She has an amazing body and the face of angel with a perfect figure.
It has now begun as the very crowded field of potential Republican presidential candidates went to the daylong forum. This year The Iowa Summit was at the venue Hoyt Sherman Place Theater in Des Moines, Iowa. We knew that this was going to be the informal kickoff event to the 2016 campaign. We were not alone as around 1,200 people showed up but from crowd reaction on the ground it was a far right crowd. The biggest surprise was the missing candidates as neither, Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney, attended. This made them easy targets for criticism even if they did not name the person the shots were clear at whom they were intended. The list of speakers was a debate list as well Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Former Governor Rick Perry of Texas, and Rick Santorum. The best of what we saw came from Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, who stayed on message of we need to win. There were other notable speakers not running for president Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump. There were reports that Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich were in attendance, no matter how you look at it the train is on the track and away we go.
We could not let this one go. Do you know when you hear a question you think you know the answer and then when wrong the right answer makes you do a double take. Here is the question do you know which state has the highest rate of millionaires? Did you guess California, New York maybe even Florida? Those would all be good and make sense the problem not even close are you ready , Maryland. Doubletake it gets worse for the mind melt as second and third are Connecticut and New Jersey. NY and CA are not even in the top ten. Maryland has close to 8 homes in a hundred with a millionaire. We will also tell you Maryland is number one at 7.67 and Connecticut is 7.23, this is pretty sizable lead when you think about it. Here is some other food for thought, Virginia is six, Delaware is nine and D.C. is ten. There is a pattern there and we know you can see it. There is also the fact most of these are small states with small populations and there are as many good neighborhoods as bad. This is why CA and NY have trouble making the list. We also do not want to inflate the name millionaire because even a CEO a small company can make that with two years of salary as it seems like an easier number to get to these days. Unless you are poor and making $50k a year would be amazing.
We are not impressed with any policy from this White House and the latest President Barack Obama idea is no different. The latest brain storm is to scale back the tax benefits of college savings accounts. Not to mention the idea of giving free community college on one side that the tax payers must pay for while adding to an 18T debt, but a family that wants to save for college to actually pay for it we cannot afford to give them an incentive. The plan as proposed would reduce the tax benefits of future contributions to the 529 college savings plans if you already have one those would be grandfathered. The current account grows and can be withdrawn, tax-free. The money shift would be used to help expand and make permanent a $2,500 tax credit that families can use for education expenses. The push is because the current law tax credit is will expire at the end of 2017. Remember if you do not want to pay for school we can propose, but if you want to save money tax free and pay yourself, we cannot help. We are sure this will be dead on arrival in congress and it is too bad the liberal media cannot see what a joke this administration has made of the freebie and alienate the taxpayers.
It is funny how no matter who is Treasury Secretary they seem to want to do what is right for the nation and not just the president/party that gave them the job. This is the case as well with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew who think the democrat party idea to overhaul the nation’s tax laws by lowering the top income tax rate paid by individuals will not be worth it and should instead focus on simplifying taxes paid by businesses. He based this on they are so far apart anything they do if at all will be watered down. They should focus where they have more areas of agreement and that is on business taxes. This is pretty bold because in the SOTU President Barack Obama proposed raising taxes on the rich and using some of the revenue to finance tax breaks for the middle class. Talk about DOA as there is no way Congressional Republicans would use their majorities in the House and Senate to pass tax increases. There is a majority agreement that lawmakers should eliminate some targeted tax breaks and use the extra revenue to lower tax rates for everyone. The problem is which tax breaks should go and whose tax rates should be cut. Right now the top federal income tax rate for individuals and families is 39.6 percent.
We wanted to let you know about www.smallflower.com. If you have not heard about it where have you been they were established in 1875. The website and store history are amazing you need to go look at the rich history and humble beginnings of this great slice of America times gone by. Today they have it all from Natural Health to Herbs and Teas. Smallflower succeeds in melting the Old World approach and knowledge with the New World technology of the internet. They do this without losing the vision and character that made them what they were when they started 140 years ago.
What to say about the State of the Union we did watch and made it all the way through. We have some points we want to make but this is a good time for a SOTU for President Barack Obama. He had great numbers across all front going in to take credit for and we do not dispute, lower unemployment, lower gas prices, growth in most sectors and a strong financial market. We can talk about 18T in debt, ISIS and immigration, healthcare issues, but let us let them have a night. The best part was the chamber was clearly on the right. If you want some highlights when the president walked the aisle during his entrance the numbers to shake his hand were the least it has been. When he would make a liberal or left point there was not many that stood compared to those who did not and it was visible. When it concluded and the normal is for the politicians to rush the podium to get an autograph for their program or a photo the number of people doing this was small. The chamber was empty pretty fast and the victory lap was short. The speech had the freebies college, immigration, healthcare, child care and the threat of vetoes if they stray from his agenda. The president has the worst track record when bringing anything said in a SOTU to law he has only fired at 30% of even creating a bill. When 30M people watch it is all about perception and does not matter if it never happens or not.
The second women of the week of 2015 is a newcomer to the list. Beatrice Rosen who was born November 29, 1984 in New York but grew up in Paris, France where she perused acting. We have loved her a long time and was hoping for a day when she would get a show. In 2004, Beatrice started to work in films and television in 2009 film 2012 as Tamara. You might have seen her as Maya Holmes in Charmed, Dawn Stiles in Smalville, or where she first caught our eye as Gabrielle la Claire, daughter of the French ambassador in the 2004 Chasing Liberty. Most viewed movie bar far was her role as Natascha in The Dark Knight. We picked her this week because she landed on Fox in a new series as Nadia Paquet in Backstrom along said Rainn Wilson. We think she will explode from her as she can act being funny or serious, she is sexy, blonde and has a great body. This show may not make it but we have already set the DVR because we have a feeling she is going to be a hurricane of a character on this shoe based on the previews.
We know the GOP is supposed to be wide open for a candidate in 2016. We know there are as many as 24 that deem themselves worthy of a shot. We know that it is a two horse race between a Romney and a Bush in all likely hood. We want to give everyone a fair shake and that leads us to today. Word is that 59 year old unmarried Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has set up a committee to explore his chances at getting the Republican presidential nomination. He made the talking head circuit on Sunday where he sat down on Meet the Press and did the big reveal that he is now open to the option to consider a presidential bid. He thinks having his state as the nation’s first Southern primary makes him a good shot to get out of the blocks fast. The problem is if you lose there it is all over and even if you win it is considered a gimme and not given the stature of a normal win. All that being said we have been hearing since December he was thinking about it so it is good that he can just see where he stands and if he has anything to offer.
When we hear things that the GOP iss going to be smarter and leaner, we have hope. We heard they realized that 12 debates was too many and it gave the democrats plenty of ammunition against each candidate as well as their debate style. By the time Romney got to President Barack Obama they had too much material and only needed the glass ceiling for binders of woman and the 47% to put him away. Now we hear they are only a little smarter and a little leaner. The Republican National Committee is announcing plans to hold nine presidential primary debates, with the first being before the end of the summer in 2015. Maybe starting earlier is wiser we will see the first debate is scheduled for Ohio in August. The problem is as of last count there are 24 potential candidates for the debates. We did not learn too many particulars but it looks like debates in California in September, Colorado in October, Nevada in December, Iowa in January, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida in February. That leaves just three which we will assume are going to end leading up to Convention and should have a wealth of information for choosing as the process rolls on.
We love to shine a light on what we call as a working title pigs going back to the trough. The Postal Service has proposed yet another increase, this time for mailing postcards and international letters. This is not a new play as they like to make increases when you feel like they do not matter and as long as it is not a first class stamp it more than likely will not be in a news cycle. They have all you grannies covered as they will leave first-class stamps at 49 cents. We did a walk through the office and it was amazing how many siblings’ ages from 65-95 still mail letters and cards to our staff. The nuts and bolts of the increase are Letters to international destinations would go from $1.15 to $1.20. Postcards would jump from 34 cents to 35 cents if passed and they are shooting for making effective as of April 26. The Postal Service has kept coming to the well as they are after what they call a search to achieve financial stability. We have to make sure we tell you in fairness the last increase in first-class postage was 3 cents to the current 49 cents and that took place on January 26, 2014.
Since there is only three months until April 15 we thought we would freak everyone out. Here is a good piece of news minus the whole 90 days away thing. The IRS is cutting taxpayer services it does not matter that President Barack Obama health law is making filing a tax return more complicated. The agency blames budget cuts but as always we are sure this will only hurt well-intentioned taxpayers. Let us be real about the cuts as Congress cut the IRS by $346 million to $10.9 billion the lowest since 2008. So think of this way in the last six years the budget has only risen 3.1% and now they need to run on 3.1% less. We are not seeing the correlation to make this equal longer than 30 minute hold times. We promised good news and here it is last year the IRS had the lowest amount of agents auditing returns in thirty years and that number is going to be dropped by another 1,800 agents. The result will be at least 46,000 fewer audits less than one percent of individuals will have their tax returns audited. This spin is they are going to capture less money our spin is they get it enough places we are not broken up by it.