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House Republicans Unveil Details in Tax Reform Plan: Challenges Expected

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House Republicans unveiled a tax plan Thursday, a bill the GOP has touted as the most far-reaching overhaul of the U.S. tax code in more than 31 years. House Republican leaders have also promised the plan would make sweeping changes in corporate and individual taxes, including deep tax cuts, limits to the mortgage interest deduction and bigger family tax credits.

The unveiling of the GOP tax overhaul plan was initially earmarked for Wednesday, but pushed back as Republicans put the finishing touches on an exceedingly complex piece of legislation.

The plan’s introduction marks the start of an ambitious legislative timetable: President Trump said Tuesday he wants the House to pass its bill by Thanksgiving and that he wants the legislation on his desk by Christmas.

“There’s never been anything like this in the history of our country,” Trump promised. “Its cuts and its relief and it’s also reform.”

The president’s deadline is contingent upon how lawmakers, industry lobbyists, and the public receive the details of a plan hashed out in secret, many of which will involve politically difficult tradeoffs designed to keep the cost of the GOP plan under $1.5 trillion.

If GOP tax plan results in 401(k) changes, will Americans save less? A few Republicans could derail the fragile tax reform effort over one key provision Republicans are unveiling their tax plan Thursday. Photo Credit: Omaha World Herald

What Republicans have publicized about their proposal to this point have been the benefits: a cut in the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from its current 35 percent, collapsing seven income tax brackets for individuals to three or four, doubling the standard deduction, and expanding the child-tax credit.

The sweeping tax overhaul plan includes provisions that are likely to stoke controversy and fierce lobbying, including limiting the deduction of mortgage interest for newly purchased homes up to $500,000, according to a summary.

This is not the first rodeo for the GOP when it comes to their desire to cut taxes—which according to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R- WI)—has not happened since 1986. The GOP tax overhaul is top priority moving into the 2018 elections—hence lawmakers are clinging onto the hopes of a victory after the Obamacare repeal failure.

Despite the president’s bravado—the big reveal on Thursday—packaged in fine print—is not written in stone. Republicans on Capitol Hill recognize the steepest climb remains ahead of them.

“Make no mistake, all hell’s going to break loose when that House bill becomes public,” Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana told CNN. “It’s taking a big ole piece of cheesecake and putting a bunch of spinach on top and saying, ‘You can’t eat the cheesecake ’til you eat the spinach.”

Kevin Brady says many aspects of the tax code are in play, days after President Trump tweeted that the retirement savings program would be unchanged. Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal

The House bill will have to survive a markup in the Ways and Means Committee next week, and Senate Republicans are working on their own proposal, though it’s expected to be broadly similar. Thursday’s announcement, however, will provide answers to several important questions that have vexed Republican legislators for months.

Who Will Pay More?

The president’s apparent preference for a clean tax cut faces hurdles because the House Republican proposal will be a broader and more complicated shift in who owes what to the government.

As GOP leaders have reluctantly acknowledged, some people will likely see their taxes go up. “Yes, some Americans probably will” pay more, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy conceded on Fox News. “Because you know what we do? We close the loopholes.”

The 429-page “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” includes a broad set of proposed changes to the corporate and individual tax system, building off a nine-page framework the White House and congressional Republican leaders dropped in September.

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, the author of the tax bill, has said the House should pass the plan by Thanksgiving.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Brady and other House Republican leaders touted the bill in a press conference Thursday with promises the plan would save the “average” family of four [$1,182] annually on their taxes.

Despite the GOP promises to everyday Americans, various income groups would likely benefit in different ways from the plan. The plan remains ambiguous for many—on how the gains would be distributed among different income groups and localities.

Read more about the proposed GOP tax plan in the  “Business Insider”

 

By LeNora Millen                     11-02-17

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Lifestyle

Freedom Is A Choice! “I am grabbing God’s coattail and letting Him lead”

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Freedom has a deeper meaning for those like Omar Howard. Just a little over a decade ago he was released, seemingly free from the restraints of prison. Yet, walking out of the doors he had no clue he would be entering into the harsh prison of life that follows those like him who have a record. That record makes it hard for them to have the basic level of freedom that most of us who have never been down that road take for granted. Howard is like multiple men and women who are released from jail with a plan to change but have to fight the “system”. Howard describes his “beginning” as working endless opportunities just to make ends meet and being told “no” repeatedly. It would have been easy for Howard to just go back to the life of crime. Why wouldn’t he? Why didn’t he? His response, “You have to make a conscious decision to change every day. Life is about choices, every choice leads to a destination and you have to believe God is in control”. This thought process and his tenacity led him to his current place and receiving his pardon January 2018, just a month after celebrating his ten year release.

Howard was 15 when he dropped out of school and started down a path to destruction. Hard robbery was the crime that would ultimately change his life and leave him with no choice but to accept a plea deal that resulted in an 18 year sentence from a “hit” that left a man being killed. Howard maintains his innocence in the murder and has apologized to the family for the part that he played. Although he doesn’t blame his childhood for his choices, he does state that it’s important that parent’s play an essential part in the lives of the children that you bring into this world. “Parental intimacy is important, create structure for your kids and let them know how much you love them. Fathers, be a part of your children’s lives or they will embrace their counterparts for support. Be transparent and talk to your kids about real issues.”

When asked, What would you say to your younger self? Howard responds, “Establish a relationship with God. Embrace the process, strive harder and KNOW THAT YOU HAVE A PURPOSE.” The same thoughts he now shares with the youth that are involved with his foundation “Freedom is a Choice, Inc., a mentoring program for at-risk teens. It is evident that Howard is a changed man, as a Chaplain at the Atlanta Transitional Center in midtown, he speaks hope to those who are where he once was. He is a featured speaker in the documentary “Released” When Does the Sentence End?” and most recently shared his story on Iyanla Vanzat’s “Fix My Life” show. He is a man of action and on a mission to keep as many young men from walking in his shoes by exposing them to better. He is a sought after motivational speaker and hopes to extend his program to have one of the largest faith-based youth centers very soon. It is nothing short of amazing, but his ability to serve and give makes him a blessing.

Read more about The Omar Howard Story. 

 

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Lifestyle

Is This Life?

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Media headlines are displaying disaster all over the world with no resolve. From children being killed in innocent shootouts because of the flaws in gun laws to sexual abuse cases on the rise. Our government has gone haywire and currently dominating the spotlight while, deadly diseases and mental illnesses are being minimized. Is this life? Is this what life is becoming? Every morning we wake up to the sound of breaking news and headlines that make us cringe. Positive stories and encouraging words have become harder to find. When asking others, “How do you deal with the negative energy every day?” Some reply, “I don’t. I don’t watch the news, or I don’t listen to it.” My reply is usually this, “It isn’t just on the news. It’s walking or sitting right beside you and sometimes it’s even in your household. There are people suffering every day because of the things we don’t do, don’t want to see, or simply don’t want to get involved in.” We have been conditioned to not get in anyone else’s business unless it affects us personally. Look around you, open your eyes. It’s now affecting us all and we must do something. This is a call for action. It’s time we all unselfishly take part in rebuilding our communities. Make it your business to do something intentional every day in an effort to make a change in your community and begin to push everyone including yourself out of the comfort of just accepting what is. We are losing innocent lives every day to drug abuse, domestic violence, hunger, contaminated water and the list of disasters that are happening right under our nose increase, every second, every minute and every hour of every day.

You may be wondering what you can do to promote positive change in your community, here is a start:

  • Volunteer at shelters-Everyone has something they can provide-share your expertise. Help by donating your goods and knowledge.
  • Volunteer at schools-Teachers need more mentors and positive role models. We all have a story, share your experience and give a child a blueprint to a better life.
  • Spend quality time with your kids and your family- We get so caught up in life that we forget to nourish what we have already been blessed with. Take time to water the seeds you planted.
  • Contact your political partners and work with them on change for your community. What do you see in your area that would be an easy fix to reduce crime or poverty. Make a plan and Expose it!

There are so many things that we can do to change the direction of this world but WE must work together for the good and it doesn’t matter what religion, race or sex you are-we all have something in common. We want the best for our families.
Post and share your thoughts on what you can do to expose and improve your community. Hashtag#exposuremagazine #isthislife

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Cubs Sign Pitcher Yu Darvish to $126 Million Deal in Preparation for Next Title Run

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Making one of the biggest splashes this off-season, the Chicago Cubs have added pitcher Yu-Darvish, formerly of the Los Angeles to their talented, but imperfect roster.

The deal for Darvish standing at $126 million also comes with an opt out clause along with performance clauses to increase the value of the deal. The Cubs had been in talks with Darvish for a good portion of the last season, but now apparently was the best time for both parties.

Despite the unceremonious ending to last season in the NLCS, the Cubs have been in a better place these past several seasons than they have been in a long while. The signing of Darvish to say the least is a very good insurance policy to sustain this run.

With names like Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks, Darvish will complete the rotation for one of the most talented group of pitchers in baseball. However this move seems to nudge Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta who is currently a free agent to the door. Arrieta had an up and down season with flashes of greatness, but ultimately didn’t make the best case to remain with the ball club.

Wild Card Game - Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta

Darvish brings a 2.4 ERA against National League Central opponents as well as his all-time MLB leading 11 strikeouts per nine innings ratio to the Cubs which makes this the pickup many other teams are coveting right now. The Cubs begin spring training in a week and can begin integrating Darvish then in preparation for the upcoming season.

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