TSA Made $674,841 from Travelers’ Loose Change Last Year

TSA Made $674,841 from Travelers’ Loose Change Last Year

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
By Yuval Rosenberg

That loose change in your pocket really adds up…for the government: The Transportation Security Administration collected $674,841.06 in quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies left behind by busy travelers at airport security in fiscal 2014.

In 2005, Congress allowed the TSA to put unclaimed money toward its security operations. The agency says it “makes every effort to reunite passengers with items left behind at the checkpoint, however there are instances where loose change or other items are left behind and unclaimed.” That money is turned into the TSA’s financial office.

Related: 10 Outrageous Items Confiscated by the TSA in 2014

The amount collected has been climbing each year since 2010. The 2014 total is almost $37,000 more than the agency collected the previous year and nearly $300,000 more than was left behind in 2008. In all, over the past seven years travelers have gifted the TSA $3,557,538.39.

Yes, that’s $3.5 million in spare change the agency has added to its coffers courtesy of harried travelers.

Maybe the yearly total have been climbing because travelers are increasingly engrossed with their smartphones, or maybe it’s a sign that the economy has perked up a bit so they no longer care to scoop up those nickels and dimes. Maybe it’s just that getting through a TSA checkpoint is such a hassle that travelers are willing to donate a few coins to be done with the process several seconds sooner.

Whatever the reason, here are the 20 airports where travelers left behind the most spare change in 2014:

Top Reads from The Fiscal Times:

Hospitals Sue to Protect Secret Prices

iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times
By The Fiscal Times Staff

As expected, groups representing hospitals sued the Trump administration Wednesday to stop a new regulation would require them to make public the prices for services they negotiate with insurers. Claiming the rule “is unlawful, several times over,” the industry groups, which include the American Hospital Association, say the rule violates their First Amendment rights, among other issues.

"The burden of compliance with the rule is enormous, and way out of line with any projected benefits associated with the rule," the suit says. In response, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said that hospitals “should be ashamed that they aren’t willing to provide American patients the cost of a service before they purchase it.”

See the lawsuit here, or read more at The New York Times.

A Decline in Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment

Dr. Benjamin Hoffman speaks with Nancy Minoui about 9 month old Marion Burgess, who suffers from a chronic heart condition, at an appointment at the Dornbecher Children's hospital in Portland
NATALIE BEHRING
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Between December 2017 and July 2019, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) fell by 1.9 million, or 2.6%. The Kaiser Family Foundation provided an analysis of that drop Monday, saying that while some of it was likely caused by enrollees finding jobs that offer private insurance, a significant portion is related to enrollees losing health insurance of any kind. “Experiences in some states suggest that some eligible people may be losing coverage due to barriers maintaining coverage associated with renewal processes and periodic eligibility checks,” Kaiser said.

Tweet of the Day: The Black Hole of Big Pharma

A growing number of patients are being denied access to newer oral chemotherapy drugs for cancer pills with annual price tags of more than $75,000.
iStockphoto
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Billionaire John D. Arnold, a former energy trader and hedge fund manager turned philanthropist with a focus on health care, says Big Pharma appears to have a powerful hold on members of Congress.

Arnold pointed out that PhRMA, the main pharmaceutical industry lobbying group, had revenues of $459 million in 2018, and that total lobbying on behalf of the sector probably came to about $1 billion last year. “I guess $1 bil each year is an intractable force in our political system,” he concluded.

Warren’s Taxes Could Add Up to More Than 100%

iStockphoto/ James Group Studios, Inc.
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin says Elizabeth Warren’s proposed taxes could claim more than 100% of income for some wealthy investors. Here’s an example Rubin discussed Friday:

“Consider a billionaire with a $1,000 investment who earns a 6% return, or $60, received as a capital gain, dividend or interest. If all of Ms. Warren’s taxes are implemented, he could owe 58.2% of that, or $35 in federal tax. Plus, his entire investment would incur a 6% wealth tax, i.e., at least $60. The result: taxes as high as $95 on income of $60 for a combined tax rate of 158%.”

In Rubin’s back-of-the-envelope analysis, an investor worth $2 billion would need to achieve a return of more than 10% in order to see any net gain after taxes. Rubin notes that actual tax bills would likely vary considerably depending on things like location, rates of return, and as-yet-undefined policy details. But tax rates exceeding 100% would not be unusual, especially for billionaires.