One of the richest people in the world appears to have died, and nobody noticed.
A quick look at Forbes' Real-Time Billionaires list of the world's richest people will show familiar names like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett. In this day and age, it would seem impossible for someone to accrue that much wealth without also attaining the fame, or infamy, that comes with it.
But were it not for an eagle-eyed economist from Wharton, none of us would have ever known that there is someone out there whose potential total wealth is $35 billion... or was $35 billion.
According to the Daily Mail, John Ricco, associate director of budget analysis at Penn Wharton Budget Model, was perusing the daily reports made by the U.S. Treasury Department, when they stumbled across a report from February 28. Within that seemingly mundane report was a record of $7 billion collected by the Treasury Department from a single individual, "...the highest single-day collection since at least 2005."
Daily Mail reports that "...a Treasury Department spokesman confirmed it did not make a reporting mistake, and an IRS spokesman said that it was unlikely the result of a backlog." As for who this money came from, the Treasury Department will provide no information due to privacy rules.
So any information we have on this mysterious billionaire has to be gleaned from that February 28 report, and refined with a hearty amount of deduction as speculation. Here's what we do know, per Daily Mail:
"The tax was either collected when someone worth $17.5 billion died - or if they transferred a colossal gift of the same sum. This would put them in the top 100 richest people in the world, ranking alongside the likes of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and Jeff Bezos's ex-wife MacKenzie Scott."
So we don't know for a fact that this mysterious billionaire is even dead, since they may have simply gifted someone $17.5 billion and paid the resultant tax. It's even possible this is the result of a wealthy American divorcing a non-American spouse. But applying Occam's Razor, odds are a wealthy American somewhere in the world just learned "You can't take it with you" firsthand.
As for their potential total wealth, the Tax Policy Center's calculations put it at around $35 billion, which the Daily Mail notes "...would make him one of the 100 richest people in the world, according to Forbes'list." To which we'd like to point out, the assumption of gender is a bit presumptuous. We can't begin to guess the preferred pronouns of the now-probably-dead billionaire who seemingly hoarded their wealth like Smaug in The Hobbit, and we won't try.
So just who had all this wealth that's now been transferred to the treasury? Was it a child of generational wealth, galavanting about the globe until their dying breath? The kingpin of a criminal enterprise who always greased the proper palms to keep the Feds at bay? Is it D.B. Cooper, having made some really good investments with that $200k in hijacking money?
It's D.B. Cooper, isn't it? You know what? Let's just all pretend it is until we know it isn't. Makes it all more fun.2023-03-31T18:51:22Z dg43tfdfdgfd