Billionaires Longevity and Low Taxes

Paul Krugman wrote an opinion piece where he rants against future radical life extension. Krugman fears that it will only be available to billionaires.

Krugman scenario is that Peter Thiel would still be alive, wealthy and healthy in 2067 when Peter is 100 years old. Sergey Brin would be 94 in 2067.

Krugman’s bizarre fantasy is that in 2067 people will rise up globally to demand high taxes on the rich and remove medical options from billionaires apparently because of the affront of 100-year-old tech billionaires keeping their wealth. This is in spite of 100-year-old billionaires today keeping their wealth and paying low taxes or the wealthy hiring the best accountants to pay low taxes every day now.

The latest Forbes count is there are over 2,153 billionaires.

Chang Yun Chung is 101 years old and has a net worth of $2.2 billion. He is a shipping magnate. Billionaires living pretty healthy pas 100 years of age has already happened.

The 20th oldest billionaire is Martha Ford. She is the widow of William Ford. William Ford was the grandson of Henry Ford. Martha has a net worth of $1.9 billion. The motivated wealthy like the Rockefellers and Fords have maintained wealth through three to seven generations and are continuing to pass on wealth.

Li Ka Shing is 91 and both his sons are already multi-billionaires and his children will inherit his empire.

The Wealthy Can Pay Very Low Taxes

There are many countries without inheritance taxes. The OECD inheritance tax average is 15%. It is trivial for anyone with over $30 million in wealth to find a low tax home and ensure that their descendants get all or almost all of their wealth. The wealthy can shift tax locations and the different categories of income. They can shift between salaries, capital gains, dividends and corporate profits. Overall current tax rates can range from zero to 15%.

Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and many other corporations have been paying almost zero in tax.

The Affluent Live Longer and Rich Can Do a Bit Better

A study of US tax records from 2001 to 2014 found that the richest 1% of men live an average of 14.6 years longer than the poorest 1%. The wealthiest women live 10.1 years longer than the poorest. Between 2001 and 2014, the life expectancy gap grew 2.34 years for men and 2.91 years for women in the top 5% of the income distribution.

Men in the top one-fifth of America by income born in 1960 can on average expect to reach almost 89, seven years more than their equally wealthy brethren born in 1930. Life expectancy for men in the bottom wealth quintile remained roughly stable at 76.

Living healthy and to age over 90 should be expected by any careful billionaire. So why does Krugman go crazy if any of the billionaires still have their wealth in 2057 versus 2067?

Krugman fixated on Peter Thiel who is gay and currently has no children.

In 2018, China overtook the USA in healthy life expectancy. Chinese newborns can look forward to 68.7 years of healthy life ahead of them, compared with 68.5 years for American babies, the data – which relates to 2016 – showed. American newborns can still expect to live longer overall – 78.5 years compared to China’s 76.4 – but the last 10 years of American lives are not expected to be healthy.

This is despite Americans having almost ten times the income per person than people in China.

People can increase their longevity.