Tuesday, June 13, 2017 by Ethan Huff
If the quintessential public welfare abuser had a corporate replica, it would be Elon Musk and his multibillion-dollar trio of companies: Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp., and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., also known as SpaceX. As successful as these three entities appear to be on their own, the truth of the matter is that none of them would even exist were it not for Musk’s crafty ways in swindling governments out of billions in taxpayer dollars to subsidize his various pet ventures.
It is estimated that since their respective launches, Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceX have together benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government welfare payments. This means that everyday working folks are having a portion of their hard-earned wages handed over to Musk so he can pump out more Model S electric sedans, for instance, which typically sell to buyers who, on average, boast household incomes of about $320,000.
From the very beginning, Musk has centered his attention towards extracting as much cash as he can from the public coffers to fund his endeavors. This includes taking advantage of every incentive, grant, tax break, and environmental credit available at both the federal and local level. When this isn’t enough, Musk has been known to go even further, bringing together state leaders to compete for his business by doling out even more money.
The ways in which Musk obtains taxpayer funds for his various business ventures closely resembles what someone who’s addicted to food stamps might do to keep the E.B.T. card loaded without actually having to work. The public-private financing model upon which he relies is the primary means keeping Musk’s businesses alive, as neither Tesla nor SolarCity have yet to operate in the positive.
“He definitely goes where there is government money,” stated Dan Dolev, an analyst at Jefferies Equity Research, to the Los Angeles Times. “That’s a great strategy, but the government will cut you off one day.”
This hasn’t happened yet, though. In fact, Musk seems to be expanding his financial maneuvering whenever and wherever possible to seize an even greater share of the welfare pot for his companies. He recently smooth-talked New York State into contributing $750 million towards a new SolarCity manufacturing plant in Buffalo. SolarCity’s annual rent will be just $1, and the company will not be required to pay property taxes at the site for 10 years.
Meanwhile, New York taxpayers will be footing the bill, even though many of them could never afford to purchase SolarCity solar panels, even with the small subsidies offered by the government. They’ll also have to continue paying property taxes on their own homes and businesses, while SolarCity – which, again, wouldn’t exist without taxpayer money – gets a free ride for at least the next decade.
Or how about the $1.3 billion in incentives the state of Nevada recently awarded to Tesla to develop a large battery manufacturing facility near Reno? This incredible feat was accomplished after Musk aggressively negotiated with Nevada lawmakers for more than a year, pitting the leaders of other states against them to maximize his welfare handout. By playing welfare hardball, Musk was able to convince Nevada lawmakers to actually forego giving incentives to other industries such as film and insurance to instead funnel it all to him.
In Texas, a small community at the southern tip of the state awarded Musk’s SpaceX company with a generous $5 million benefits package that includes infrastructure spending and subsidies. These subsidies include a 15-year property tax break from the local school district, which means $3.1 million less for local schools, and $3.1 million more for SpaceX. And this is all in addition to the $10 million that the state of Texas also awarded to SpaceX for the apparent privilege of having a Musk facility on its land.
Each state, including Texas, that’s cooperated with Musk in giving him everything he demands has done so under the pretense of creating more jobs, and thus more revenue. The leaders of these states have been more than eager to gulp down Musk’s Kool-Aid because they really believe that what he’s bringing to the table in terms of innovation will far exceed their initial investment.
This may end up being the case eventually. But as of now, a lot of Musk’s endeavors are still a pipe-dream in terms of actually paying off. Things get even more complicated when considering that he isn’t even keeping simple promises like releasing Tesla cars that are actually affordable to the average person like he said he would.
“In the early days at Tesla – when the company first produced an expensive electric sports car, which it no longer sells – Musk promised more rapid development of electric cars for the masses,” writes Jerry Hirsch for the L.A. Times, noting that Musk promised in a 2008 blog post to release a sedan costing no more than around $40,000. That, of course, never happened.
“In fact, the second model now typically sells for $100,000, and the much-delayed third model, the Model X sport utility, is expected to sell for a similar price. Timing on a less expensive model – maybe $35,000 or $40,000, after subsidies – remains uncertain.”
Bre Payton, writing for The Federalist, put it oh so well when she described Musk as “a pretty shady dude who preys on taxpayers by pressing on progressive lawmakers’ soft spot for renewable energy.” She says that both SolarCity and Tesla “have a reputation of sucking the marrow from taxpayers in the form of mandates, rebates, and tax breaks.”
NaturalNews would agree, based on Musk’s extensive track record of milking the system for his own personal gain – in the name of helping the environment and paving the way for a renewable future, of course.
Sources for this article include: