Bernie Scolds Elon Musk for Taking Government Subsidies That Sanders Made Possible

By Steve Goreham

Originally published in WND.

In a twitter battle last week, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Elon Musk for accepting billions of dollars in government support. The exchange erupted over Sanders’ new bill to impose a wealth tax on Musk and other billionaires. But most of the payments received by Musk’s companies came from electric vehicle and solar energy programs that Sanders, green advocates, and state governments established to promote green energy.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the stock market to plunge in February and March of this year. The subsequent market recovery between March and August increased the wealth of U.S. billionaires by more than $700 billion. Last week, Senators Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a bill to tax wealth gained by billionaires during the stock market recovery.

The bill would place a 60 percent tax on wealth gained by billionaires between March and the end of this year. It proposes to use the money raised to pay health care expenses for other Americans. Analysts estimate that Musk would be required to pay a tax of $27.5 billion on his gains.

In response, Musk tweeted an image of Sanders with the comment, “Official Bernie Sanders Drinking Game! Every time The Bernster mentions a free government program, chug somebody else’s beer.” Sanders then tweeted a reply, “Every time Elon Musk pokes fun at government assistance for the 99%, remember that he would be worth nothing without $4.9 billion in corporate welfare. Oh, Elon just l-o-v-e-s corporate socialism for himself, rugged capitalism for everyone else.”

The $4.9 billion number is actually an old estimate that comes from a 2015 article in the Los Angeles Times. Payments and incentives were paid and continue to be paid to electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors and to SolarCity, companies founded by Musk. These subsidies continue under programs established by the Obama Administration, supported by Senator Sanders and other progressives, and state governments eager to promote green energy.

By 2015, Tesla Motors had received more than $2.4 billion in subsidies and tax incentives, a number that continues to grow. This includes over $1 billion in incentives to be spread over 20 years from the state of Nevada for the Tesla gigafactory. The factory produces electric motors and batteries for electric cars, and battery storage products.

Tesla also received about $1.4 billion from the state of California in tax breaks for electric car production, zero-emissions vehicle credits, rebates to buyers of electric cars, rebates for deployment of distributed energy, and job training reimbursements under the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The federal government chipped in with hundreds of millions in tax credits to buyers of Tesla cars and loans from the U.S. Department of Energy.

SolarCity gained more than $2.5 billion in incentives, with the largest portion estimated at $1.5 billion from the federal 30 percent tax credit for solar installations. The state of New York also provided more than $1 billion in the form of subsidies for a solar manufacturing facility in New York and property tax exemptions.

As a senator, Sanders voted for many of the policies that granted billions in subsidies and incentives to Musk and his companies.  For example, Sanders voted for passage of the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009, which boosted the solar energy tax credit from 10 percent to 30 percent of the cost of a solar installation.

Sanders also voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 that provided tax credits of up to $7,500 to purchasers of electric vehicles. Tesla Motors sold 200,000 electric cars to buyers able to claim this credit.

Senator Sanders and presidential candidate Joe Biden support the “Solving the Climate Crisis” report that was issued in June by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. The report calls for extension of the 30 percent tax credit that provided more than $1 billion to SolarCity. It also proposes a national mandate “to achieve 100% sales of zero-emission cars by 2035.” The report calls for billions of dollars in additional subsidies for green energy that would flow to the companies of Elon Musk and other green billionaires.

It appears that billionaires don’t deserve to grow their wealth except when they build green energy companies.

Steve Goreham is a speaker on the environment, business, and public policy and author of the book Outside the Green Box: Rethinking Sustainable Development.

78 thoughts on “Bernie Scolds Elon Musk for Taking Government Subsidies That Sanders Made Possible

    • And now he’s poking fun at Commie policy. The NPCs must be short circuiting between their love affair with Elon and Communism. The fix will probably come in the next patch update and Musk will be in the same category as the Koch brothers.

  1. Hip urban virtue-signalers and limousine liberals, along with Bug-Eyed Bernie and his fellow travelers still haven’t sussed out that Tesla automobiles are powered by coal.

    • Nor do they get that the electric car industry is dependant on third world environmental exploitation and human atrocities like child and slave labour.

      • Yes Richard …. it would be much better if those swine third world children would just quietly starve instead of working to be able to eat and letting themselves be exploited.

        /sarc/

  2. “ It appears that billionaires don’t deserve to grow their wealth except when they build green energy companies.”

    Based on this article I’d say that billionaires don’t deserve to grow their wealth EVEN WHEN they build green energy companies.

    But hey, feel the Bern, more free stuff!

    • They can make as much money as they want as long as they chant, parrot, repost, promote, and enforce The Party narrative.

  3. “The bill would place a 60 percent tax on wealth gained by billionaires between March and the end of this year. It proposes to use the money raised to pay health care expenses for other Americans. Analysts estimate that Musk would be required to pay a tax of $27.5 billion on his gains”

    I don’t think these guys understand markets or market economies although they live in the world’s largest and most successful market economy.

    Market economy and socialism don’t mix. Even the Chinese learned that.

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/05/30/wbm2001-the-private-sector-in-china/

      • They are to stupid to realize all those billionares and there companies and the jobs would just move to another country. It’s called being greentard stupid.

  4. These subsidies continue under programs established by the Obama Administration, supported by Senator Sanders and other progressives, and state governments eager to promote green energy. – article

    Oh, poor old Bernout. Short-term memory loss – or in his case, mid-term memory loss – is a sad thing, isn’t it?

    Doesn’t Bernout have tons of cash himself? Is he jealous that Elon has more than he does? Why isn’t he ragging a Bill Gates or that newly-minted Trillionaire, Buzzoff Bezos?

    And is Bernout going to contribute his fair share of cash by selling one of his many houses on a currently cash-depleted real estate market?

    Maybe Bernout is just jealous because he isn’t a gazillionaire like the Big Boys. So when is he kicking in his 60%?? I mean, fair is fair, isn’t it?

    If he sends me a draft on his bank account, I’ll shut up and go away. Well…. maybe not.

    • Bernie: “Millionaires are what is wrong with this country, let’s take their money!”
      Bernie becomes a millionaire.
      Bernie: “Billionaires are what is wrong with this country, let’s take their money!”

        • When Jordan Peterson was a teenager, he volunteered with the (socialist) NDP. Because of where he was, he was able to get to know some of the important people in the movement. He was very impressed with their sincerity and dedication. On the other hand, the rank and file of the party seemed to be fueled only by resentment.

          He later got to work with a group of businessmen. He discovered that they, far from being capitalist pigs, were quite decent people. He was very impressed with them as a group.

          So, he found the left to be a few wonderful people surrounded by many nasty resentful jealous people. The business community were many very decent and humane people and probably a few rotters (who he doesn’t mention meeting).

    • BLM is now demanding that whites will their houses to blacks, in order to prove that they are not racist.

      • In Seattle, they’re demanding that whites just outright give their homes to black people, because “black people used to live in the area”. But now that it’s “gentrified”…

        In their minds, success is failure. Sad.

        • The goal of Burn Loot Murder appears to be to crash house prices in left-wing cities so billionaires can buy them up for cents on the dollar and become even richer.

  5. Has Musk broken even on his companies yet? I thought he was still deep in the red.

    60% tax? Are you kidding me? That’s ballsy…it ain’t gonna fly, there are too many influential people that took those tax rebates/deductions..etc and they’re gonna put a fire to that bill some early night after Bernie goes to bed.

    • When the income tax amendment first passed, it was set so high that only a few hundred people, mostly in New York and California, were hit by it.

      Little did they realize that in a few years, they too would be forced to pay.

    • Has Musk broken even on his companies yet? I thought he was still deep in the red

      Broken even? Not even close. However, he did manage to get Tesla in the black for 4 quarters in a row for the first time ever. I didn’t think he had enough accounting tricks to make it happen, so kudos to Elon on that accomplishment at least.

  6. The coronavirus pandemic caused the stock market to plunge in February and March of this year. The subsequent market recovery between March and August increased the wealth of U.S. billionaires by more than $700 billion. Last week, Senators Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a bill to tax wealth gained by billionaires during the stock market recovery.

    The Dow Jones plunged from nearly 30,000 to nearly 18,000 then recovered to around 28,000. link

    Fair play is that investors lost more than they have gained, so no tax. Taxing folks on the market gains between March and now, without taking the loss between February and March into account, sounds like theft to me.

    Fair play means there’s a set of rules that everyone knows and plays by. Changing the rules after the fact isn’t fair play. I don’t know how, but that sounds unconstitutional.

    • The Dow may be down relative to it’s peak earlier this year, but that’s not the whole story. Tech stocks have EXPLODED upward, while the rest of the market is still WAY down. Tesla and Apple stock prices are nearly double where they were at in February (before the plunge). The NASDAQ composite is up more than 13% since it’s February peak. Almost the entire market rally has been concentrated in big tech stocks.

      • “…Tech stocks have EXPLODED upward, while the rest of the market is still WAY down…Almost the entire market rally has been concentrated in big tech stocks…”

        Took about 10 seconds to prove that BS story wrong. Figures don’t include the gains of the past week but come on.

        https://www.marketwatch.com/story/after-150-days-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-here-are-the-best–and-worst-performing-stocks-2020-08-10

        S&P 500 sector Price change – March 10 through Aug. 7 Price change – 2020
        Information Technology 30.2% 24.1%
        Consumer Discretionary 30.0% 18.4%
        Materials 22.8% 0.6%
        Communication Services 19.2% 8.7%
        Health Care 11.9% 4.3%
        Industrials 9.2% -7.7%
        Energy 4.9% -38.5%
        Consumer Staples 4.7% 0.7%
        Financials 3.2% -19.4%
        Real Estate -2.7% -5.8%
        Utilities -3.3% -4.9%

        Company Ticker Price change – March 10 through Aug. 7 Price change – 2020
        West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. US:WST 90.6% 82.0%
        Abiomed Inc. US:ABMD 88.7% 82.2%
        Advanced Micro Devices Inc. US:AMD 87.0% 85.0%
        PayPal Holdings Inc. US:PYPL 81.0% 83.6%
        Cadence Design Systems Inc. US:CDNS 72.5% 56.5%
        Halliburton Co. US:HAL 71.9% -39.1%
        Nvidia Corp. US:NVDA 71.6% 90.4%
        Tractor Supply Co. US:TSCO 70.3% 58.5%
        United Parcel Service Inc. Class B US:UPS 69.0% 34.0%
        Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. US:CMG 68.4% 41.0%
        Amazon.com Inc. US:AMZN 67.4% 71.4%
        United Rentals Inc. US:URI 61.6% 4.1%
        DexCom Inc. US:DXCM 57.9% 101.5%
        Apple Inc. US:AAPL 55.8% 51.4%
        Freeport-McMoRan Inc. US:FCX 55.1% 6.4%
        eBay Inc. US:EBAY 53.2% 52.9%
        FedEx Corp. US:FDX 52.1% 21.4%
        PerkinElmer Inc. US:PKI 51.2% 22.9%
        Skyworks Solutions Inc. US:SWKS 50.7% 19.4%
        Facebook Inc. Class A US:FB 50.6% 30.8%

        Health Care 11.9% 4.3%
        Industrials 9.2% -7.7%
        Energy 4.9% -38.5%
        Consumer Staples 4.7% 0.7%
        Financials 3.2% -19.4%
        Real Estate -2.7% -5.8%
        Utilities -3.3% -4.9%

        “…Tesla and Apple stock prices are nearly double where they were at in February (before the plunge)…”

        Apple’s Fri close ($459.63) is up 68% from it’s lowest Feb close ($273.36…last trading day of the month). Pretty simple math, a far cry from double, and some plunging had started before that ($327.20 was the Feb high close on the 12th).

    • “Fair play means there’s a set of rules that everyone knows and plays by. Changing the rules after the fact isn’t fair play. I don’t know how, but that sounds unconstitutional.”

      But – Western Australia

      https://catallaxyfiles.com/2020/08/14/colonel-quigley/

      https://catallaxyfiles.com/2020/08/14/democratic-banana-republic-of-western-australia-mark-2/

      https://catallaxyfiles.com/2020/08/14/democratic-banana-republic-of-western-australia-part-3/

      • The left don’t give two hoots about ‘fair play’.

        That’s the very reason we’re in the mess we’re in. The right would rather play fair and lose than play to win against the left who’ll do anything to gain power.

  7. So Apple has announced a 4 to 1 split on Aug 31 for investors who have shares owned by Aug 24.
    Apple closed at $460/share yesterday. As of that price, the new after split price per share will be $115.
    But we all know that Apple stock will most likely go back up into the $200-300 range again. When that happens, you will have doubled/tripled your money. Why should the government take any of your gain, after all, you took the risk with your money (what if it goes down)?
    On a smaller scale, my favorite REIT stock was selling at 1/4 of the historic price. I loaded up as much as I dared and now it is on it’s way back up now being almost 1/2 the historic price. My opinion is that it will continue to climb back to it’s normal price by late next year and I will reap the benefits of taking that risk. Even though this new proposed tax won’t affect me, the point remains the same. My risk, my reward.

    • And we’re talking about potential wealth in stocks here, not even cash on hand or a tangible asset. What does the Communist Sanders want, for Musk et al. to hand over stock shares to the government or forced to sale shares of the companies they started so they can pay a tax bill?

    • Many on the left actually believe that only rich people are invested in the market.
      Then again, those on the left consider anyone who has more than they do, to be rich.

  8. “Official Bernie Sanders Drinking Game! Every time The Bernster mentions a free government program, chug somebody else’s beer.”

    I see it went completely over Bernie’s head.

    • Ahh . . . does anyone else recall Musk’s claim of 3-4 years ago that all Tesla charging locations would soon be powered exclusively by solar panels.

      Have seen one such yet.

      Sic transit gloria.

    • Have seen a lot of electric utility trucks, often 5 or 6 together, traveling to help with power outages from the recent hurricane. Haven’t seen a single one carrying an emergency solar panel or pulling a trailer with an emergency wind turbine. Don’t think they’re carrying PowerWalls to restore power either.

  9. So Bernie basically admitted that his and his cronies policies are bad. He called it corporate socialism, but anyone that is read up on classic economics recognizes it as plain ol’ fashioned mercantilism. Socialist and mercantilist policies have always been the elephant on the back of capitalism.

    • In Bernies “mind”, socialism for others is bad, but socialism for himself and his friends is good.

      • Capitalist countries build walls to keep people out.
        Communist countries build walls to keep people in.

  10. Your sanators are made and have no clue.

    If you have to pay such on “gain” then they have to pay get paid when the market goes down.

  11. Bernie might have to wait a long tome to confiscate Musk’s “billions” since they are mostly in stock. Can’t tax stock wealth until the stocks are sold.

  12. “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Ronald Reagan

    “Bred lines are good.” Bernie Sanders

  13. You loose a bunch of money in the market as it crashes due to the china virus. Then the market recovers and Bolshevik Bernie wants to tax the recovered value?

    This wealth tax BS is a very bad idea. The last time an idiot in power did something this foolish, the Boston tea party was the result. Taxing capital gains is already unfair, as it’s often just a tax on inflated worth, especially in California where capital gains are treated no differently than earned income.

    If these Communists take over and start implementing this kind of nonsense, I guarantee there will be a civil war.

  14. Musk should pay back all the “green” subsidies he received, which were based on a scam. Fair is fair.

    • Darned near everything the Government does is a scam. The bright ones take advantage of it. I’m not holding my breath til they reform.

  15. These idiots don’t have a clue how economics works. The increased wealth is not Cash. It’s not like they have a Scrooge McDuck vault of gold they could just send some to the government. It is all in the stock market. So, taxing them (and having them sell of their stock to pay these taxes) would harm business, and other investors (i.e. Joe average’s retirement savings).

    • In the minds of socialists, anyone who has their own retirement fund is already part of the evil rich.
      Everyone should depend on government for everything.

  16. How dare crony capitalists scoop up all the green gravy when the proles were supposed to be knocking up EVs in their home workshops and garages to provide green jobs and save us all from the dooming. Isn’t knocking up EVs similar to growing veges and raising chooks in the backyard to save food miles and the planet?

  17. It sure seems to me Elon Musk has really upset some “establishment figures” with his successful SpaceX manned launch and recovery!

    The first time in more than 50 years a US splashdown!

    Great interview here : A conversation with Elon Musk about Starship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIQ36Kt7UVg
    Interesting point about the use of Tesla batteries in the next rocket for actuators, etc…

  18. On the local news this morning – The California Legislature is working on a Millionaire Tax right now but it won’t make it through before the session ends later this month.

    Their plan is to force all Californians to declare all their holdings, world wide; stocks, bonds, property and anything else of value (cars, boats, art work, jewelry, etc) and, if it comes to more than $30 Million, they’ll be assessed an additional 30% tax on their income above what they’re already paying. I wonder what will happen next.

    Seems a bit nuts to me. It’ll be like the bad old days where tax collectors went door to door and assessed everything you owned for a tax right down to the dog, cat and the goldfish in its bowl.

    Nuts. Completely Nuts.

    MaxP

    • Meanwhile, everyone with more than $30 million in net wealth is making plans to leave California, this year.

      BTW, don’t most Malibu mansions cost at least $30 million?

  19. Bernie did actually call , as did rival Trump in 2016, for Glass-Steagall, FDR-style bank separation. Since then Bernie got GND fever, and now Pres. Trump sees fever for what it is – quarantine it!

    FDR’s New Deal, a target of the British faction, is the way to go, with Manhattan projects for virus, water, energy, Moon and Mars. It seems Elon Musk sees the writing on the wall!

    Glass-Steagall is the bane of the WallStreet “traders” – it means they can play along with NO possible bailout from already destitute tax-payers. So Green New Deal’er British subject Mark Carney is the flim-flam man.

    Poor Bernie – the DNC really chewed him the last time and this time again, apeasment or not!

    • a target of the British faction…British subject…

      I see you’re still hopelessly lost in your evil British conspiracy theories. I’m sure there’s a psychiatrist out there somewhere that can help you with that.

  20. The “Tax” is a variant of the financial transaction tax put out as the Tobin Tax, based on Lord Maynard Keynes who was sidelined at FDR’s Bretton Woods Conference by Dexter White.

    At that time FDR’s Glass-Steagall, serious bank separation from 1934, was in effect. Clinton under pressure of impeachment repealed it in 1999 – witness the financial carnage, and worse, labor decimation, since then.

    Navarro, “blaming China”, need look no further than that repeal, called “Dodd-Frank” by MSM, a real homegrown ingrown toenail of Walstreet’s most infamous strutted.

    Time for a trimming anyone, before China makes Armageddon-Mike Pompeo a parody before the world’s cameras? Rapturous will it not be!

  21. Yeah, Dems want to tax the rich.

    Meanwhile, they fought against COVID aid packages that didn’t increase tax deductions for rich NY and CA folks.

  22. Bernie Scolds Elon Musk for Taking Government Subsidies That Sanders Made Possible

    This is really bad style. Its known as ‘elegant variation’, avoiding using the same word twice out of the mistaken fear that its bad style to do so. You should simply repeat the expression and not try to avoid using the same word twice. Its clearer, more pointed, and reads better.

    Thus:

    Sanders scolds Elon Musk for taking Government subsidies that Sanders [himself] made possible.

  23. These politicians and commentators:
    (1) argue for tax incentives to shape people choices (tax breaks, huge differences in taxes over products, rebates on “clean” products, overcharges on “dirty” products…)
    (2) argue that tax optimization is the same as fraud, and trying to pay as little as possible is stealing from “public services”, so anyone influenced by (1) is guilty, and any success of (1) is a crime.

  24. I think we can conclude the advancing age of the Democrat political leaders is clearly showing. We can see (when they dare present him) Joe hairy leg Biden has passed his political sell by date. It now looks like Bernie is rapidly heading down the same road to dementia, if he thinks taxing stock gains while allowing allowing stock losses to be taken on the balance sheet’s chin, is fair.

    • Bernie and his ilk don’t care about fair. They’re just looking for more money to fund their socialist vote-buying giveaways.

  25. Worth remembering (indeed, Orwell noted this some 75 years ago) that those on the Left have NO problem whatsoever in holding opposing views, depending on context.

    Well done Bernie the Buffon for confirming that this still happens. We see it in the UK Labour Party all the time.

  26. Of course the amount of CO2 released by his Falcons (44,000 launches needed to run his low oribt network) completely outweighs any (if at all) CO2 gains from electric cars.

    Makes you wonder if he couldnt have got funding to NOT put stuff in space. Hmm, that sounds like an easy money maker! Getting paid to NOT do anything! In fact that is what wealthy landowners have been doing in the EU for decades. Being paid not to develop their land. The rest of us just go to jail if we build with out a permit.

    NOw that is what I call privilege!

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