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Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter fight with Bernie Sanders on tax policy


U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) greets reporters as he arrives for a vote on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. November 1, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk sparred with Senator Bernie Sanders over tax coverage this weekend on Twitter, and tried to impress him once more on Monday morning.

In keeping with his web site, the impartial Senator (who typically caucuses with Democrats) is a proponent of transitioning the U.S. power system to renewables, offering $200 billion to a Inexperienced Local weather Fund, and different environment-oriented insurance policies that may serve Tesla properly.

However he’s additionally a proponent of climbing taxes for the super-rich, as is Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, who Musk needled on Twitter in an analogous change earlier in November. Musk, who has the best internet value on this planet at the moment, is staunchly towards a so-called “billionaire’s earnings tax.”

Final week, Musk sold about $6.9 billion worth of stock. (As of Monday morning, Musk nonetheless holds greater than 166 million shares within the firm.) In current weeks, gross sales from Musk and different insiders have put strain on Tesla shares. Final week, Tesla inventory declined 15.4%, marking the corporate’s worst one-week performance in 20 months, and its worst week ever excluding declines within the first quarter of 2020 because the coronavirus pandemic despatched markets tumbling. Tesla was down one other 3% in late day buying and selling on Monday.

As his sell-off continues, Musk will face a probably large tax invoice. Nevertheless, as ProPublica reported, Musk beforehand paid a 3.27% true tax fee, or $455 million, on wealth development of $13.9 billion. Musk, who had an precise taxable earnings of $1.52 billion in the course of the five-year interval, paid no federal earnings taxes in 2018, in accordance with ProPublica.

On Twitter, Sanders has amassed a following of greater than 15 million, and Musk has amassed a following of 63.8 million.

The spat begins

On Saturday, the 80-year-old Vermont senator wrote in a tweet, “We should demand that the extraordinarily rich pay their fair proportion. Interval.”

Musk replied the subsequent day with, “I maintain forgetting that you just’re nonetheless alive.” Musk additionally requested Sanders on Sunday, “Need me to promote extra inventory, Bernie? Simply say the phrase.” Then, the CEO berated the senator saying, “Bernie is a taker, not a maker.”

Musk tried to have interaction Sanders as soon as once more on Monday.

He requested, “Okay, how a lot do you suppose is honest? Does 53% appear cheap?”

When Sanders didn’t reply to him, a Musk fan remarked that the senator does not reply to followers on Twitter typically. Musk requested, “How do we all know he hasn’t been kidnapped by aliens!?” Musk continued to carry forth on Twitter, discussing his tax coverage preferences with followers and followers together with promoters of bitcoin and Tesla.

In his tweet exchanges, Musk revealed that he would help an property tax, and taxes on what he referred to as extravagant consumption.

The CEO additionally mentioned he at present owns round 20% of Tesla’s inventory.

Sen. Sanders and Tesla didn’t instantly reply to requests for feedback.

In 2020, Musk put his California mansions available on the market whereas he was sparring with state well being regulators over Covid-19 restrictions that impacted the Tesla manufacturing facility in Fremont. He then moved to Austin, Texas, close to the positioning of a brand new Tesla manufacturing facility that is below building.

This yr, Tesla moved its headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas, as properly.

Transferring from California, with the best state earnings tax within the nation, to Texas, which has no state earnings tax, may save Musk billions of dollars primarily based on his compensation package awarded in 2018