Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was clearly out of her depth when she attempted to take Elon Musk to task for supposedly not paying taxes, and the world’s richest man was nice enough to point this out to her. Warren has made a habit of attacking the man who has personally created tens of thousands of jobs and single-handedly dragged the auto-making world into the electric vehicle era, something you’d think a tree-hugging Democrat would embrace.
But no, in a CNN interview last week, Warren restated her claim that the Tesla and SpaceX founder pays “zero” taxes. Wouldn’t that be easy to fact-check in her position?
As the facts show, Musk is paying a staggering $11 billion in taxes after exercising an option to buy Tesla shares at the 2012 price. In the early days of Tesla, when the company was bleeding money by the barrel and was just another risk-taking innovator, Musk accepted stock options at the 2012 price if the company reached specific goals over the next six years.
That’s called taking a risk and believing in what you are doing, Senator Warren. So the success of Tesla elevated the $6.24 stock value in 2012, which of course was available for anyone to purchase, to its present level of over $800 a share.
In response to Warren, Musk tweeted that he is paying the highest individual tax bill in history and hopes to swing by the IRS when he’s in DC “just to say hi.” Musk speculated that perhaps someone at the agency would give him a cookie.
Warren did not take kindly to the entrepreneur being named Time Magazine’s 2021 “Person of the Year” for his achievements, instead of exclaiming that he should “stop freeloading off everyone else.”
Look up irony in the dictionary. You’ll see a picture of a Democrat calling a person who produces tens of thousands of jobs and revolutionizes space travel a “freeloader.”
At that point, Musk drew a striking parallel between the Massachusetts Senator and a childhood friend’s angry mom who “would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”
Both Forbes and CNBC estimate that Musk’s 2021 tax bill could reach $15 billion. In a report published recently by Nasdaq, Musk’s tax bill is higher than the gross domestic products of Burundi, South Sudan, and Somalia, and the 2021 tab may pass Mozambique’s as well.
Musk’s estimated worth now sits at $251 billion, and it undoubtedly seems like low-hanging fruit for progressives intent on redistributing wealth in a way they see as equitable. But it takes a genuinely short-sighted ideologue to miss the value of creating tens of thousands of jobs and an expanded tax base for their precious social programs.