The LA Times reports:
Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multibillion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space.
And he’s built those companies with the help of billions in government subsidies.
Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times. The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.
“He definitely goes where there is government money,” said Dan Dolev, an analyst at Jefferies Equity Research. “That’s a great strategy, but the government will cut you off one day.”
So he has become a billionaire through corporate welfare.
And the other beneficiary of this welfare is wealthy car owners:
Charles Lane of the Washington Post said: “Tesla owes its survival to subsidies from taxpayers, who are usually less well-heeled than its plutocratic customers.” The average household income of Tesla owners is $320,000, according to Strategic Visions, a consumer research company.
Tesla buyers have also raked in $38 million in California government rebates (they receive a $2,500 rebate for each Tesla bought) and $284 million in federal tax incentives (they receive a $7,500 federal tax credit for each purchased Tesla).
The Los Angeles Times calculated that Elon Musk’s three companies, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX, combined have received a staggering $4.9 billion in government support over the past decade. As Kerpen noted: “Every time a Tesla is sold . . . average Americans are on the hook for at least $30,000 in federal and state subsidies” that go to wealthy Tesla owners. This is crony capitalism at its worst.
It’s almost obscene.