The Tesla CEO said a second coronavirus aid package would be ‘jammed to the gills’ with special interests
While Americans are waiting to see whether Congress passes another stimulus package next week to help individuals and industries endure the coronavirus crisis, Elon Musk has this to say:
“Another government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people.”
The CEO of Tesla
and SpaceX explained in a Twitter
thread that went viral on Friday afternoon that while he does support universal basic income, he believes that any coronavirus aid coming from government legislation will be tainted by special interests.
“Goal of government should be to maximize the happiness of the people,” he wrote. “Giving each person money allows them to decide what meets their needs, rather than the blunt tool of legislation, which creates self-serving special interests.”
He added that stimulus packages are “jammed to the gills with special interest earmarks,” and that he supports “direct payments to consumers” instead.
His words drew many derisive responses from readers pointing out that Musk’s own companies have received almost $5 billion in government subsidies. What’s more, Texas officials have reportedly voted to give Musk at least $14.7 million in property tax rebates if Tesla spends at least $1.1 billion on its proposed “gigafactory” near the Austin.
“Elon Musk whose company Tesla and his wealth were possible thanks to government subsidies,” wrote one Twitter follower.
“Imagine spending months negotiating an agreement to line your pockets with $15 million in taxpayer money… and then turning around and criticizing giving $600/week to people who are unemployed during a once-in-a-century pandemic,” tweeted another in a comment that’s been liked more than 3,000 times.
Still others bashed the tech billionaire — whose net worth was $66.6 billion on Friday afternoon — for weighing in on a stimulus bill with the potential to help millions of Americans keep their businesses open, buy food and avoid losing their homes. During the last round of stimulus checks, most Americans said they used the money to pay their bills, followed by putting it in their emergency savings and spending it on essentials like food.
What’s more, the extra $600 in unemployment benefit, which is set to lapse on July 31, on top of the nearly 30 million Americans who have already lost their jobs during the pandemic, may mean consumers will have even less money to spend in stores and online.
“Says the guy who can pay his f—ing bills,” wrote one Twitter user in response.
“We are barely surviving at our business and have gone to working 20 hour weeks to ration out the small amount of business we are getting,” wrote another respondent, who accused Musk of “tweeting from your ivory tower” with no regard for what most of the country has had to deal with to subsist during the pandemic.
Musk’s response to all of this? “Twitter sucks,” he tweeted, with a rose emoji.