Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has posted some strong criticism of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and his recent title as TIME Magazine’s 2021 Person of the Year. The longtime politician called for a change in the country’s tax code so that Musk would “stop freeloading off everyone else.”
“Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else,” Warren wrote. She later posted a follow-up tweet featuring an edited TIME Magazine cover with Elon Musk and the words “Tax Me.” The edited image also showed statements indicating that the CEO got $240 billion richer during the pandemic, and that Musk paid $0 in federal income tax in 2018.
Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else. https://t.co/jqQxL9Run6
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) December 13, 2021
“When someone makes it big in America—millionaire big, billionaire big, Person of the Year big—part of it has to include paying it forward so the next kid can get a chance, too,” Warren wrote.
Musk, who is poised to pay $15 billion in taxes this year for selling 10% of his TSLA holdings, has spoken out about how he believes billionaires should be taxed. During his appearance at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit, Musk explained that his marginal tax rate is actually pretty high — about 53%, in fact. And this, following Musk’s selloff of some of his TSLA shares, would result in the CEO paying a record amount of $15 billion worth of taxes this year. Musk also expressed some criticism of the government’s skills in capital allocation.
“First of all, I pay a lot of tax. My marginal tax rate is like 53%. That’s not trivial. Obviously, there’s asset-based taxes, the sales tax, and everything else. There’s also the estate tax. Generally, I think the estate tax is a good tax. If you think of assets beyond a certain level, that are far beyond let’s say, somebody’s ability to consume, then at some point what you’re really doing is capital allocation.
When someone makes it big in America—millionaire big, billionaire big, Person of the Year big—part of it has to include paying it forward so the next kid can get a chance, too. https://t.co/OQUYXf5kIq
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) December 13, 2021
“So it’s not money for personal expenditure. It does not make sense to take the job of capital allocation away from people who demonstrate great skill in capital allocation and give it to an entity that has demonstrated very poor skill in capital allocation, which is the government. I think of the government essentially as a corporation. It is simply the biggest corporation with a monopoly on violence, and where you have no recalls,” Musk said.
Musk currently stands as the richest person in the world, with the CEO being listed with a net worth of $254 billion, $97.6 billion of which was added year-to-date, as per data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This increase was primarily driven by the rise of Tesla, which has become a trillion-dollar company that made electric vehicles mainstream. Musk, through his numerous ventures, also employs about 100,000 workers across the globe, allowing his companies to provide jobs to those who are qualified, regardless of whether they have a college (or even a high school) degree or not.