As lawmakers spar over how to further aid the ailing United States economy, Elon Musk would like to see only direct payments be included.
“Another government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people imo,” the billionaire CEO, responsible for tens of thousands of workers’ paychecks, said on Twitter Friday.
Instead, Tesla’s CEO suggested, any follow-up economic efforts “should just be direct payments to consumers.” (Another round of direct payments is likely to happen, members of the Trump administration said this week).
His criticism of the US economic bailout efforts comes as the country fails to contain the coronavirus outbreak, leading to record levels of unemployment and economic despair. A $600 weekly unemployment bonus coupled with the first $1,200 direct cash payment have largely been credited with saving millions of Americans from falling below the poverty line. Paycheck Protection Act loans also helped over 3 million employees of small businesses avoid layoffs.
Airlines and other industries that got special grants and loans in specific legislation may also lay off workers as fallout continues. That’s likely the stem of Musk’s criticism of special interests.
“These are jammed to gills with special interests earmarks,” Musk tweeted, without specifying if the critique was of existing legislation or the options currently being weighed on Capital Hill. Republicans including President Trump have proposed a payroll tax cut as part of a second round of aid which isn’t likely to be included in a final bill.
“Goal of government should be to maximize the happiness of the people,” Musk said. “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.”
The criticisms by Musk are especially poignant given the executive’s newfound camaraderie with Trump, who sided with Musk as Tesla’s main US car factory was forced to cease production by California.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
Thousands of Tesla workers who fall below the company’s median $55,000 salary — a number disclosed in regulatory filings — likely benefitted from unemployment bonuses and the $1,200 payment. As the company opened against state orders, Tesla HR told workers they wouldn’t be forced to return, but may lose benefits.
When production resumed, multiple workers got sick.
On Wednesday, Tesla reported one of its most successful financial quarters ever, posting a profit of $104 million and helping its stock continue a months-long winning streak. In the same breath, Tesla announced a deal with Travis County in Texas and a local school district for tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks in exchange for building its factory near Austin.
As Twitter users piled on to Musk’s tweets with reminders of the government benefits Tesla has used to grow its business in Nevada, New York and more, Musk eventually decided that “twitter sucks.”
—Elon Musk 🌹 (@elonmusk)
But he keeps coming back.
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