Tesla and SpaceX Received Nearly $5 Billion in Subsidies, but Now Elon Musk Has a Problem With Government Money

Don’t you love it when celebrities go public with an opinion, only to get owned later when they contradict themselves? Ok, well, maybe you don’t love it, especially when we’re talking about the super-rich executives behind some of the world’s biggest brands – case in point, Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX.

In recent headlines, and in response to President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative, Elon Musk expressed his billion-dollar opinion, opposing much of the plan’s suggested spending. However, there is clap-back right now. It seems much of what Musk despises about the Washington proposal involves subsidies and benefits that Tesla has managed to leverage directly. So, how fair is it for Elon Musk to criticize a program plan that his own company took advantage of for growth? What’s eating him about government money?

The ‘Build Back Better’ plan and what Elon Musk dislikes most

Elon Musk attending the TIME Person of the Year event in New York City
Elon Musk | Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TIME

President Biden and the Democrats are promoting the “Build Back Better” bill, which allocates federal dollars to a wide variety of projects. The New York Times says the package includes $555 billion to address climate change, another $166 billion for housing aid, and an additional $400 billion for children and families support. However, those lofty spending earmarks aren’t what has Elon Musk up in arms

The bill also includes provisions regarding subsidies and the automotive industry. Credit can be extended, in addition to these government subsidies, for electric vehicle makers hiring union workforces. Musk argues that President Biden is operating as a “puppet” for the United Auto Workers.

Musk also disagrees with the bill’s plan to dole out the funding and subsidies to expand the nation’s charging station infrastructure. However, unfortunately for him, that portion of spending has already been signed into law.

Elon Musk’s many business ventures are benefiting

The L.A. Times points out that Elon Musk’s business ventures have already been tapping into those subsidies he despises so much. Tesla Motors, Inc., SolarCity Corp, and even Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) are reported to have collected roughly $4.9 billion in government subsidies. An analyst with Jefferies Equity Research, Dan Dolev, said, “He definitely goes where there is government money,” referring to Elon Musk’s business strategy. 

For someone who is so publicly adamant about criticizing the “Build Back Better” bill and government subsidies, the Tesla and SpaceX founder sure doesn’t mind accepting those taxpayer-funded stipends.

His real problem might be with the competition

As The Verge points out, Elon Musk says the Biden infrastructure bill should “get canned.” He recently went on the record expanding on his sentiment, saying any government subsidy offering is a bad idea. “Delete them all,” Musk said. 

Musk has told the media that the swelling federal deficit has him concerned about these subsidies and other mass spending associated with the bill. However, some speculate there’s more to it. There is rising criticism that Musk really worries about his competitors receiving the surge in funding.

Some people claim to see right through the Tesla founder’s rhetoric and criticism about the bill. These subsidies will help some of Musk’s competitors with EV development funding. It will also strengthen the voices and power of the union autoworkers. Notoriously, Musk has been a vocal critic of both beneficiaries. Additionally, he’s clashed with them on the public stage in the past.

Elon Musk may be stepping out to condemn the “Build Back Better” plan and its many government subsidies. However, there could be more fueling his concern than just the growing federal deficit. Additionally, it’s just another example of a prominent public figure dabbling in hypocrisy. 

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