Why Elon Musk is a Poor Person’s Worst Nightmare

Why Elon Musk is a Poor Person’s Worst Nightmare

Now we all know this is not true… So I thought maybe some of you might want to respond in the comment section of this “Opinion” piece. I will be very interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on the subjects he brings up in his article, positive and negative.

SMinnihan | 17. Dezember 2013

Poor people should not be paying taxes to help subisidize the rich buying a tesla. Regressive tax.

Garn | 17. Dezember 2013

I would agree, but it has not only been Tesla that has used these tax incentives. Take the Hummer for example, it had huge tax incentives, way more than the Model S, and I don’t recall much negative press over it at the time. And that is just one of the many examples. So I think it’s unfair to single out Tesla on this.
I wish I could find the article (I looked for it) I read a few months back about these tax incentives and how they do affect the tax payers. If I recall correctly these tax credits don’t really cost the regular tax payer as much as one would think. (I’ll keep looking for it and post it if I can find it.)
Thanks for the response

Brian H | 17. Dezember 2013

The poor have worries from DC far, far larger than tax breaks on electric cars. Oinker has boosted the NPV of the debt to 222 Trillion. You could buy the country many times over with that.

Garn | 17. Dezember 2013

I’m still unable to find the article, but I recall it saying something to the affect that you can look at the tax deduction really as just a discount off the car price, and the taxes lost off the purchase are not truly passed on to the other tax payers. For example, they do not raise the taxes on the lower income families only because these incentives were given to Tesla owners. Now I understand this is a very tricky subject, and I’m guessing there is some debate over how the losses of these taxes are, if at all, made up. And that I would like to understand better. So if anyone has any information to share please do. We can’t assume just because someone received a $7,500 tax credit for purchasing a MS that the government made up for it by raising taxes on lower income families. Ok, we can ass-u-me that, but I don’t think we “should” do that. :)

jags | 17. Dezember 2013

Utilities were subsidized also when installing their grids and infrastructures. And.. wait a minute, wasn't PG&E the one that had to pay hundreds of millions USD for soil contamination with heavy metals some years ago? And aren't the owners and major stockholders of PG&E and from all other utilities from upper class, millionaires or even billionaires too?
About tax incentives, so it's better everything to stay as it is? No incentive is given to evolution and a future less depending on oil?
Here in Portugal we pay more for our KWh than in the US, it's true. Maybe 50% more. But ours is greener. We already produce more than 60% of our energy based on renewable sources, and we could produce around 80%, right now, if only the Utilities that use carbon sources, would not have signed strong-armoured contracts with the government to protect their production quot... so it's a political issue, not technological, even today. And all this is important, because apart from environmental and sustainability issues, each USD/Euro that we don't give to the Arabs, is a buck that stays in our economy. So tax incentives, in the end of the day, return to the tax payer pockets.

Yes, low-middle class don't buy Tesla cars neither install roof solar panels to produce electricity. But maybe they will find a job in one of these new industries, for example. And how many jobs have the original car manufacturers created in the last years in US? And utilities, how many jobs created?... just pay a visit to Tesla, or Solar City or Space X and we see hundreds, maybe even thousands of new job positions offered in these 3 companies combined alone, and don't forget that these 3 companies work with a network of hundreds or thousands of other companies, contractors and suppliers, in US and abroad, that also create jobs and boost the economy.

GeekEV | 17. Dezember 2013

Through various deductions, credits, etc., many "poor" people I know get 100%+ of their taxes back on their return. So how exactly are they contributing to Tesla?

Skotty | 17. Dezember 2013

There is sometimes a double standard on the right. If a tax credit is for something they like, then it's a good thing that reduces taxes. If it's for something they don't like, then it's government welfare.

Garn | 17. Dezember 2013

Excellent point GeekEV.

And jags, thanks for your input as well. There are many examples like the ones you gave.

It just upsets me that someone has it out for Elon and writes negative press about him without giving much in the way of facts, just “opinion”. I have paid attention to almost everything Musk has done and either he is an excellent snake oil sales man or he truly believes in what he is doing and in trying to help all of mankind. Just like he said at the top of one of the shareholder’s letters, profit is not one of Tesla’s main goals.

comerbr81 | 17. Dezember 2013

Poor people in this country don't pay federal taxes.

In addition, the strategy of Elon Musk seems to be bringing new technology into markets at the very high end of the market, and once volume is established, using manufacturing efficiencies to drop the price where a lot more people can afford the cars. Tesla's customers are actually doing the rest of the country a favor by helping to make advanced technology available to more people in the long run, and by using less oil which should stimulate the economy for everyone. Assuming Tesla makes it in the long run. Finding a way to reduce the cost of oil will have a huge financial impact on the poor. The poor pay a much higher percentage of their income on electricity and oil.

I don't know much about Solar Panels and am somewhat skeptical about the real potential of solar energy. I believe in tax subsidies for new technologies that are promising. Where the government really hurt the poor in my opinion, was granting authority for natural gas export terminals, while not providing subsidies for natural gas commercial trucks and fueling infrastructure in this country.

Mel. | 17. Dezember 2013

The Earned Income Tax Credit is money that people that make less than 50,000 can get if they pay no taxes, and have a couple of children. If they pay no taxes they can get a payment from the government of about 5000 dollars or less.

Rocky_H | 17. Dezember 2013

Dang it! Mel, you beat me to it. I was just about to bring up the child tax credit folks stealing money from the people who don't have children.

Mel. | 17. Dezember 2013

Rocky_H, you go right ahead on the child tax credit. The child tax credit is for each child . The Earned Income Tax Credit was put in to encourage people to work., you do not need children to collect the Earned Income Tax Credit.

PXChanel | 17. Dezember 2013

Bearman's article criticizing Elon Musk's innovation and creativity is shocking. He seems to think that we should go back to the Dark Ages when nothing new was created and knowledge was actually lost. Humanity regressed at that time. All of Mr. Musk's projects are advancing the human condition. If anything we need more innovators like Elon and less negative people like Bearman.

Webcrawler | 20. Dezember 2013

The poor do not pay any taxes anyway.... They typically get back more than they pay in....

Pointless discussion....

petochok | 22. Dezember 2013

Bottom line is those who feel they are being robbed of their tax dollars should understand that their "investment" will return to them in a form of fuel savings when they start driving that affordable EV, the development of which was stimulated by the above mentioned incentives.

Haeze | 23. Dezember 2013

You are looking at it with too narrow a view. In my view, every dollar of our tax subsidies have gone to producing an affordable EV.

If Tesla had jumped immediately into the affordable EV market, they would not be able to support a sustainable business model and the company would have failed before it got the word out about the benefits of electric vehicles. You have to have a sustainable model before you can afford to lose money producing affordable cars.

They have been on track with almost every goal they had toward producing the GenIII vehicle. They have done their testing with the Roadster, they have done their refinement with the Model S/X, and now that they have that knowledge, they can produce the GenIII. It isn't an overnight process.

If they hadn't done their testing with the roadster, then all of the roadster's shortcomings would be in the affordable model... Namely, it would not have Supercharger capability, it would have a less sophisticated battery pack that doesn't offer the space savings/longevity/reliability of the current Model S pack, and many of the safety features would not be available. This would make the GenIII a flop, and would reinforce the idea that EVs can not be profitable.

Tesla's business model has been proven to be the right path to take, and I have every confidence they will execute well when the GenIII comes out. Your artificial deadline of 2015 is simply unreasonable. By 2017 though, you will change your tune.

Brian H | 23. Dezember 2013

"Unreasonable" isn't the word. He's trying hard to stick a pole into the spokes. One of the dogs yapping along behind the fire engine.

bonaire | 23. Dezember 2013

The EV tax credit is nothing.

In my area, our power company has gotten a $200 Million grant from the DoE. To install smart meters on homes. But there is nothing of value coming after that. No time of use meters, no attractive programs for customers other than the Act 129 program which lets them turn off your A.C. on hot summer afternoons for 15 minutes. It is a jobs progam for our large-city suburban area.

DoE has blown a lot of money in the last few years. Whether it will prove of any value in the long run (ie. this century) or was overspent on fat programs that would have occurred anyway is hard to tell.

hcwhy | 26. Dezember 2013

Rich people, middle class people, and poor people all breath the air and call earth home. Advancing technology that helps clean the air and create a sustainable society benefits everyone.