Elon Musk slams Bernie Sanders over billionaire tax debate
Information about Elon Musk slams Bernie Sanders over billionaire tax debate
Tesla CEO and the world’s richest man Elon Musk slammed Sen. Bernie Sanders over his calls for billionaires to pay more in taxes before suggesting he may sell more Tesla stock — after he already shed almost $7 billion worth last week.
“We must demand that the extremely wealthy pay their fair share. Period,” the lefty senator from Vermont tweeted Saturday.
“I keep forgetting that you’re still alive,” responded Musk — who’s worth some $285 billion.
“Want me to sell more stock, Bernie? Just say the word …” Musk added.
The weekend exchange comes after Musk sold nearly $7 billion Tesla stock over the past week. A little over a week ago he asked his millions of followers on Twitter to weigh in on whether he should sell 10 percent of his Tesla holdings.
The poll ruled that he should sell, and he vowed to abide by the results.
Musk still holds over 160 million shares of the electric car company he runs, representing some 17 percent of the company’s total shares outstanding.
Musk previously warned that he would be selling some Tesla stock at the end of this year or early next year in order to meet tax obligations associated with the exercise of stock options he received as part of his 2012 compensation plan.
Those options are set to expire soon, Musk previously said.
Musk has also used the stock dump, at least partially, to prove the point that under current tax code, the only way he can pay taxes on his income is by selling his shares in Tesla.
The mega-billionaire has said he does not take a cash salary from any of the companies he runs, and thus all his compensation is tied up in stock, which is only taxed on capital gains once it’s sold.
Democrats last month sought to levy a tax on unrealized gains that would have targeted tech billionaires like Musk. But the Tesla CEO publicly attacked the plan, which quickly fell out of favor and died amid complaints that it would disincentive investment.
Musk’s latest clash with Sanders isn’t the first time the two have traded barbs.
Earlier this year, Sanders called him out by name, saying that he and Bezos “own more wealth than the bottom 40 [percent] of people in this country.”
“I am accumulating resources to help make life multi-planetary & extend the light of consciousness to the stars,” Musk responded, referring to his other venture, SpaceX, which hopes to eventually land humans on Mars.
And Musk has been ramping up his attacks on politicians this month. He went after Sen. Ron Wyden — an Oregon Democrat who has been pushing a wealth tax to help pay for President Biden’s infrastructure spending plans — last week, after the lawmaker responded to Musk’s Twitter poll.
Musk replied with a crude, head-scratcher of an insult, which appeared to be a reference to Sen. Wyden’s profile picture.
“Why does ur pp look like u just came?” Musk asked.