Last month, Democratic leadership floated the idea of a “billionaire tax” as a way to help pay for Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Based on the fact that, at present, the richest Americans in the world pay basically nothing in taxes as a proportion of their wealth, and frequently pay zero dollars and zero cents in income tax since they are largely paid in stock, the plan proposed taxing them on their annual gains, instead of simply when they sell their stocks and other publicly traded assets. A lot of people didn’t like this idea, and, not surprisingly, the richest guy in the world with a current net worth of $338 billion was one of them. Taking to Twitter to pan the proposal, Elon Musk insisted that “entrepreneurs” are better at “capital allocation” than the “tricksters” in the government and then had the balls to claim that a tax on billionaires would ultimately hurt the middle class, writing, “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.”
Luckily for Musk and the other handful of people who make more money tweeting from their toilets than the majority of Americans will see in the courses of their entire lives, the billionaire tax died a quick and unceremonious death; within days of the Tesla cofounder’s outburst, it had already been scrapped.
But apparently it’s continued to live rent-free in Musk’s head, and on Saturday, he again took to Twitter to express what a stupid idea he thought it was. Writing, “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?” Then he put in a little poll for users to vote “yes” or “no,” adding “I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes,” and “Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock,” which was seemingly an attempt to make people feel sorry for him, but just further proves how deeply messed up the situation is. Also, yes, he doesn’t “take a cash salary or bonus,” but, we’re guessing, is still able to feed and clothe his family, likely by borrowing money at ultra-low interest rates in order to access cash without having to pay taxes on it, a process known as “buy, borrow, die.”
Anyway presumably, Musk expected most people to respond to the poll by saying, “No, of course not!” and “Fuck the feds, stay strong, brother!” and “You’re God’s gift to the universe, the government should pay YOU taxes!” Instead:
Since the poll closed, Musk does not appear to have commented on the results, or be particularly bent out of shape about them. That might be because he already planned to sell stock anyway (because he’s worried about tax rates going up), or because this whole thing is a joke to him and being able to say he cut a check for billions because Twitter users told him to is how he entertains himself. But he definitely still seems pretty pissy toward anyone who has the audacity to point out that it’s not actually fair that he pays so little in taxes relative to his wealth, as evidenced by his exchange with Senator Ron Wyden, the author of the billionaire tax (RIP).
So edgy! So cool! Kind of like the time Musk called Vernon Unsworth “pedo guy” because Unsworth, who helped rescue the children trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand, suggested Musk’s idea to use a submarine to free the kids wouldn’t have worked.
Anyway, this is probably not the last we’ll hear from Musk re: the plight of being the richest man in the world. Sorry if you are some middle-class salary-earning king who can’t understand.
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