By Johnna Crider and Zachary Shahan
Elon Musk was recently awarded Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2021, and quite a few talking heads are really upset about this. In fact, they are going as far as to claim that Elon Musk doesn’t pay taxes at all and are radicalizing their bases against Elon Musk.
Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else. https://t.co/jqQxL9Run6
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) December 13, 2021
This is a tool that they are using intentionally to push an agenda, but attacking an individual in this way for how the system is structured is not fair or appropriate. In any case, Elon Musk is not “freeloading off of everyone else,” as we’ll get into in a moment.
Many members of the Democratic Party are pushing this narrative. This isn’t to say that another Trump term would have been better. It wouldn’t have been. But it does reflect just how far America has fallen. There is a relentless attack on Elon Musk for being successful … while achieving goals that the Democratic Party is typically aligned with. It makes no sense.
instead of questioning what is established fact (check the forms he's filed with the SEC), why can't you answer johnna's questions?
is it because those issues aren't for solving, but for expoiting for political capital?
— opentoridicule (@opentoridicule) December 14, 2021
Senator Elizabeth Warren contributed to a popular narrative by claiming that Elon Musk isn’t paying taxes, accusing him of freeloading off of taxpayers.
This simply isn’t true. Unfortunately, many attempts to educate about how stocks work have been met with intense criticism, name-calling, and blind hate from some members of the Democratic base who have a raging hatred for Elon Musk, and often wealthy people in general.
Recently, North Carolina political candidate Mark Judson (District 4) randomly followed me on Twitter. I saw his tweet echoing Senator Warren’s. I peacefully and respectfully yet pointedly called out the fact that members of Congress are freeloading well more than Elon Musk is. I was told by the candidate to stop taking brown acid. Instead of actually having a conversation with me, he attempted to degrade me online.
Many are using Elon Musk and his wealth to score political points, but they have manipulated their bases with lies and cherry-picked statistics, old news articles, and disregard for the actual achievements of Tesla and Elon Musk. Whether intentionally or not, they have sacrificed the truth for a particular agenda or narrative.
Elon Musk will pay over $15,000,000,000 in taxes this year, the most in American history.
— Jeff 💙✌️ (@JeffTutorials) December 15, 2021
And Americans are falling for it. They see it in the news: Elon is a bad person, a villain, and we must hate him because he is stealing from the poor. This is what several of my friends actually have told me. Yet these people didn’t lift a finger to help me when I was homeless. Elon did, despite not knowing me. He shared something I wrote to him from my jewelry blog, and those sales saved me. He also encouraged me to not give up.
Yet people don’t care about the good he’s done. They only care because of what they see on TV. Their god-like politicians are saying Elon Musk is a bad person, so they follow along and blindly hate him. Whether or not you support Elon Musk isn’t the issue here. The issue is his identity is being used by those with power to push another, darker agenda. And people are falling for it.
This is sad, yet terrifying. Many people are inherently good. Many things that Democrats fight for are worthy causes. Human rights. Women’s rights. Equality. And, yes, wealth inequality is something that does need to be solved. However, blaming people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos will not solve this problem. Using them as demons to hate just because of their success means treating humans (they are simply humans after all) in unfair and hurtful ways, attacking them in all sorts of ways just for achieving big things as the founders and heads of hugely successful companies.
America spent 20 years, $2.3 trillion, and thousands of American lives replacing the Taliban in Afghanistan with the Taliban. Imagine what Elon Musk could have done and achieved with such money.
Once politicians are done using Elon Musk, they will find another bad guy for their bases to hate. This is not the way forward to a better society.
Elon’s wealth is tied up in shares of companies he founded or cofounded, and which he led to great success despite so many barriers and so many people saying he couldn’t. He hasn’t paid much in taxes in recent years because that’s how the tax system works — you pay taxes on income, including income from selling stocks, but not on shares you own and hold for months or years. This year, Elon finally sold Tesla shares, and he is paying a record-high amount in taxes as a result. He hasn’t had his net worth sitting in a bank account — it’s in stock value that has increased dramatically as his companies have achieved more. If Tesla had gone bankrupt a few years ago like many thought it would, he would be far, far less wealthy. After years of simply holding his shares (often while Tesla was the most shorted stock on the stock market), he is selling Tesla stock and paying billions of dollars in taxes. Is that freeloading? It doesn’t seem like it.
By the way, while leading Tesla and SpaceX, Elon has created more than 100,000 jobs, generated who knows how much in various types of taxes, provided healthcare to workers across the US and the globe, and been a leading force cutting global warming emissions. Is he perfect? No, of course not. But he’s certainly not a freeloader.
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