" If Elon Musk’s various projects are so fabulous, why do they all need government “help”?"
Because there are much more subsidies given to gas guzzlers that continue to pullute and poison the world. Without any protection, Elon Musk can still make money, but at a slower pace, thus allowing the gas guzzlers to continue polluting the world even longer.
It has never been a question of Electricity taking over Gas Guzzlers. It is just a matter of time. It is just that we need to speed up the process by subsidising the electric and other clean energy sources of energy.
It is not actually subsidising, we actually just has to pay for the effects of allowing the gas guzzlers to continue dumping poison into our atmosphere without any restriction at all. Just imagine a scenario where everybody is allowed to throw rubbish all over the places without any restriction at all and without any cost.
There are two ways of solving the problems. One way is just to pay to clean the rubbish which we already do. By cleaning the rubbish, we prevent diseases such as cholera from becoming prevalent. We do not do that with the gas guzzlers. As a result we suffer from chronic respiratory diseases that are known as well as unknown. The medical costs are subsidies that we all pay in order to allow the gas guzzlers to operate without any restriction in dumping poison to the atmosphere. This line of argument is used by Elon Musk and it does make sense. For less crowded places like Sabah, the costs are negligible but for crowded places like Beijing, the gas guzzlers are making life unbearable to the point that clean air bottles are bought at high prices in Beijing.
This author is also dishonest. He did not explain the subsidies that SpaceX competitors had. Boeing and NASA had subsidies that are 1000 times more than what SpaceX had. Read Elon Musk's comments about this. As to SpaceX, despite being so innovative in delivering loads to space much more cheaply than NASA and its contractors, be told to compete with NASA that had subsidies from the US tax payers amounting to trillions of $. Is it fair? Can SpaceX or any other innovative startup space technology companies compete against such highly subsidised companies and survive? Absolute nonsense if you think they still can without any single help from the tax payers.
The subsidies to these other companies may not be so obvious but just look at the subsidies that GM got from tax payers in order to save it from bankrupcy and later on continue producing gas guzzlers. Also imagine the subsidies that were doled out to banks that had created the worst financial disaster the world has even seen. What is 4.5 billion US $ compared to the trillions of US $ spend on worthless and more damaging causes. As damaging as the subsidies given to the US military that destroy the world without solving much of anything. We can always use arguments that justify the subsidies but why should we ignore the more valid and worthwhile causes of Elon Musk companies that need to be supported in the wake of worst and more substantial subsidies dole to his competitors that are more keen on destroying the world by keeping existing and outdated practises.
"GM is happy to accept government “help” when offered, but it is not necessary for taxpayers to bankroll the production of Corvettes — nor provide thousands of dollars in cash incentives to each prospective buyer in order to “stimulate” sales."
GM can also get similar subsidies as Tesla but why does it want them? Of course. GM prefers the easy subsidies without much string attached. Continue producing vehicles that can pollute the world while heavily subsidised by the tax payers.
"The real difference between Elon Musk’s operations and those of say General Motors is that General Motors’ products are fundamentally viable while Tesla’s are not."
This is a blatant lie and illogical. If it were viable, why does it need government help? It was not viable in the face of competition from more efficient car manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan, that produce less polluting cars compared to GM.
To say that Tesla is not viable is just an accusation without any basis. The amount of subsidy is small compared to the price. Similar subsidies are also available for competing car manufacturers that produce the same type of vehicles, i.e. electric cars.
The typical Tesla “buyer” also has an annual income in excess of 1,006,300.00 MYR ( $250,000).
Why are taxpayers — the majority of them not earning 1,006.30 MYR ( $250)k annually — being taxed to support the “purchase” of electric exotic cars by extremely affluent people?
Ask them also if they are happy about the trillion $ subsidies doled to banks and GM? Certainly not, but the unhappiness is much less for the Tesla than for GM. Just because there are some happiness does not mean that the project is useless. It is a question of the lesser evil. We just cannot please everyone, and just because Tesla annoys a little of the tax payers does not mean that it is as useless as the other much much bigger recipients of subsidies. And yet, they author seem to think tha GM is justified in taking the much bigger and worthless subsidies compared to Tesla, a made and designed in USA product that is innovative and competitive compared to foreign cars such as BMW and Toyota. Absolutely nonsense and idiotic. 4.5 billion $ is a small price to support a promising company that will make US more competitive again instead of the trillion $ spent on GM and others that continue the provenly wrong and uncompetitive practises.
If Elon Musk’s various projects are so fabulous, why do they all need government “help”?
Shouldn’t Tesla — and Solar City and SpaceX — be able to stand on their merits … if they actually have merit?
That is, economic merit.
Tesla fanbois — and Musk himself — will tell you all about the virtues of his electric cars. They are sleek and speedy. This is true. But they are also very expensive (the least expensive model, the pending Model X, will reportedly start around 140.88 MYR ( $35)k, about the same price as a luxury sedan like the Lexus ES350) and have a number of significant functional deficits such as a best-case range about half that of most conventional cars and recharge times at least four to five times as long as it takes to refuel a conventional car.That’s if you can find a Tesla “supercharger” station. If not, then the recharge time becomes hours rather than half an hour.
But the real problem with Tesla cars is that no one actually buys them.
Well, not directly.
Their manufacture is heavily subsidized — and their sale is heavily subsidized.
Either way, the taxpayer (rather than the “buyer”) is the one who gets the bill.
On the manufacturing end, Tesla got 5.23 MYR ($1.3) billion in special crony-capitalist “incentives” from the state of Nevada to build its battery factory in Nevada. This includes an exemption from having to pay any property taxes (unlike you and I) for the next 20 years. Another inducement was 784.91 MYR ( $195) million in transferable tax credits, which Tesla could sell for cash.California provides similar inducements — including 60.38 MYR ($15) million from the state of California to “create jobs” in the state.
Tesla does not make money by selling cars, either. It makes money by selling “carbon credits” to real car companies that make functionally and economically viable vehicles that can and do sell on the merits — but which are not “zero emissions” vehicles, as the electric Tesla is claimed to be (but isn’t, actually, unless you don’t count the emissions produced by the utility plants that provide the electricity they run on, or the emissions produced mining the materials necessary to make the hundreds of pounds of batteries needed by each car).
Laws in nine states (including California) require each car company selling cars in the state to sell a certain number of “zero emissions” vehicles, else be fined. Since only electric cars qualify under the law as “zero emissions” vehicles — and the majority of cars made by the real car companies are not electric cars — they end up having to “purchase” (quotes for the same reason that you are a “customer” of the IRS’s) these “carbon credits” from Tesla, subsidizing Tesla’s operations and adding to the expense of manufacturing their own functionally and economically viable cars.
The amount Tesla has “earned” this way is in the neighborhood of 2,081.03 MYR ( $517) million.In effect, Tesla is a newfangled taken on the welfare queen. Or more accurately, the EBT card — which is designed to look like a credit card. To have the appearance of a legitimate transaction … as opposed to a welfare payment.
Underneath the glitz and showmanship, that’s what all of Elon Musk’s “businesses” are about. They all depend entirely on government — that is, on taxpayer “help” — in order to survive.
Without that “help,” none of Musk’s Teslas could survive.
" He “succeeds” only because of his ability to game the system, not by offering products that people are willing to pay for (using their own money, that is)."
The author seem to forget that Tesla cars are also best sellers in countries that offer little or no subsidies to Tesla.
These buyers are willing to pay the full price but getting subsidies is just a bonus to them so that they can buy some more eco friendly cars for their daily use. Instead of buying gas guzzlers that will pollute the environment, they will spend less time on poisoning. That is a worthwhile investment for all tax payers. These rich people are the worst offenders of the environment because they have more disposable income compared to the poor people or countries.
Elon Musk – the businessmanIt is estimated that Musk’s various ventures — including his new SolarCity solar panel operation and SpaceX — have cost taxpayers at least 19.72 MYR ($4.9) billion, with Tesla accounting for about half of that dole.
Elon Musk fanbois will counter by pointing out that other businesses — including the car business — also get “help” from the government (that is, from taxpayers), which is perfectly true. But that’s not much of a defense — much less a refutation of the charge that Musk is a crony capitalist.
Which is all he is.
The real difference between Elon Musk’s operations and those of say General Motors is that General Motors’ products are fundamentally viable while Tesla’s are not. GM is happy to accept government “help” when offered, but it is not necessary for taxpayers to bankroll the production of Corvettes — nor provide thousands of dollars in cash incentives to each prospective buyer in order to “stimulate” sales.
Tesla could not build a single car without the government’s help. Or rather, the actual cost would be so prohibitive that virtually no one would buy a Tesla.
As it is — even with massive subsidies at the manufacturing level and then again at the retail level — each Tesla still “sells” at a loss of several thousand dollars per car … and still carries an exotic car’s price tag.
The typical Tesla “buyer” also has an annual income in excess of 1,006,300.00 MYR ( $250,000).
Why are taxpayers — the majority of them not earning 1,006.30 MYR ( $250)k annually — being taxed to support the “purchase” of electric exotic cars by extremely affluent people?Why should taxpayers be made to subsidize any of Elon Musk’s “businesses”?
He’s a billionaire. And — we’re constantly told — a really smart guy. Surely he could fund (or find) the private capital necessary to fund his various projects. The fact that he could not find private — that is, willing — investors but instead has to rely on the coercive power of the government to fund his projects speaks volumes about the fundamental worth of his projects.
He “succeeds” only because of his ability to game the system, not by offering products that people are willing to pay for (using their own money, that is).
The heroic real-life Tony Stark image notwithstanding, Elon Musk is an operator — not a creator of value.
Elon Musk has more in common with the vulture capitalist oligarchs of the former Soviet Union than with the namesake of his electric car company.