Elon Musk has continued bashing the Biden administration’s tax credit legislation designed to spur electric vehicle adoption, this time suggesting that the entire bill be scrapped. Included as part of the Build Back Better Act that’s focused on addressing various social, infrastructure, and climate issues, Musk suggested the entire text simply be done away.
“Honestly, I would just can this whole bill,” he stated at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit, appearing remotely from Tesla’s construction site in Austin, Texas.
Though it’s doubtful that he read the complete text, which is actually a menagerie of social programs (e.g. free college admissions, increased funding for Medicare and Medicaid, investments into alternative energy businesses, increased funding and powers for the IRS, more money for education services, and investments into low-income housing) mixed in with some boilerplate infrastructure spending and the aforementioned EV subsidies/incentives. We honestly don’t believe more than a handful of people have ever read the entirety of H.R. 5376 (the Build Back Better Act) due to its absolutely monstrous length.
There was even a poll published by CBS indicating that fewer than 10 percent of Americans actually had a general understanding of what was in the bill. But you only need to take a look at it for yourself to immediately realize that almost nobody has the kind of free time needed to go over each and every item.
Still, the House went on to pass the approximately $2-trillion bill being forwarded by the Biden administration and part of it includes a provision to give consumers a tax credit of as much as $12,500 if they buy an electric vehicle assembled by union workers using American-built batteries. Meanwhile, products made in one of Tesla’s nonunionized facilities would be eligible for substantially smaller tax credits.
But Elon Musk doesn’t seem all that interested in government help, echoing some of his earlier comments about the tax plan. He believes the existing subsidies are sufficient and worked well enough to make his company the top EV producer by an exceptionally wide margin. Musk sees little reason to offer additional help, especially if it’s to be divided based upon a company’s relationships to unions — which many have argued as overtly political.
He also said that federal funding for electric-vehicle charging is unnecessary. The infrastructure package that Mr. Biden signed into law in November includes $7.5 billion to expand the nation’s network of electric-vehicle charging stations.
“Do we need support for gas stations? We don’t,” he said. “Delete it.”
Mr. Musk, who is often critical of U.S. authorities, including President Biden, has struck a more conciliatory tone when it comes to the Chinese government.
“There are a lot of people in the government in China who kind of grew up … with China being a small economy and maybe who feel like China was pushed around a lot. They haven’t fully appreciated the fact that China really is going to be the big kid on the block,” he said.
Mr. Musk added that Tesla has a good relationship with China, home to the company’s largest vehicle factory by output.
I have seen numerous articles discussing how Elon is at odds with the Biden administration, only to tack on his acknowledgment that China is becoming a dominant world power as a way to discredit him. The reality is quite a bit more complicated than Musk taking sides. Despite having made sizable gains in Asia, the Chinese government has been extremely critical of Tesla and has leveled accusations that its cars can be used by the U.S. for spying. It even went so far as to bar Tesla models from being parked anywhere near military bases as a result.
Musk is ultimately a businessman with a knack for making controversial statements and it’s difficult to seriously believe he has a better relationship with the CCP than he does with the White House. He wants to get the best deal he can for his company and the United States has opted to cater to legacy automakers (specifically Ford, GM, and Stellantis) who would love to see Tesla put out of business. China would like the same for its numerous state-run automotive entities. But only after they’ve tapped the relevant technologies coming from America.
“I don’t mean to endorse everything China does any more than I would, say, endorse everything the United States does, or any country,” Musk added.
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