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Billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk raised some eyebrows again for praising China and Chinese workers while criticizing their American counterparts for “winning too long.”
In an interview with Automotive News on Friday, Musk praised China’s “smart, hardworking” people when it comes to building electric cars, but referred to American workers as “entitled” and “complacent.”
He specifically ripped California and New York, two Democrat-run, high tax-and-regulation states, though both have offered his companies breaks and other incentives.
When asked about whether China could become a global leader in the manufacture of electric vehicles, Musk, 49, replied: “China rocks in my opinion.”
“The energy in China is great. People there, there’s like a lot of smart, hard-working people. And they’re really, they’re not entitled, they’re not complacent,” he said.
“Whereas I see in the United States increasingly much more complacency and entitlement especially in places like the Bay Area, and LA and New York,” he added, accusing the United States of taking things for granted because it’s been “winning too long.”
Specifically, he likened New York and California to sports franchises that had a legacy of victory.
“When you’ve been winning for too long you sort of take things for granted. The United States, and especially like California and New York, you’ve been winning for too long,” Musk told the podcast.
“When you’ve been winning too long you take things for granted. So, just like some pro sports team they win a championship you know a bunch of times in a row, they get complacent and they start losing,” he noted further.
Musk’s praise of the Chinese might have been expected; the Communist government in Beijing assisted Tesla in securing $1.6 billion in loans for a factory in Shanghai, the Daily Mail reported.
The company is on a hiring binge in China, where it plans to bring on Chinese designers and roughly 1,000 workers for its plant. Tesla announced in January it planned to build a design bureau in the country where it would build “Chinese-style” vehicles.
In the podcast, Musk went on to claim that Tesla had been given less government aid than other American automobile companies.
The Daily Mail noted that Musk secured a $465 million loan from the government in 2009, but Tesla paid it off in 2013, nine years ahead of schedule.
That amount is far less than the tens of billions of dollars American auto manufacturers General Motors and Chrysler in 2008 during the financial crisis.
However, an analysis by the Los Angeles Times disputed Musk’s figures, saying the electric carmaker had actually received about $4.9 billion in U.S. government aid.
California granted Tesla more than $220 million in sales and tax exclusions, as well as a number of grants.
New York, meanwhile, spent nearly $1 billion on a factory in Buffalo that Tesla now operates. The company has yet to fulfill a pledge of hiring 1,000 workers, recently filing a one-year extension in order to meet it.
In California, Musk filed suit against a California county following a coronavirus-mandated shutdown order, opening the factory in May despite the lockdown.
In doing so, Musk announced the Fremont plant would be “restarting production today against Alameda County rules.”
Eventually, Musk vowed to pull out of the state over the extended lockdowns, leading to gruff reactions from some of the state’s Democrat lawmakers.
“Frankly, this is the final straw,” Elon tweeted in May. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in California.”
Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
As for SpaceX, the company hit a milestone on Sunday as two astronauts returned safely to earth after an unprecedented space flight. It was the first splashdown of American astronauts in 45 years and was completed using a commercially built and operated craft.
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