An attempt by four-time independent failed presidential candidate Ralph Nader to talk some trash about Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter boss Elon Musk backfired mightily.
Made on Friday, the attempt consisted of Nader taking to Twitter to accuse Musk of being “a gigantic corporate welfare king masquerading as a capitalist businessman”
Musk (@elonmusk) started Tesla with a huge U.S. government welfare grant. He has taken taxpayers to the cleaners for his factories and for Starlink. He is a gigantic corporate welfare king masquerading as a capitalist businessman. -R
— Ralph Nader (@RalphNader) February 24, 2023
It’s not clear what prompted the out-of-the-blue attack.
What’s known is that by Sunday, the tweet had attracted nearly 20 million views but only 37,000 likes. Conversely, Musk’s rebuttal had attracted nearly 300,000 likes.
“Ralph Nader, you are lying – shame on you! I personally provided almost all Tesla funding, based on my proceeds from PayPal, from Series A in 2004 until Series C in 2007. In late 2008, I gave Tesla the last money I had. It was that or the company would have died. We closed that funding round at 6pm on Christmas Eve,” the Twitter boss’ brutal rebuttal reads.
“If we had not closed that round, Tesla would have gone bankrupt 2 days after Christmas. I gave my last money thinking Tesla would probably still die, not thinking that it would be lucrative. The first meaningful government funding Tesla received was in Q2 2010 from a loan under the vehicle efficiency lending program. Tesla paid back that loan early with interest. Taxpayers actually made a profit,” it continues.
Ralph Nader, you are lying – shame on you! I personally provided almost all Tesla funding, based on my proceeds from PayPal, from Series A in 2004 until Series C in 2007.
In late 2008, I gave Tesla the last money I had. It was that or the company would have died. We closed that… https://t.co/fi2GdWER0d
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 24, 2023
Musk has long faced accusations that he’s a so-called “welfare king.”
The truth is that his companies have over the years collected government subsidies, according to Lisa Conyers and Phil Harvey, authors of “Welfare for the Rich: How Your Tax Dollars End Up in Millionaires’ Pockets—And What You Can do About It.”
“By 2015, they write, companies led by Musk had gotten billions of dollars in subsidies, tax breaks, and other handouts. New York state even shelled out $750 million to build a solar panel factory for Musk’s Solar City operation and said the company would pay no property taxes for a decade, saving another $260 million,” Reason magazine notes.
But the truth also is that he’s not alone in collecting some subsidies. In fact, were Nader to apply the same judgment against every other subsidy collector, virtually every major corporation CEO would be a “welfare king” or “welfare queen.”
“There are literally thousands of other immensely rich people who are constantly bilking governments at all levels for special perks, carve-outs, and handouts paid for by middle-class and poor people,” according to Reason.
“In exhaustively documented and perpetually enraging prose, Conyers and Harvey show how millionaire ‘farmers,’ billionaire team owners, and filthy rich oil-and-gas-and-wind-power barons lobby Congress, rewrite zoning laws, and plunder the public fisc like it’s a bodily function. They also outline realistic and effective ways to fight back and level a playing field that benefits the people who need the least help from government.”
Last weekend, Lisa Conyers joined us to talk about her new book with co-author Phil Harvey — Welfare for the Rich; How Your Tax Dollars End Up in Millionaires’ Pockets.
Listen now, and stream the full interview before tomorrow’s new wave of discussions! @PostHillPress pic.twitter.com/hEn8Sw9Bw1
— NPR Cross Currents (@nprcrosscurrent) July 17, 2020
You also have to factor in the fact that Musk has, as he explained in his rebuttal, repaid some of the so-called “welfare.” Like the “welfare” he received in 2010.
“Tesla Motors announced that it has paid off the entire loan awarded to the company by the Department of Energy in 2010. In addition to payments made in 2012 and Q1 2013, today’s wire of almost half a billion dollars ($451.8M) repays the full loan facility with interest. Following this payment, Tesla will be the only American car company to have fully repaid the government,” Tesla announced in 2013.
Dovetailing back to Nader’s unprovoked attack, it also riled up Musk’s millions of supporters, who rushed in to fact-check the failed presidential candidate with Twitter’s “Community Notes” feature:
Musk’s defenders — some of them also Nader fans — criticized the politician as well.
I suggest doing some fact finding because this is really far from the truth.
— Rajiv (@realdarkromance) February 25, 2023
Given his history, I would have expected more substance from Nader to back up such accusations. As it is, not worthy of anyone’s attention until details are provided. I admire his work, generally, but not this.
— Stein (@steinvmathisen) February 25, 2023
I didn’t think it was possible for @RalphNader to be more irrelevant than he already was. But by telling such a bold face lie, he has upgraded himself to the status of Ultra Irrelevant. Congratulations
— Kevin Browne (@KevinBr57562323) February 25, 2023
I respect @RalphNader but this tweet is cynicism extraordinaire, @elonmusk didn’t create the paradigm we live in, he is working with it. Unlike most, he has succeeded where most fail and striving for his vision of a better humanity. Don’t be a hater, build something better
— RichDow (@RichDow17) February 24, 2023
This is a lie.
You desperately want people to believe this lie because the truth that men exist who succeed as great innovators and builders, that our work benefits society, and that more should help and follow our example – is so much more compelling than your nasty cynicism.
— Joe Lonsdale (@JTLonsdale) February 24, 2023
Republished with permission from American Wire News Service
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