TIME magazine announced Tesla CEO Elon Musk as 2021's "Person of the Year," and a lot of people are not having it—especially Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Warren blasted TIME for its decision to honor the businessman who, as she put it, amassed a $297 billion fortune by "freeloading" off of the rest of the country.
See her tweet on the matter below.
Let\u2019s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else.https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/12/13/business/elon-musk-named-times-person-year/\u00a0\u2026— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren) 1639409443
Along with an article about Musk's honor by TIME, Warren tweeted:
"Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else."
But Warren didn't just stop there.
She posted another tweet which included a parody of Musk's TIME cover created by non-profit activist group Americans for Tax Fairness that throws into stark relief just how strikingly he has benefitted from the tax code.
When someone makes it big in America\u2014millionaire big, billionaire big, Person of the Year big\u2014part of it has to include paying it forward so the next kid can get a chance, too.https://twitter.com/4TaxFairness/status/1470406328610922502\u00a0\u2026— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren) 1639414420
Along with the parody TIME cover, which points out Musk paid no federal income tax in 2018 and has paid an effective tax rate of 3.27% since—a rate less than one-fourth of the average 13.3% most non-wealthy Americans pay—Warren wrote:
"When someone makes it big in America—millionaire big, billionaire big, Person of the Year big—part of it has to include paying it forward so the next kid can get a chance, too."
Musk has frequently—and usually snidely—decried any government proposal or journalistic analysis that suggests he should pay taxes on his wealth.
Most recently, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden proposed an overhaul of the American tax code that would take Musk's tax liability to $10 billion per year.
That number sounds big, but it is a fraction of Musk's wealth. After all, he'd still have $287 billion left after the first year, which would still make him the world's richest man by a more than $100 billion margin.
Nevertheless, Musk whined about the proposal on Twitter, implying it amounts to theft because the government has "run out of other people's money"—a preposterous and mendacious charge given Tesla's dependence on tax dollars for its operations.
Exactly. Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 26, 2021
Musk's company is both a government contractor and a recipient of federal subsidies—as in handouts of Americans' tax dollars—for its operations.
And Tesla owes its very existence to government handouts. It would have shuttered altogether in 2009 if the federal government had not bailed the company out, again with Americans' tax dollars.
On Twitter, many people cheered Warren on for calling Musk out as America's most entitled and ungrateful billionaire.
If this is true... https://marketrealist.com/p/how-much-elon-musk-makes-a-day/\u00a0\u2026\n\nMusk has added almost $158 billion to his net worth over the last year, which is almost $432 million per day.\n\nDang! I'm sure he worked hard to get there.. But at least pay your fair share of taxes..— Joe Otero (@Joe Otero) 1639437072
I just can\u2019t understand how many \u201cthings\u201d somebody has to amass. Share the wealth. It can make the difference between you owning your 10th home and somebody feeding their children— Sheila Miller (@Sheila Miller) 1639414637
Thank you. When I heard this this morning I was so deflated. I hope EXTREME GREED, BOASTFULNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY aren't what we now value greatest in this world.— Cherry got vaccinated in NC (@Cherry got vaccinated in NC) 1639415853
Isn\u2019t the NW of middle class people \u201ctied up in\u201d their homes? And this is also \u201cnot liquid\u201d?\n\nBut we still pay taxes on our homes/property.\n\nWhy isn\u2019t the NW assets of the rich treated the same? Why should a middle class person potentially be forced to sell their home to pay tax?— Derek Alan (@Derek Alan) 1639415247
That\u2019s exactly the problem. Billionaires have financial instruments that are not available to the rest of the population, which allow them to go around paying taxes.— Murilo Cappucci (@Murilo Cappucci) 1639409908
Much more accurate cover.https://twitter.com/ewarren/status/1470436771150323714\u00a0\u2026— Joc121748\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf2 (@Joc121748\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf2) 1639415967
This "Person of the Year" is a joke.https://twitter.com/ewarren/status/1470436771150323714\u00a0\u2026— William E. McDade (@William E. McDade) 1639424820
Seriously, Time?\nSeriously? \nI am with @SenWarren , always.https://twitter.com/SenWarren/status/1470415896053227522\u00a0\u2026— La Marghe \u03a9 \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 (@La Marghe \u03a9 \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08) 1639418624
Despite his history with handouts of government tax dollars, Musk told TIME he opposes subsidies like those that have been the linchpin of his success because the government is "not a good steward of capital."