By on December 7, 2021

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.

From WSJ:

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.

[Image: Naresh111/Shutterstock]

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65 Comments on “Elon Musk Continues Insulting Biden Admin’s EV Tax Credit Scheme...”


  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I will admit without hesitation that I am that guy. I am the guy who read the entire immigration bill from Trump. I am the guy who reads all the laws locally that are up for ballot. I am in the middle of this monstrosity. Not really the middle since I am in the 300’s.

    Do I remember everything that I read, of course not, if I did I would make more than I do. This bill has alot going on with it not unlike the Katrina and Floyd relief packages I read years ago, to the relief the car companies got during the Bush/Obama administration. Everyone has their hands in it.
    Most of these things dont look anything like what they would if you and I got together and wrote it. Way to much crap that has nothing to do with nothing and always lining the pockets of those that already have silk pockets.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      @Chocolatedeath,

      Respect.

      “Most of these things don’t look anything like what they would if you and I got together and wrote it. Way to much crap that has nothing to do with nothing and always lining the pockets of those that already have silk pockets.”

      –> Who writes legislation?

      • What we were told as kids (shows the Representative sitting at a typewriter):
      https://youtu.be/OgVKvqTItto

      • What the US Federal Government tells us as adults (completely glosses over who writes the legislation):
      https://www.usa.gov/how-laws-are-made

      • Closer to the Truth (the language in legislation comes directly from lobbyists):
      https://publicintegrity.org/politics/state-politics/copy-paste-legislate/you-elected-them-to-write-new-laws-theyre-letting-corporations-do-it-instead/

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Have you notices that

      BJ – Boris Johnson
      JB – Joe Biden

      Switch the letter – result the same – 2 clowns

    • 0 avatar
      Hayden535

      I feel like we’re conflating admitting with humble bragging. Was there a part of the article where Chocolate death was pressured over and over again about whether he’d read the bill?

      Also, what does claiming to have read the bill but declaring yourself unable to remember most of what’s in it add to the conversation here? Genuinely curious if I missed a takeaway.

    • 0 avatar
      randy in rocklin

      Right on brother.

    • 0 avatar
      randy in rocklin

      Right on brother.

      • 0 avatar
        Tstag

        Please don’t compare the two. Biden is really boring, everytime grandad comes on telly I have to turn over, but it’s comforting at one level that he is so dull. Boris on the otherhand is an utter clown. He’s not a start a civil war type like Trump was but he’s hold your head in your hands and cry silly. By the way I’m a Brit so this is just the way I see them from across this side of the pond.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I agree with Mr Musk this time.

    The 2009 EV subsidy program has already run its course for Tesla and GM. It’s actually debatable whether it helped Tesla, since the Federal subsidy was often less then 10% the price of their cars, while it was some 20% of a Leaf or a Bolt, for example. And the typical Leaf buyer doesn’t have the same income as a typical Tesla buyer, so the subsidy was far more meaningful for the cheaper car.

    More subsidies won’t help Tesla. In fact, the company saw no sales impact upon the expiration of their customer subsidy, and today they outsell many major nameplates in the US. Meanwhile, Nissan squandered its early EV lead and is way behind other players.

    I have benefited twice from the subsidy, once with Nissan (2012) and once with Hyundai (2018). Would I have gotten those cars if the subsidy wasn’t available? Probably not. In both cases, the mfrs simply subtracted the subsidy from the price of the vehicle, and calculated the lease price from there, so my income made no difference. Although I am philosophically opposed to such a subsidy, I won’t leave the money laying on the table.

    I did recently buy the Hyundai outright since it’s still healthy and the buyout price was attractive considering today’s market.

    He may be irked about the fact that Tesla funded its own Supercharger network, while Uncle Joe wants to underwrite other charger brands. TTAChargers is that Tesla’s are the best and most reliable, while everyone else’s is a gamble. Government money won’t fix that.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    My guess is any sort of union requirement for qualifying electric car subsidies gets struck down by the courts.

    Biden tried this with farm aid going to “people of color” and not “whites” and it was considered a form of discrimination and blocked by the courts.

    Someone qualifying for a tax credit based on union membership of the workers would violate things like equal protection.

  • avatar
    BSttac

    I cannot stand this man. He is a snake oil salesman that should have been arrested on fraud multiple times already. However he is not wrong here. Biden bullsh!t is a homeboy discount to the unions that voted him in.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The only snake oil I’m aware of is the $10,000 Full Self Driving option.

      No doubt he has said some stupid and crazy things over the years.

      But he has built Tesla into a legitimate and profitable car company (even without the carbon credits) not to mention SpaceX which has put more satellites into space than anyone else – and several crews of people. Next, they’ll be landing people on the moon. NASA doesn’t let just anyone do that.

      Heck, Boeing can’t even get their spaceship to fly straight.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “Biden bullsh!t is a homeboy discount to the unions that voted him in.”

      Unions always go “D”, but not 100-0. Trump had Reagan-like appeal in 2016 and 2020. The gap isn’t as big as I thought; it’s more like 55-45.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/files/2016/11/Union.jpg

      https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/union-workers-werent-a-lock-for-biden-heres-why-that-matters

      With union representation down to 10% in the US, I doubt that subset of voters makes much difference today. But it’s quite annoying that Uncle Joe panders to them anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        JRED

        I get the notion that Joe is not living in 2021.

        Advisor: “Mr. President, we lost a lot of support from labor unions during the past administration.”

        Biden: “Come on man!”

      • 0 avatar
        Hayden535

        Trump lost by 3,000,000 votes in 2016 and by 8,000,000 votes in 2020. On which alternate-reality planet did he have “Reagan-like appeal?!?”

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Biden bullsh!t is a homeboy discount to the unions that voted him in.”

      …and all the crap that Trump still spews 20 times a day is a homeboy discount to the people who voted for him. Why is it wrong for a politician to serve his or her base?

      Regardless, have you ever thought the real question isn’t why the union folks voted for Biden, but rather why they DIDN’T vote for Trump? Interesting question, is it not? Could it be that Trump didn’t bring back all the factory jobs he said he would? Nawwwww….

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Trump was voted out over this sort of thing. Not sure what he has to do with any of this currently or how what he spews has any impact on my tax rate or how they are currently spent. The voters have held him accountable.

        You guys are going to learn the hard way that for the most part the country has moved on from Trump and continuing to run against him is a losing strategy. Ask Terry McAuliffe.

        • 0 avatar
          Hayden535

          McAuliffe lost because of mask mandates and him being a corporatist Democrat who offered no meaningful difference from his Republican counterpart who happened to smell more like the average Virginia voter than anyone named Terry ever could.

          Trump will 100% be the 2024 Republican candidate. Like two elected congress people have publicly dared to question Trump and both are being destroyed by the Republican Party establishment. Trump is the heart and soul of the modern American Republican party. You can wish it weren’t so all you want, but it’s true.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Yes, every politician does this, but the one in office is the one we should focus on – regardless of party.

        “Things would be so much better, but Grover Cleveland really screwed us over.” At some point, we need to stop gazing in anger in the rear view mirror. It doesn’t help.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “ …and all the crap that Trump still spews 20 times a day is a homeboy discount to the people who voted for him.”

        Wow the TDS is real. Why are you so obsessed with President Trump? Why do you ignore how much better this country was when he was running it than Xiden?

        FJB LGB!

  • avatar
    Undead Zed

    Wow, two articles in a row. Didn’t even bother to find a different photo.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      The danger here (for TTAC) is that many Busy People with Actual Jobs To Do scan quickly through the website and when they see a picture they’ve seen recently, they assume they are caught up and stop scrolling.

      (The site is missing basic fundamental execution stuff like this all over.)

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So…now that his company has sucked the tax incentive dry, no one else should get it.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      That’s one way to view it, but the 2009 incentive is still in force for everyone else but GM. And it’s not helping anyone catch up to Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @SCE:

        And I don’t think the tax incentive was all that big a factor in Tesla’s success to begin with. And I don’t think he’s as scared of GM as he is of the other new EV players.

        Regardless, the tax credit is an arrow in another company’s quiver that Tesla doesn’t have. Makes sense he’d want to see it gone.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      This. Gotta pull up that ladder now.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Posky

        The ladder still technically exists. Any other automaker has or will continue to have the ability to utilize the same tax credits Tesla and GM already benefited from.

        Meanwhile, the new proposal would put Tesla (and Toyota, and Honda, and basically everyone that isn’t one of the Big Three) at a noteworthy disadvantage while the U.S. government continues to shower the automotive sector with taxpayer money.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Billionaire opposes taxing the rich: news at 11.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Poors want more of other people’s money…news at 11.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Compare how much goes each and every year to corporations/companies in the form of tax credits, non-payable/unpaid ‘loans’ etc, and to the ‘rich’ in tax breaks against how much is spent on social welfare. Almost invariably the tax/government expenditures/assistance favours the corporations and rich. Identified decades ago as ‘corporate welfare bums’ when a study was conducted that demonstrated that over the period of a decade a welder for a large corporation paid more in taxes than the corporation did.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I doubt the corporation paid any since they likely add it as a cost of doing business and pass it on to their customers to include said welder. But it makes the poor’s feel like they are sticking it to the man.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Other people’s money? I’m in the bracket where I pay more than pretty much everyone else above me. I’d just like them to pay as much as I do.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          What’s stopping you from paying more? You’re so eager to get billionaires to pay even more than they should, are you setting the example? Cut a check then we can talk. Until then you are a hypocrite

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Why the f#%@ would I pay more when my complaint is that I’m already paying more than people a lot richer than me? Some reading comprehension might be helpful for you, but that’s nothing new.

            By lowering capital gains rates and allowing tax-free borrowing against appreciated assets, we’ve essentially exempted the very wealthy who live off investment income from taxes. That’s monumentally stupid fiscally, and also corrosive to the fabric of society. I’m fine with paying taxes but I really don’t appreciate that my taxes subsidize the Kardashians.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @dal:
            “By lowering capital gains rates and allowing tax-free borrowing against appreciated assets, we’ve essentially exempted the very wealthy who live off investment income from taxes.”

            Bingo. +1 million.

            And we wonder why the super rich don’t invest in startups? It’s no mystery. They can just live off their diversified investments basically risk-free, and pay a lower tax rate on the returns than they would if they got a W2 or K1. And Wall Street gets rich off all this. Meanwhile, job creation is stalled because these folks’ money is basically on the sidelines.

            Of course, I’d do it in a heartbeat if I was loaded.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Money” is a de facto infinite concept after 1971.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      It’s unclear to me how this taxes the rich.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        BBB has a few tax increases for high-income earners that could raise the effective marginal rate on income over $25 million by as much as 11.8%, but the real way in which BBB would “tax the rich” is funding IRS enforcement efforts (which have been steadily defunded over the past 20 years to the point where there is very little risk in taking extremely aggressive positions).

  • avatar
    dwford

    The BBB bill is a cobbled together mess of sops to individual members of Congress. When a bill that is supposed to create new benefits for the poor and middle class spends more on tax breaks for the rich, you know you’ve lost the plot. I hope Manchin and Sinema vote no on this crap.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    China needs to tap American knowhow to build run of the mill EVs? A ha ha ha. Right. They have several hundred private EV companies all vying for a slice of the market, none of whom pay the slightest attention to CPC directives to amalgamate and reduce their numbers. It’s capitalist war over there. Quick, name me the Chinese government’s own largest EV company. Anyone? Buehler? They have the world market on EV buses tied up, and Warren Buffet has his claws in that company, BYD. The country runs maglev trains, has hypersonic missiles, lands satellites on the back side of the moon, makes lithium batteries with several large companies supplying Tesla, and Posky thinks they’re just champing at the bit to steal that ole US EV technology! Does this wire fit on that terminal, comrade? With brainpower and opinions like Posky’s wide-ranging knowledge of bugger all, America is screwed.

  • avatar
    Number6

    Translation? Now that my company is on top due to subsidies, I don’t want anything to level the playing field. What does this twit pay as a percentage of his income?

    • 0 avatar
      kompressor

      How do subsidies make a company rise to the top of their game? Musk was selling his Tesla snake oil well before his vehicles were eligible for the tax payer hand outs. If subsidies made Tesla king how come GM isn’t ruling the EV roost? Corp lobbyists writing their paychecks into legislation are what subsidies are really about.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Everybody had the same chance to compete with Tesla when the 2009 incentive bill started. At that point, Tesla was still shipping a handful of Roadsters. The playing field was level for about 9 years.

      Nissan took the early lead in incentives, then faded as GM and Tesla passed them and used up their quota. Tesla lost no momentum after the incentive dried up for them.

      Every mfr except Tesla and GM still have the incentive, but nobody is catching Tesla.

  • avatar

    La Bidon’s idea of solving economic problems is to invite someone from Kazakhstan who was a member of Soviet communist youth organization, to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. From Kazakhstan, former communist!

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      You know! – this is not an issue. Who wasn’t a member of that? I can proudly say that I held till nearly 17 and only joined to be able to go to college, about a month before end of school.

      But in the western democracy such practice is not unusual. For example current NATO fuhrer was himself a Norwegian communist youth organizer. And went to block US nuke deployments in Europe.

      Satanovskiy told a joke about it

      A Kazakh man comes back from the party summit and wife asks him – have they accepted you into a communist party?
      The guys says – no.
      – why?
      – they asked me if I was fighting on the counter revolutionary side
      – you should of told them that you did not
      – how could I say that if the top commissar of the summit was my ex-commander?

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Pay close attention to the mentally ill billionaire. Do as he pleases.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    While I’m not in favor of EV subsidies in general, I never understood the logic of having the EV subsidy run out after a manufacturer reaches a certain number of units shipped. It seems to punish the early entrants and encourages other car makers to sit back and wait.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I still favor subsidies for battery research over direct checks for vehicles. Improve the products and they’ll sell themselves. Which, is pretty much what happens anyway. Lack of incentives hasn’t hurt Tesla sales.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yeah, but funding this research is a direct business threat that will eventually lighten the wallets of the oil companies who buy and sell the GOP.

      Whoops, meant to say it will destroy the Jeffersonian, agrarian, rock-ribbed, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps conservative principles that made America great.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    There’s something to hate for everyone in the Bankrupt America Act.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    As it is, everyone *but* Tesla and GM has incentives – right now – therefore, the competition has a supposed edge. Mr Musk is asking for the status quo.

    If Mr Musk supported more incentives, critics would ask why, since Tesla already benefited from them.

    Since Mr Musk opposes more incentives, critics say it’s because he’s afraid of competition.

    Which is it? Folks, don’t be so distracted by the personality that you can’t see the facts.

  • avatar
    Dartdude

    I agree with Musk about the union incentive in the plan. We Americans have given away our power and made to the federal govt too powerful. The govt should not picking winners and losers in the private sector. This bill should be withdrawn. lets go brandon

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Musk is a grifter. Look at recent statements he’s made essentially licking the boots of the Chinese government.

    He’s an incredibly successful grifter, but we need to call this out. He had nary a negative word to say about subsidies when he benefited from them.

    I’m glad he moved Tesla and electrified transportation fwd the way he did. But he’s playing the game despite being in a position to change the way the game is played. All of these egomaniacs (Jobs, Musk, Gates, Zuck, Bezos) created or advanced some great technology, but they don’t give a rip about anyone but themselves.

    None of us should be cheerleading hypocrisy. I have no hope or expectation of sainthood, but it would be good to see integrity.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      I’m glad he moved Tesla and electrified transportation fwd the way he did. But he’s playing the game despite being in a position to change the way the game is played. All of these egomaniacs (Jobs, Musk, Gates, Zuck, Bezos) created or advanced some great technology, but they don’t give a rip about anyone but themselves.

      None of us should be cheerleading hypocrisy. I have no hope or expectation of sainthood, but it would be good to see integrity.”

      +1 This should win comment of the year.

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