Elon Musk Continues Insulting Biden Admin's EV Tax Credit Scheme

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

More by Matt Posky

Comments
Join the conversation
3 of 65 comments
  • Dartdude Dartdude on Dec 08, 2021

    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

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Dec 08, 2021

    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.

    • Maxb49 Maxb49 on Dec 08, 2021

      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.

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.
Next