The richest man in the world is grumpy again.
Tesla Inc. TSLA,
CEO Elon Musk, whose personal fortune has increased by about $ 250 billion since the start of the pandemic, slammed Senator Bernie Sanders on Twitter over the weekend, after Vermont Independents tweeted: “We must demand that the extremely affluent pay their fair share. Period.”
Musk apparently took the remark personally, replying, “I still forget you’re still alive.” He later added: “Do you want me to sell more shares, Bernie? Just say the word …”[ads1];
Just last weekend, Musk shot a youth insult with Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who similarly called for Musk and other billionaires to be taxed more. Sanders had previously called the enormous wealth of Musk and Amazon.com Inc. AMZN,
founder Jeff Bezos “immoral.”
Last month, Musk responded to a proposed tax from the Biden administration on billionaires’ unrealized capital gains by tweeting: “In the end, they run out of other people’s money, and then they come after you.” Also in October, Musk announced that Tesla would move its headquarters from California to Texas, which has no state income tax.
The anti-tax outbursts have come in the wake of a ProPublica report in June that Musk paid a “true tax rate” of around 3.27% and that he avoided paying federal taxes in 2018. Musk, who does not take any taxable salary, has a personal fortune of around $ 285 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, up more than $ 116 billion so far this year. That includes a $ 8 billion loss when Tesla shares fell last week.
Musk kicked off the weekend within attacks Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard on Twitter, calling him “by far the worst person I’ve ever worked with in my entire career” and claimed that “he was pissed off about killing Tesla”.
Eberhard left the company in 2007, and the two have been arguing for years. Musk’s comments may violate a non-derogatory agreement that was allegedly part of a settlement after Eberhard sued for defamation in 2007.
“Nothing is like having the richest man in the world attacking you,” Eberhard said in a statement to Fox Business on Friday.
In recent weeks, Musk has also tentatively challenged a UN official’s proposal that he could help curb world hunger and posted sexist tweets that he later deleted.
As part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018, Tesla will pre-approve all Musk tweets. Earlier this year, the SEC said Musk’s tweets broke this policy twice in 2020. However, it is largely toothless, as there is no real precedent for SEC enforcement of social media posts, and any fines against Musk or Tesla are likely to be minimal compared to to their net worth.
Last week, Musk sold $ 6.9 billion in Tesla shares (Get it? Understand?), Following a Twitter survey that said he should sell $ 10 billion in shares. (Some of these stock sales were put in place before the poll was released.) Musk faces a $ 15 billion tax on its stock options in the coming year, CNBC reported last week, and more stock sales are likely to come. In the middle of the news of the sale, the Tesla share fell for its worst week in more than a year.
Nevertheless, Tesla shares are up 47% so far this year, and about 153% higher in the last 12 months.