In case you don’t already know - this is Andrew Ross Sorkin: “Andrew Ross Sorkin is a columnist for The New York Times and the founder and editor-at-large of DealBook, an online daily financial report published by The Times that he started in 2001. In addition, Mr. Sorkin is an assistant editor of business and finance news, helping guide and shape the paper’s coverage. Mr. Sorkin is also a co-anchor of Squawk Box, CNBC’s signature morning program.”
So Sorkin is considered a financial guru - a savant of all things business. So how is he so very, very wrong about government teat specialist Elon Musk?: “Donald Trump: Please think about calling Elon Musk….Mr. Musk…(is) the real-life Tony Stark behind Tesla, the electric car company; SolarCity, the solar power provider; and SpaceX, the rocket company….”
Actually, Elon Musk isn’t the Tony Stark of anything. And the only person behind Tesla and Solar City is a government bureaucrat - writing Musk yet another government check.
So far, Musk has received FIVE BILLION DOLLARS in government money - mostly for his “green energy” business fallacies. He is arguably the world’s largest welfare recipient.
And Musk’s ridiculous solar panel and electric car companies only serve as just two more totally unnecessary reminders that “green energy” is actually neither green nor energy.
Solar panels cost a ton of (government) money - and produce almost no energy for that money. You’ll never get back the up-front coin in lifetime energy savings. And the panels, once spent, have to be disposed of as if they are nuclear waste.
Electric cars also cost a ton of (government) money - and also cost way more up front than you’ll ever make up in energy savings over the life of the car. Unless you drive the car roughly two thousand years. And the energy it burns - is electricity. Which is produced mostly by…coal - an energy source from which the Green Machine is supposedly trying to escape.
More Sorkin: “Mr. Musk, 45, is arguably the one person in the nation more responsible than anyone else for generating a vision for the re-emergence of manufacturing in the United States en masse….This is the future of manufacturing….”
I hardly think Musk is the guy Sorkin describes. And I certainly hope Musk’s business-by-government-check isn't “the future of manufacturing.” We’re $20 trillion in debt - we can’t afford Sorkin, Musk and the government’s definition of “success.”
More Sorkin: “(C)onservative groups and individuals have taken to the internet with a litany of real and fake stories attacking Mr. Musk for the government subsidies Tesla receives, and for his vocal warnings on climate change.”
Note Sorkin lobs a variation on that newly magic phrase “fake news.” And of course we’re criticizing Musk for being a gi-normous welfare recipient. Our criticisms make much more sense than Sorkin’s lionizing him for it.
Sorkin cites some of the criticisms: “Robert E. Murray, chief executive of Murray Energy Corporation, the largest privately owned coal company, called Mr. Musk ‘a fraud’ for accepting $2 billion in government subsidies for Tesla. Mr. Musk, fighting back on Twitter, wrote of Mr. Murray, a Republican who doesn’t believe human activity is affecting the climate: ‘Real fraud going on is denial of climate science. As for ‘subsidies’, Tesla gets pennies on dollar vs coal. How about we both go to zero?’”
The first “fake news” here - is from Musk. A coal company getting tax breaks - is government allowing them to keep money they’ve earned. Musk getting five billion dollars in government checks - is his getting from government money other people earned. Not even close to the same thing.
(“Climate Change” is the Greatest Scam on Earth - but we’ll leave that alone for this exercise.)
More Sorkin: “Jim Chanos, the investor who has bet against the price of Tesla’s shares, called Mr. Musk’s merger of Tesla and SolarCity, both of which he controlled, a ‘shameful example of corporate governance at its worst.’ Some analysts denounced Mr. Musk as a ‘corporate governmental mess’ and others have called him a huckster.”
I don’t see any “fake news” in anything Chanos or these others are saying: “Because of the blindingly obvious (Tesla-Solar City) conflicts of interest…Musk went out of his way to head off accusations of self-dealing and nepotism….Critics went further in attacking seemingly incestuous nature of the deal….Besides the board conflicts…(Credit Suisse analyst Patrick) Jobin wrote in a research note, Musk’s stockholdings in the companies—and the fact that he has taken out personal loans using his shares as collateral—will also raise eyebrows. Indeed, Musk himself may already be complicating the deal because of his closeness to both companies.”
Sounds pretty real to me. Yet Sorkin continues with: “Indeed, while Mr. Musk gets painted as a beneficiary of crony capitalism and the (Barack) Obama administration’s efforts to promote green energy, he is — perhaps counterintuitively — a prime example of everything we want our business leaders to be.”
“Perhaps counterintuitively?” How about delusional-ly? Farcically. It’s just Musk’s sort of crony capitalism and promotion of non-energy as energy - that has led the Obama Administration to preside over the most anemic economy in our nation’s history. Never before has a president never had a year of at least 3% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth - until Obama.
Sorkin prattles on, and on, and…. But you by now get the idea. Too bad Sorkin doesn’t.
Unfortunately, Sorkin’s mushy Musk paean worked - president-elect Trump has named Musk to his advisory team.
If Trump truly means to “Drain the Swamp” - Musk would be the first one flushed down the drain. Unless his enormous government girth clogs the pipes.
Musk is the poster child for everything that is wrong in Washington - and thus the nation. Trump should only keep Musk around long enough to tell him the government gravy train is over - his titanic chuck wagon included.
If we are to recover - we need to get out from under the likes of Elon Musk.