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Clinton-Era Economist Accuses Musk Of Shorting Tesla Workers, Cites Stock Performance; Musk Responds
WASHINGTON DC, USA - MARCH 9: Elon Musk, Founder and Chief Engineer of SpaceX, speaks during the Satellite 2020 Conference in Washington, DC, United States on March 9, 2020.
Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk exchanged jabs with economist Robert Reich, the former secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton, after the left-leaning professor accused him of shorting his workers as a modern-day robber baron.

“Tesla forced all workers to take a 10 percent pay cut from mid-April until July. In the same period, Tesla stock skyrocketed and CEO Elon Musk’s net worth quadrupled from $25 billion to over $100 billion. Musk is a modern-day robber baron,” tweeted Reich.

Two days later, Musk finally responded: “All Tesla workers also get stock, so their compensation increased proportionately. You are a modern day moron.”

The Tesla CEO’s quip comes as the company experienced a significant decline in the value of its stock, having dropped over 33% on Wednesday since its record of $498.32 price per share the week before, according to Market Watch.

“The stock’s selloff kicked off last Tuesday after the electric vehicle maker disclosed a $5 billion stock offering and a large shareholder reduced its stake,” reported Market Watch. “On Friday, the stock had plunged as much as 8.6% intraday, before pulling a sharp U-turn to close up 2.8%, to snap a 3-day losing streak, after the company disclosed stock trades by a number of insiders.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, Tesla was recently believed to be close to securing a spot on the S&P 500 Index, but the company was passed up earlier this week for unclear reasons, prompting widespread speculation and opining about the decision.

“The quality of earnings could be a key issue with the committee,” Stephanie Hill, an executive at Mellon, wrote in commentary ahead of S&P’s announcement, reports the WSJ. “Tesla’s positive profitability has been driven by the sale of regulatory credits to other auto manufacturers who need offsets in order to reach their emissions standards.”

“The S&P 500 Committee’s decision not to include Tesla in the index just yet is about as brave a move as you’ll ever see from this group,” wrote Data Trek co-founder and researcher Nicholas Colas in a newsletter, reports Benziga. “It can only have come from a collective and committed view that TSLA is profoundly overvalued and sits on shakier fundamentals than its mega market cap indicates.”

As The Daily Wire previously reported, back in 2018, Musk got into trouble with the SEC for tweeting that he would consider “taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” according to The Verge. The SEC responded with a lawsuit, but eventually hashed out an agreement with Musk requiring him to get his tweets about Tesla’s finances pre-approved by an in-house lawyer.

Earlier this year, after Musk went on a Twitter-rant and observed that in his opinion, “Tesla stock price is too high,” the value of shares in the electric car company tumbled as much as 9%. Asked by the WSJ if he was joking or whether his tweet had been approved by anyone, Musk simply replied: “No.”

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