News and Commentary

Twitter Votes For Elon Musk To Sell Billions In Tesla Stock, SpaceX Founder Mocks ‘Unrealized Gains Tax’ Senator
13 August 2021, Brandenburg, Grünheide: Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, stands in the foundry of the Tesla Gigafactory during a press event. The first vehicles are scheduled to roll off the production line in Grünheide near Berlin from the end of 2021. The US company plans to build around 500,000 units of the compact Model 3 and Model Y series here each year.
Patrick Pleul/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

This weekend, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk polled his Twitter followers, asking whether he should sell 10% of his stock holdings in the electric car company. The final results of the poll were 57.9% in favor, and 42.1% in opposition, with over 3.5 million votes cast.

“Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted. “Do you support this?”

“I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes,” Musk added later. “Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

Tesla’s share price fell by 5% in early morning trading following the news. CNBC also reported that Musk may be facing a tax bill of more than $15 billion in the coming months in relation to stock options, and that “the looming tax bill makes a sale of Tesla stock this year likely regardless of the outcome of the Twitter vote.”

In October, Musk openly criticized the tax proposals being pushed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), saying, “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.”

“Democrats are poised to consider a plan that would upend tax rules for the wealthiest Americans, as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden makes a late bid for a new capital-gains tax in President Biden’s social-spending and climate-change legislation,” The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. “Mr. Wyden’s detailed proposal — annual income taxes on about 700 billionaires’ unsold publicly traded assets such as stocks — arrives as Democrats are struggling to find up to $2 trillion over a decade to cover the cost of their agenda. They have plenty of ideas that would exceed that figure, but precious few that can muster the support of enough Democrats to get through the narrowly divided Congress.”

“Mr. Wyden’s 107-page plan would eliminate billionaires’ ability to defer capital-gains taxes indefinitely, and it would impose multibillion-dollar tax bills on people such as Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk, who has criticized the plan. It is expected to raise hundreds of billions of dollars over a decade, though the actual amount would depend on stock prices and on whether courts rule the tax unconstitutional,” the outlet continued. “The money would come from the wealthiest taxpayers, many of whom currently can keep their reported income and tax bills low. Under today’s tax system, they don’t have to pay capital-gains taxes unless they sell their assets, and they can borrow against that wealth to finance their lifestyles.”

Wyden responded to Musk’s tweet on Saturday, writing, “Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll. It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax.”

Musk, whose Twitter name is “Lorde Edge,” appeared to mock the senator, tweeting, “Why does ur pp look like u just came?”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Twitter Votes For Elon Musk To Sell Billions In Tesla Stock, SpaceX Founder Mocks ‘Unrealized Gains Tax’ Senator