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Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter fight with Bernie Sanders over tax policy E! News

US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) greets reporters as he arrives to vote at the United States Capitol in Washington, United States, on November 1, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk got into a fight with Senator Bernie Sanders over tax policy over the weekend on Twitter and tried to provoke him again Monday morning.

According to his website, the independent senator (who usually meets with Democrats) is a supporter of transitioning the US energy system to renewables, providing $ 200 billion to a Green Climate Fund and other environmentally-oriented policies that would serve Tesla well.

But he’s also an advocate of raising taxes for the super-rich, much like Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, whom Musk tweeted in a similar exchange in early November. Musk, who has the highest net worth in the world today, is fiercely against the so-called “billionaires income tax.”

Last week, Musk sold approximately $ 6.9 billion in stock. (As of Monday morning, Musk still owns more than 166 million shares of the company.) In recent weeks, sales from Musk and other experts have put pressure on Tesla shares. Shares of Tesla fell 15.4% last week, marking the company’s worst performance in a week in 20 months, and its worst week without declines in the first quarter of 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic took over. markets. Tesla closed 1.94% again on Monday.

As his sale continues, Musk will face a potentially huge tax bill. However, as ProPublica reported, Musk previously paid an effective tax rate of 3.27%, or $ 455 million, on wealth growth of $ 13.9 billion. Musk, who had actual taxable income of $ 1.52 billion over the five-year period, did not pay federal income taxes in 2018, according to ProPublica.

On Twitter, Sanders amassed more than 15 million followers and Musk amassed 63.8 million.

The dispute begins

On Saturday, the 80-year-old Vermont senator wrote in a tweet: “We must demand that the extremely wealthy pay their fair share. Final point. “

Musk responded the next day: “I always forget that you are still alive. Musk also asked Sanders on Sunday, “Do you want me to sell more stock, Bernie?” Just say the word. The CEO then rebuked the senator, saying, “Bernie is a taker, not a creator.” “

Musk tried to hire Sanders again on Monday.

He asked, “Okay, how fair do you think that is? Does 53% sound reasonable? “

When Sanders did not respond to him, a Musk fan noted that the senator does not respond to Twitter followers in general. Musk asked: “How do we know that he was not abducted by aliens? Musk continued to speak on Twitter, discussing his tax policy preferences with fans and followers, including promoters of Bitcoin and Tesla.

In his tweet, Musk revealed that he would support a property tax and taxes on what he called extravagant consumption.

The CEO also said that he currently owns about 20% of Tesla shares.

Senator Sanders and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In 2020, Musk put his California mansions on the market while training with state health regulators on the Covid-19 restrictions that hit Tesla’s Fremont factory. He then moved to Austin, Texas, near the site of a new Tesla factory under construction.

This year, Tesla also moved its corporate headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas.

Switching from California, with the highest state income tax in the country, to Texas, which has no state income tax, could save Musk billions of dollars based on his compensation awarded in 2018.

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