Elon Musk Bilks Taxpayers

Over the past few years, Elon Musk’s various business ventures have benefited from nearly $5 billion in government subsidies.  The fact that one man can receive so much preferential treatment from the government is not consistent with conservative, free-market principles.

It should never be the object of the federal government to determine which entrepreneurs succeed, and which ones do not. Massive subsidies to individuals like Musk must stop.

Elon Musk in the News

July 12, 2016 | Elon Musk's pedestal is crumbling, exposing Tesla risks

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The Steve Jobs–style reverence that fans have granted Elon Musk and the tremendous growth of the companies he has backed have helped the CEO of Tesla Motors Inc. weather years of questionable moves. His pedestal is now in peril, however, amid a jaw-dropping series of hazardous developments that should concern all Tesla investors.

Musk’s run of questionable decisions began in May, when he pushed forward projections for manufacturing during Tesla’s TSLA, +0.61% earnings call, fueled by the enthusiasm and preorders from its fanatical customers for its lower-cost Model 3. Musk said the company would be manufacturing at a rate of 500,000 vehicles a year by 2018, two years earlier than previously projected, a goal that Bloomberg noted was a faster growth rate than emerged when Henry Ford pioneered production of the Model T, the first mass-market car.

One month later came Musk’s conflict-ridden proposal to buy SolarCity Corp., SCTY, +0.53% the residential solar installer that counts Musk as chairman and largest shareholder. Tesla shares plunged 11% in reaction to the offer to buy the company, which was founded and is run by Musk’s cousins, Lyndon and Peter Rive, one of several worrisome ties between the companies that rightfully spooked investors and has led to a series of recusals for board members from the decision-making process.

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July 11, 2016 | Tesla Stock: Elon Musk's 'Master Plan' Can't Save Tesla Motors Inc

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) appears to have consolidated its gains following its recent drop on the news of the Brexit and a potential SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) merger. Tesla stock collapsed from more than $219.00 to $193.00 in two trading sessions. Indeed, Tesla shareholders—at least the savvier ones who understood the dilution the SCTY-TSLA stock marriage implies—were fuming.

Yet Tesla investors aren’t a monolithic bunch. It seems that some bought Tesla stock because of its Wall Street potential. They may have as much passion for a Tesla car as they do for a barrel of crude oil or a truck full of pork bellies. They may or may not be predictable people, but they are the ones to watch and emulate in a purely investment-based scenario. They are also the ones who were angriest with Tesla CEO Elon Musk after the SolarCity buyback.

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July 11, 2016 | Wall Street Journal: SEC investigating Tesla Motors

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The SEC is investigating Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) for potential violations of securities law, according to The Wall Street Journal which quotes an unnamed source.

The probe is centered over the disclosure of an accident involving the Autopilot system. The automaker has maintained that the incident was a “non-material” event. More details to follow.

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June 28, 2016 | Why I’m Not Dazzled by Elon Musk

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Elon Musk attends The Dinner For Equality co-hosted by Patricia Arquette and Marc Benioff on February 25, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group)

As a resident of Silicon Valley, I am deeply embarrassed to admit this, but here I go: I am not dazzled by Elon Musk.

(Pause, while Silicon Valley gasps in appalled surprise.)

I know how much he’s accomplished. Starting a new car company from scratch was an enormous undertaking, and the Tesla—the official pace car of Palo Alto—is a signal achievement that making electric cars, for the first time, is cool.

He puts rockets into space through his company SpaceX, theorizes about revolutionary means of high-speed transportation and in his spare time thinks deep thoughts about the nature of “base reality.” (We’re probably all just characters in some elaborate simulation.)

In short order, he’s become the Valley’s anointed successor to the late Steve Jobs. Unless, of course, you’re one of those who think he’s actually Jobs, Wernher von Braun, Howard Hughes, Henry Ford and Bill Gates—all rolled up into one.

But watching Musk in action, it’s hard to shake the impression that he believes in his own exceptionalism a little too much: that when you’re as smart and as rich and as powerful as he is, well, the normal rules just don’t apply.

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June 26, 2016 | ‘Profound Miscalculations’: This Might Be The Last Thing Elon Musk Wants To Hear Right Now

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Tesla Motor’s move to acquire solar panel company SolarCity is likely part of Tesla’s plan to corral “loss-tolerant” investors in an attempt to avoid possible financial ruin, according to the head of a tech research group.

The CEO of Tesla and SolarCity, Elon Musk, owns 22 percent in the highly tax-subsidized solar panel company and 21 percent of debt-riddled Tesla. Musk claimed in a Tuesday blog post ahead of the merger announcement that the new company will be a one-stop shop for Tesla’s green energy-obsessed customers.

Yet the merger is also in keeping with Musk’s mode of operation, Salome Gvaramia, the COO of tech company research group Devonshire Research Group, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. The fusion is all too predictable, Gvaramia explained, adding it’s probably the best way Musk knows to finance a giant colossus like Tesla.

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June 23, 2016 | Tesla Quietly Changed Its Bylaws to Ward Off SolarCity Shareholder Fight

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., speaks during the unveiling of the company's "Powerwall' at an event in Hawthorne, California, U.S., on Thursday, April 30, 2015. Musk unveiled a suite of batteries to store electricity for homes, businesses and utilities, saying a greener power grid furthers the company's mission to provide pollution-free energy. Photographer: Tim Rue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tesla’s offer to buy SolarCity (SCTY -0.54%) sparked a barrage of criticism on Wednesday over the glaring conflict of interest between the two companies: Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (TSLA 1.97%), is also the chairman of SolarCity and the largest shareholder of both companies, owning more than 20% of each.

Critics panned the deal as everything from a “corporate governmental mess” to “the corporate form of a West Virginia wedding.” Between Musk’s personal financial interests in each company and the overlap between Tesla and SolarCity’s boards—with few directors who aren’t either related to Musk by blood or have ties to both companies—investors weren’t sure whether the acquisition was really in their best interest. Tesla’s stock price fell more than 10% during the day. “We expect a robust shareholder fight over this acquisition centered on corporate governance,” Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch wrote in a research note as he downgraded Tesla stock to neutral.

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June 20, 2016 | Going Solar Isn't Green if You Cut Down Tons of Trees

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It’s music to an environmentalist’s ears: Six Flags Great Adventure wants to power its park with solar energy by installing a solar panel farm on a portion of the 134 acres of land it owns in Jackson, New Jersey. But as the company spells out its plan, the needle scratches across the record: To make room for the panels, it plans to level 66 acres of trees.

The plan, the largest solar installation in New Jersey, will generate 21.4 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the amusement park’s Garden State facility. The company projects that the initiative will eliminate approximately 215,000 tons of CO2 emissions over 15 years, a result that it says more than compensates for the loss of trees.

“We are excited about the fact that this project will reduce carbon emissions by 31 times more than the trees and shrubs that will be removed, and that we will become the world’s first solar-powered theme park,” said Kristin Siebeneicher, communications manager for Six Flags Great Adventure and Safari. She added, “This project is a positive for the environment and will not harm the habitats of threatened or endangered species, nor impair protected wetlands or watersheds.” (Six Flags says that at the moment, it does not plan to carry out similar projects at its other parks.)

Local residents and environmental groups—including Clean Water Action, Crosswicks/Doctors Creek Watershed Association, Environment New Jersey, NJ Conservation Foundation, Save Barnegat Bay, and the Sierra Club—beg to differ, claiming that razing nearly 15,000 trees will adversely impact water quality, air quality and sound quality; decrease the wildlife population; and affect biodiversity, as the state loses a section of forest known as the Pine Barrens. “As green as solar is, you don’t get a pass for chopping down a forest,” said David Pringle, campaign director for Clean Water Action. “If they kept the forest and put the panels in a parking lot, you get all the benefits of solar without any of the costs of clear-cutting the forest.” State officials even offered to buy the land to stop Six Flags from deforesting it, but the company declined their offer.

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June 20, 2016 | Confidence in Musk's SolarCity Continues to Wane

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The light isn’t shining so brightly at SolarCity (SCTY) in 2016, as the company’s stock has been beat up following its third consecutive lack luster earnings and growing investor concern over its business model.

Barclays analysts were the latest to weigh in on the nation’s largest solar company, downgrading the stock to “underweight” from “equalweight” in a Monday note, citing headwinds facing the residential solar segment as a whole.

The analysts also lowered their expectations for their preferred residential solar segment name SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG) , which TheStreet pegged as a buying opportunity in May.

“SEDG remains our preferred exposure to the residential segment, and we maintain an [overweight] recommendation,” Barclays’ Jon Windham and Daniel Ford wrote. “However, given the headwinds facing the space, we reduce our [price target] to $28 from $35 [per share].”

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June 20, 2016 | SolarCity Downgraded At Barclays On Concerns Over Consumer Credit Quality

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SolarCity Corp has seen its stock collapse more than 56 percent since the start of 2016 and more than 60 percent over the past year.

Despite the ongoing weakness, Jon Windham of Barclays has taken an even more cautious stance towards SolarCity and the entire U.S. residential solar space.

In a report published Monday, Windham downgraded shares of SolarCity to Underweight from Equal-weight with a price target maintained at $20.

Windham justified his downgrade and price target reduction given the likelihood of a Federal Reserve rate hike in September. He noted that higher interest rates are a negative for the home solar space for two reasons: 1) the sensitivity to financing cost in the ABS and tax-equity markets, and 2) the long duration nature of SolarCity’s consumer leases portfolio.

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June 13, 2016 | Elon Musk Spends $75 Million to Prop Up Solar Company...Again

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Liberal billionaire Elon Musk is using his taxpayer-backed space company to prop up his ailing taxpayer-backed solar panel company.

Musk’s SpaceX will pump another $75 million into SolarCity, according to a Monday report by a financial news outlet.

SolarCity offered to sell $95 million in short-term bonds with a very high interest rate of up to 5.25 percent, according to SeeNews. Such a high interest rate and the short-term of the bonds could mean that the company needs cash fast. The new purchase means SpaceX will soon have a total of $330 million invested in the rooftop solar company.

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June 13, 2016 | SpaceX to purchase USD 75m of additional SolarCity bonds

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US rooftop solar company SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) on Friday launched an offer to sell USD 95 million (EUR 84m) worth of solar bonds, with an expected participation from SpaceX.

SolarCity anticipates that Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) will buy about USD 75 million of the offered 4.40% Solar Bonds, Series 2016/11-1, that mature on June 10, 2017. The company is offering USD 90 million of this series and USD 5 million of the 5.25% Solar Bonds, Series 2016/12-5, that are due on June 10, 2021.

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June 6, 2016 | And the Award for the Worst Solar Stock Goes To...SolarCity

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SolarCity has turned into one of the most vulnerable stocks this year. It poorly missed its own fourth quarter 2015 and first quarter 2016 installation guidance.

Due to this, stockholders are now worried about the company’s sales and financing costs. The regulatory headwinds and financing problems troubling the residential solar sector are hitting it very hard.

It is very clear that doubling in the sales costs leads to massive problems for SolarCity. As a consequence, escalating sales efforts is only consuming whatever small amount of cash SolarCity has left. Moreover, the recent earnings reports clearly indicate that the company’s balance sheet is not in a good condition. SolarCity is making some same mistakes that SunEdison made, a lack of perspective for fiscal action, which led SunEdison to bankruptcy.

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May 18, 2016 | Blazing SpaceX Rocket Suffered 'Max' Damage

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The SpaceX Falcon rocket that landed on an ocean platform after catapulting a communications satellite toward orbit sustained heavy damage due to its extremely high speed, says company founder and chief executive Elon Musk.

Before the May 6 launch, SpaceX downplayed chances the rocket’s first-stage would even be able to repeat the successful ocean landing of the previous mission, a cargo run to the International Space Station for NASA.

After coasting to an altitude 76 miles above Earth, the rocket slammed into the atmosphere at Mach 5.7. With a half-mile left to go, the rocket ignited three of its nine engines to shave its speed from 441 mph to 134 mph in three seconds.

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May 15, 2016 | Electric Vehicle's Emit More Pollutants Than Fossil Fuel-Burning Cars, Says Study

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A study from the University of Edinburgh shows that electric and hybrid vehicles emit as many, if not more, atmospheric toxins than fossil fuel-burning vehicles.

The study, conducted by Victor Timmers and Peter Achten at the University of Edinburgh, and published by the journal Atmospheric Environment, found that heavier electric vehicles produce as many pollutants as their lighter weight conventional vehicles.

Electric vehicles tend to produce more pollutants from tire and brake wear, due in large part to their batteries, as well as the other parts needed to propel them, making them heavier.

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May 13, 2016 | Elon Musk's SolarCity Into Federal Corruption Probe

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SolarCity, one of the largest installers of rooftop solar panels in the U.S., has been subpoenaed by the Department of Justice as part of an ongoing corruption probe into New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration.

Federal prosecutors want SolarCity’s records regarding Cuomo’s so-called Buffalo Billion plan, which has New York taxpayers paying $750 million to finance a one million-square-foot “gigafactory” for SolarCity near the city of Buffalo.

Once complete, SolarCity will rent out the gigafactory for $2 a year for the first ten years on the condition the company hit “full production levels six months after construction ends, employ 1,460 in Buffalo and 500 at the plant for five years,” according to Newsday.

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May 10, 2016 | Elon Musk's SolarCity Technology is Getting Burned

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It’s not summer yet, but Elon Musk already has a nasty sunburn.

SolarCity — the solar-panel installer co-founded by two of Musk’s cousins and chaired by the billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX himself — slashed its 2016 installation forecast as it revealed a wider-than-expected loss.

The dimmed outlook singed SolarCity shares, which tumbled 21 percent Tuesday, to close at $17.82. The stock is down nearly 70 percent over the past 12 months.

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May 10, 2016 | SolarCity is in a 'first-class crisis,' Jim Cramer says

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Shares of the Elon Musk-co-founded firm plunged almost 21 percent, a day after reporting a larger-than-expected loss.

SolarCity posted an adjusted first-quarter loss of $2.56 per share on Monday, while analysts polled by Reuters expected a loss of $2.32 per share.

The company also guided to a wider-than-expected loss for the second quarter. It expects sales of $135 million to $143 million in the second quarter, versus a forecast for $151 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

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December 14, 2015 |Heavily Subsidized and Failing: Elon Musk and SolarCity

Elon Musk is buying more shares of his own company, SolarCity, as Congress appears to be on the verge of reaching a compromise on renewable energy tax incentives that would leave out solar energy development. With SolarCity’s stock plummeting in value, Musk has reportedly lost about $155 million in the value of the company’s stock he owns. While solar energy in general, and SolarCity in particular struggle to be viable on the open market, Elon Musk is seeing his dream of success in solar energy fading fast.

Solar energy, like most form of renewable energy, struggles to become viable on the open market without significant government subsidies and/or tax incentives. In most instances, the energy produced by renewable energy is priced significantly higher than that generated by convention energy sources such as coal, natural gas, nuclear power. The political environment on Capitol Hill appears to have become less favorable for solar energy.

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November 16, 2015 | Why SolarCity is Struggling to Adapt

When most people think about SolarCity Corp , they think about this innovative company that’s revolutionizing energy as we know it, giving control of electric power back to the people. In some ways, that’s true, but it overstates how SolarCity’s operations really work — and the reason the company has struggled so much lately.

In reality, SolarCity is really a pushy door-to-door salesman and telemarketer that’s urging you to sign on the dotted line as fast as possible so he can move on to the next sale. SolarCity doesn’t advertise that these are its sales tactics, but that’s the reality of residential solar as we know it today, and it’s why the company’s sales costs have skyrocketed over the past year. Customers aren’t signing as quickly as they once were, and SolarCity is having to spend more and more money to get new contracts.

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August 24, 2015 | Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will be guests on Stephen Colbert's Late Show

Colbert’s Late Show takes a turn starting the night after. He’s inviting on SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk for its second night.

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August 22, 2015 | Elon Musk's Hyperloop - the futuristic transportation system that’s faster than an airplane to start construction in 2016

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) wants to prove they can shoulder the load that comes with creating something straight out of science fiction.

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August 13, 2015 | Tesla files to sell $500 million in stock, and Elon Musk wants some

Tesla said in its filing that it planned to use proceeds from this offering to build out its supercharger network and for development of its Gigafactory, which Tesla is building in Nevada, where it plans to build the lithium-ion batteries that power its cars and home-powering batteries.

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August 10, 2015 | Tesla Is Hemorrhaging Money Despite Millions In Gov’t Subsidies

Liberal entrepreneur Elon Musk’s business ventures have benefited from nearly $5 billion in government subsidies in the past few years, but apparently that’s not enough taxpayer support to stop his electric car business from losing $4,000 on every vehicle it sells.

Tesla Motors “burned $359 million in cash last quarter in a bull market for luxury vehicles,” according to Reuters, causing the company to “cut its production targets for this year and next.” Musk may even be forced to sell more stock to help plug the gap in the company’s finances.

Musk clearly hopes the battery packs will revolutionize the green energy industry and urge more people to buy solar panels — something that would help his other business, SolarCity, which already benefits from federal tax credits. So far, most solar panel users have opted not to use Tesla’s batteries because they can sell their solar power to utilities for money.

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August 9, 2015 | Insight: Tesla burns cash, loses more than $4,000 on every car sold

The Silicon Valley automaker is losing more than $4,000 on every Model S electric sedan it sells, using its reckoning of operating losses, and it burned $359 million in cash last quarter in a bull market for luxury vehicles.

To be sure, GM sells more than 9 million vehicles a year, while Tesla plans to build between 50,000 and 55,000 cars this year. Tesla, most of whose cars are built to order directly, delivered 11,532 cars in the second period and said it had an operating loss of about $47 million, for an operating loss per car of about $4,000.

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August 7, 2015 | This is why Elon Musk's SpaceX has been buying up SolarCity's bonds

Despite that the bonds can be attractive to companies and retail investors, SpaceX’s bond purchase is still somewhat unusual given the space company is a venture capital-backed startup with its own large expenses and high-risk plans. One of SpaceX’s rockets exploded at the end of June, which has only added expenses and volatility to the company. And of course, the deal also stands out just because Elon Musk is the CEO of one company and the Chairman of the other.

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August 4, 2015 | Tech’s Enduring Great-Man Myth

Musk’s success would not have been possible without, among other things, government funding for basic research and subsidies for electric cars and solar panels. Above all, he has benefited from a long series of innovations in batteries, solar cells, and space travel. He no more produced the technological landscape in which he operates than the Russians created the harsh winter that allowed them to vanquish Napoleon. Yet in the press and among venture capitalists, the great-man model of Musk persists, with headlines citing, for instance, “His Plan to Change the Way the World Uses Energy” and his own claim of “changing history.”

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July 30, 2015 | No, Elon Musk’s Solar Battery Project Won’t Revolutionize American Energy

“In the United States, the economics don’t make sense. If we could calculate all that you’ve invested in your energy infrastructure – all the wires, all the power plants, we’re talking 70 hundred trillion dollars which you’ve already paid off,” Nocera said, exaggerating for effect, “You’re not going to walk away from that” — Daniel Nocera, Harvard professor and inventor of artificial photosynthesis

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July 23, 2015 | Tesla gets $295M in green subsidy credits for technology not offered to customers

Tesla Motors has earned more than $295 million in green subsidy emission credits during the past three years for a battery-swapping technology customers weren’t getting.

In fact, the electric car company, owned in part by billionaire Elon Musk, may have earned credits up to nearly half a billion dollars in value from the 11 states that use the Zero Emission Vehicle barter as part of a green auto industry mandate. California created the program and leads the pack, doling out $173 million in credits to the Silicon Valley-based Tesla.

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July 16, 2015 | Elon Musk Helps California Rank No. 1 for Hillary Clinton Fundraising

Tesla’s Elon Musk, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Dreamworks co-founder Steven Spielberg, and actor Leonardo DiCaprio are among the Silicon Valley and Hollywood stars making California the No. 1 state for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign fundraising last quarter.

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July 9, 2015 | Meet the first American astronauts headed to space from U.S. soil in years

In a dramatic departure, NASA last year awarded contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts to the space station, the orbital laboratory about 250 miles above the Earth’s surface. By outsourcing the missions to low-Earth orbit, NASA says it can then focus on its main goal: flying to deep space, even Mars.

There are also renewed concerns about whether it is prudent to rely so heavily on contractors for such important missions. Both Orbital Sciences (now Orbital ATK) and SpaceX, the companies used by NASA to fly food and supplies to the station on unmanned missions, have seen their rockets explode in recent months. And now, both companies are temporarily sidelined as they work to fix whatever problems caused the failures.

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June 28, 2015 | SpaceX’s rocket just exploded. Here’s why that’s such a big deal

The Orbital failure raised questions about NASA’s bold plan to outsource the cargo resupply mission to contractors in the wake of the space shuttle retirement in 2011.

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June 10, 2015 | Tesla doubles power output in Powerwall home units

“Even with the upgrade in power output, Musk says the price of the unilt will be unchanged. He says he envisioned the basic unit costing $3,500 plus $500 for installation.”

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June 4, 2015 | Elon Musk, LA Times clash over article on government incentives

Brian Thevenot, deputy business editor for the Times, told CNBC that the intent of the article wasn’t to depict Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity as government-funded parasites, but just to report on the facts of their business strategies.

“I’m actually surprised that he [Musk] had such a sensitive reaction to this story,” Thevenot said. He added that the story “paints a picture” that he believes Musk would agree with, showing that companies use government money to grow high-risk industries.

Thereunto said the point of the story was to report on that strategy and “let the public debate whether it is right or wrong.”

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June 3, 2015 | Crony Capitalism Pays Big For Democratic Donor Elon Musk

The continued subsidies of SolarCity, TPA believes, is nothing more than corporate welfare to a failing technology.

Another report released by TPA in April details SolarCity’s financial House of Cards, “SolarCity reported a net loss of $141 million for the 4th quarter of 2014, despite a 52 percent  increase in revenue, strong demand, and clear dominance in  the rooftop solar market.”

“If Musk is correct and the incentives aren’t necessary, he should then give up those handouts and survive based upon private investment rather than taxpayer subsidies. Subsidies to the solar industry are a waste of money and need to be stopped immediately.”–TPA President David Williams

The same could be said in our opinion for the rest of the subsidies in Elon Musk’s crony government-fed portfolio.

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June 2, 2015 | Exclusive Elon Musk: 'If I cared about subsidies, I would have entered the oil and gas industry'

Elon Musk’s “corporate strategy of incubating high-risk, high-tech companies with government money — estimating the total received or pledged so far at $4.9 billion, a figure Musk did not dispute. The story noted that his companies have seen a big financial upside from the incentives — helping them build billions in stock value — while taxpayers have shouldered the cost.”

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June 1, 2015 | Is Elon Musk Addicted To Your Tax Dollars?

Does Elon Musk have an addiction to government subsidies?

That’s the thrust of an investigative story in the Los Angeles Times this weekend. The Times concludes that based on the data they obtained, SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Solar City have benefitted from a combined $4.9 billion in government support. That’s a lot.

The taxpayer funds for Musk’s various endeavors come at the federal and state levels.

I guess it comes down to whether or not you think government (specifically, your own tax dollars) has any role in subsidizing private businesses. On one hand, they’re helping to create jobs, grow burgeoning industries, and perhaps even make the world a better place with more zero emission cars and solar energy, if you’re an idealist. And an optimist. Also, it’s not like our state and federal governments don’t subsidize the hell out of other businesses.

On the other hand, the Times’ report raises questions about whether any of Musk’s companies can survive in the long term without being subsidized by the government, as well as who has really benefitted from all that support.

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May 31, 2015 | Elon Musk’s $5 Billion In Govt Subsidies Helps Make Ends Meet

Elon Musk “definitely goes where there is government money. That’s a great strategy, but the government will cut you off one day.”– Dan Dolev, an analyst at Jefferies Equity Research.

Musk and his companies’ investors reap all of the financial rewards of the government support, while taxpayers assume much of the cost.

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May 30, 2015 | Elon Musk's growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies

Since 2006, SolarCity has installed systems for 217,595 customers, according to a corporate filing. If each paid the current average price for a residential system — about $23,000, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists — the cost to the government would total about $1.5 billion, which would include the Treasury grants paid to SolarCity.

Musk and his companies’ investors enjoy most of the financial upside of the government support, while taxpayers shoulder the cost.

The payoff for the public would come in the form of major pollution reductions, but only if solar panels and electric cars break through as viable mass-market products. For now, both remain niche products for mostly well-heeled customers.

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April 15, 2015 | Musk’s Cousins Battle Utilities to Make Solar Rooftops Cheap

Solar installations are heavily subsidized by the state and federal governments and the utility itself. Installers of solar panels get to take 30 percent of the cost off their federal tax bill.

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March 5, 2015 | Elon Musk And His Apparent Regrets Over The 13th Amendment

Crony Capitalist scheme hatched by Billionaire Government-Connected Crony Elon Musk and the condignly disgraced Governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber.

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March 4, 2015 | Not Content With Enormous Taxpayer Subsidies, Elon Musk Turned To Prison Labor For Cost Savings

Disgraced former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber isn’t the only big name caught up in the emerging green energy scandal in the Pacific Northwest: SolarCity, the brainchild of billionaire corporate welfare queen Elon Musk, was also heavily involved in some of Kitzhaber’s shady schemes.

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