The truth is that Musk went rent-seeking with the government by way of his network, got a loan to demonstrate that Tesla was an operational company with real possibilities, and used that fact to go to Wall Street to raise capital. It is a lot easier to raise capital when you have the federal government demonstrating it believes in you.
But hey, it’s not like Musk and Obama are buddies. Then again, they did have dinner in February 2015, Musk donating almost $36,000 to the 2012 Obama Victory Fund, and another 30 grand to the Democratic National Committee.
This back-scratching feels like it extends to SpaceX. On Sept. 1, its Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad during a test run. It took less than four months for the FAA to approve SpaceX’s explanation for the explosion and to schedule a new flight.
Remember how NASA flipped out after any mishap involving the space shuttle, and would ban flights for years until they figured out what was wrong? As of now, SpaceX is privately funded. Yet the obvious capital injection by the government seems inevitable. After all, the government can outsource any of its orbital needs to SpaceX, which would naturally mean offering it a massive loan in order to hasten that process. With this week’s successful launch, get ready for more government money for Musk.