Business ‘Savant’ Andrew Ross Sorkin Gets Elon Musk Very, Very Wrong

Actually, Elon Musk isn’t the Tony Stark of anything.  And the only person behind Tesla and Solar City is a government bureaucrat – writing Musk yet another government check.

So far, Musk has received FIVE BILLION DOLLARS in government money – mostly for his “green energy” business fallacies.  He is arguably the world’s largest welfare recipient.

And Musk’s ridiculous solar panel and electric car companies only serve as just two more totally unnecessary reminders that “green energy” is actually neither green nor energy.

Solar panels cost a ton of (government) money – and produce almost no energy for that money.  You’ll never get back the up-front coin in lifetime energy savings.  And the panels, once spent, have to be disposed of as if they are nuclear waste.

Electric cars also cost a ton of (government) money – and also cost way more up front than you’ll ever make up in energy savings over the life of the car.  Unless you drive the car roughly two thousand years.  And the energy it burns – is electricity.  Which is produced mostly by…coal – an energy source from which the Green Machine is supposedly trying to escape.

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Cut off Elon Musk’s Government Subsidy Gravy Train

Wednesday, Leonardo DiCaprio made a visit to Trump Tower. The reason? Selling the incoming administration on the creation of “millions of green jobs.” He wants the government to put its thumb on the scale to favor his pet industries. This nonsense must stop, and President Trump’s first one hundred day agenda would benefit from a plan for ending the out-of-control crony capitalism that has made this kind of activity commonplace.

DiCaprio is easy to criticize: a movie star who addresses the UN. He hectors the government to spend money on things that voters do not prioritize as highly as he does…because, you know, he knows best. But this does more than just infuriate voters. It is regulatory capture but on a grand, political scale. It warps capital markets, warps entire sectors of our economy and diverts entrepreneurs from market-driven pursuits.

It is not a theoretical point. Take the case of Elon Musk, who has become one of the more successful entrepreneurs chasing government dollars. In a sense, Musk is a tragic story of how one of the world’s most talented entrepreneurs has become sidetracked by crony capitalism.

We are all aware of President Obama’s obsession with electric vehicles (EVs), for example. In 2011, he pledged that the United States would have one million new generation electric cars on the road by 2015 and pledged billions to do it. He and a bipartisan consensus in Congress wasted gobs of money and warped markets to miss that absurd goal by a yawning margin. Likewise, he threw billions at solar energy with direct and indirect subsidies. Solar power is still not cost competitive.

From that, Musk made billions.

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NYT reporter swoons over Elon Musk

Moreover, Mr. Musk caused a net loss of manufacturing jobs. Suppose the $4.9 billion he wrested from the government had instead been distributed to the private business community through lower taxes. The annual average cost of a manufacturing job in the United States, including pay and benefits, approximates $81,300. That means private businesses would have created approximately 60,000 manufacturing jobs if they had received the same financial support government showered on Mr. Musk. His three lavishly subsidized businesses have thus caused a net loss of 25,000 manufacturing jobs. Sorkin’s effusive praise of Musk as “a prime example of everything we want our business leaders to be” is nonsense on stilts.

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SPACEX CREW DRAGON TEST FLIGHTS DELAYED (AS USUAL)

In a revised schedule released by NASA on Dec. 12, 2016, it was revealed that SpaceX has delayed test flights for its Crew Dragon spacecraft by a number of months. According to Space News, this is, in part, due to the Sept. 1 Falcon 9 pad explosion.

The NASA statement gave no reason for the delays other than it reflected a “fourth quarter update” from both SpaceX as well as the Boeing dates that were revised in October 2016.

Before the release, SpaceX was still targeting a May 2017 uncrewed test flight and a crewed flight in August 2017. However, that has been pushed to November 2017 and May 2018, respectively.

SpaceX is still investigating the exact cause of the Sept. 1 explosion. The company was hoping to return to flight as early as this week; however, last week, it was revealed the company needed more time to finalize their findings. Currently, the first flight is scheduled for early January 2017. That flight is expected to send 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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Tesla: Where’s The Value?

The cherry on the cake is definitely this convoluted attempt by Musk to consolidate his “dreams” with the SolarCity merger. Neither company is financially sound. SolarCity has a hard time making money. Tesla ALMOST never makes money. So where’s the value? The notion that the two will create a solar house that charges your car for almost nothing is grand, but the timelines seem absurd. We can talk all we want about the merit of solar shingles and zero emissions. It very much is the way of the future. That doesn’t mean that Musk and his cohort are going to be the ones to succeed. As shareholders, you need to see a return on your investment. It has been years. Both companies have run up revenues. Both companies have failed to consolidate those gains. This story has Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) written all over it. In many ways both of these firms have been coddled into growth. Between subsidies and “enthusiastic” share pricing (which has allowed for large capital raising through stock sales), Tesla and SolarCity were given the fuel to get the show rolling. Unfortunately this same “incentive” has driven the two companies into complacency. Musk seems convinced that everyone will support his show to the end no matter how long it takes. The longer it takes to deliver some real results, the less likely this will be the case.

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Elon Musk To Attend Trump Meeting Orchestrated By Musk’s Business Partner

Billionaire Elon Musk is attending President-elect Donald Trump’s tech industry meeting, which is being orchestrated by the tech-entrepreneur’s business partner, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Musk is the CEO of Tesla Motors and SolarCity, and is a close associate of Peter Thiel, the tech investor who backed Trump during his presidential campaign. Apple CEO Tim Cook  and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg will also appear at the Wednesday meeting.

They were both founders of PayPal — and Thiel’s venture-capital firm Founders Fund also contributes millions of dollars to SpaceX.

SpaceX has been awarded contracts valued at more than $6.5 billion over the past eight years, mostly to delivering cargo to NASA’s primary space station. It’s also working on securing contracts from the Air Force valued at more than $100 million.

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Elon Musk is not the answer for Democrats

Taxpayers also heavily bankroll Musk’s businesses. Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that Musk’s corporate empire had received a total of $4.9 billion in government subsidies.

For example, the federal government gives each Tesla buyer a $7,500 tax credit. Many states give additional credits as well.

So, yes, Musk has made billions of dollars because taxpayers are subsidizing the purchase of $85,000 dollar sports cars and costly solar panels. I doubt that will sit well with working-class voters.

The only reason Tesla was profitable last quarter stems from the sale of $139 million dollars worth of “clean” tax credits to companies that make money from the sale of traditional, gas-burning cars and trucks.

Undoubtedly, Donald Trump is also a product of coastal elitism. However, Trump was able to overcome this hurdle with working-class voters by channeling their frustrations with elites.

Democrats hoping that Musk will be their billion

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SpaceX customer switches a satellite launch order to European competitor

A SpaceX customer has switched to a European competitor for one satellite launch, citing delays in the Hawthorne space company’s schedule after a September explosion.

Satellite communications firm Inmarsat said Thursday that it has signed a contract with French rocket company Arianespace to launch a satellite for the European Aviation Network, a broadband system comprised of both satellites and ground networks.

That satellite is set to be launched in mid-2017 from French Guiana.

Inmarsat had originally planned to launch the satellite with SpaceX, but said it decided to switch to Arianespace “following the delay in SpaceX’s launch schedule.”

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Conservative Group, Liberal Bloggers Trade Shots Over Elon Musk’s Taxpayer Subsidies

A conservative advocacy group has a special name for liberal bloggers who have rushed in to defend the business practices of Elon Musk, the multibillionaire co-founder of taxpayer-funded renewable energy and space technology companies. It calls them “stoogers.”

Despite “mounting evidence of cronyism by his crumbling empire, Elon Musk has tapped stooge-like left-wing bloggers to come to his defense,” according to a press release from Citizens for the Republic, a grassroots conservative group based in Alexandria, Virginia.

The group bitingly defines a “stooger” as “a liberal person … living in their basement spewing left-wing prevarications and slander via blogs, which few read.”

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