It’s no secret that left-wing progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an avowed socialist, is not a big fan of America’s wealthy. He has long decried the fact that the U.S. capitalist system has made it possible for citizens to amass significant wealth.
Over the weekend, Sen. Sanders got into a bit of a spat with SpaceX CEO and Tesla “Technoking” Elon Musk.
Sanders’ problem? He hates that people like Musk (and Washington Post and Amazon.com owner Jeff Bezos) have billions of dollars to their names.
According to the lawmaker, Musk’s wealth is a big moral issue. He tweeted Thursday, “We are in a moment in American history where two guys — Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos — own more wealth than the bottom 40% of people in this country. That level of greed and inequality is not only immoral. It is unsustainable.”
Sanders’ attack came one day after he and a handful of his fellow left-wing legislators introduced their “Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act,” which, according to the senator’s website, would hike “taxes on companies that pay their top executives at least 50 times more than the pay of a median worker.”
Shahan, who said he agrees with Sanders’ overall call to address wealth inequality, took the senator to task for attacking Musk as though the Tesla chief is some sort of cash-hoarding monster:
Elon Musk’s wealth is not in gold or cash. It is not in houses or yachts. His enormous wealth comes from the fact that companies he founded have gotten so large and successful, and the related fact that he he doesn’t sell his stock in those companies. He’s so wealthy because so many investors have poured so much money into the expectation that his companies will do better and better as the years go on. Elon is not hoarding cash. He doesn’t have cash to hoard. He has said that he takes out loans based on his net worth when he needs to buy things, rather than selling stock. He isn’t being greedy and just accumulating more and more cash.
Musk saw the CleanTechnica piece and replied to Sanders’ attacks in a tweet.
“I am accumulating resources to help make life multiplanetary & extend the light of consciousness to the stars,” Musk wrote.
Sanders, naturally, remained singularly focused and once again went on the attack against Musk’s wealth and the “obscene” American inequality that it allegedly represents.
“Space travel is an exciting idea, but right now we need to focus on Earth and create a progressive tax system so that children don’t go hungry, people are not homeless and all Americans have healthcare,” Sanders wrote. “The level of inequality in America is obscene and a threat to our democracy.”
Sanders has publicly attacked Musk and his wealth before
This isn’t the first time Sanders has gone on the attack against Musk and his fortune.
Last summer, the Post reported, the socialist senator called for a 60% tax on the wealth American billionaires pulled in during the pandemic.
As justification for this tax, Sanders tweeted a series of examples of wealthy Americans whose wealth had increased during as the coronavirus spread across the states. One of those tweets went after Musk specifically: “While 40 million Americans face eviction, Elon Musk has nearly tripled his wealth over the past four months and now has a net worth of more than $70 billion.”