Ok. I admit it. I am an Elon Musk fan. After all, what’s not to like. “Elon Musk.” Great name! It even sounds like it smells good. Better than Roy Filly – sounds like a horse. And he’s young – only 44 years old. I’ll be 72 years old soon and lots of my body parts hurt. And he’s a billionaire. I have to admit, I’d like to be a billionaire. Bernie could call me all the names he wants while I flew to Zürich on my private jet to tax shelter a few million in a Swiss bank. And he owns three of the coolest companies on the planet: Space X, Solar City, and Tesla. I’d love to own just one Tesla, Model S, let alone the whole company. It’s the fastest production car. It’s beautiful. It drives itself. I don’t know if he has a Bat Cave, but I wouldn’t be surprised!
OK, Dr. Filly, say you. You must have a point besides being a sycophant. Oh, indeed I do, answer I – but first a short preamble. Anyone with a brain that walked up to a free trough of caviar, foie gras, and medium rare rib eye steaks would gratefully stick their snout in for a free meal. Well, our government provides any number of these “free troughs,” and our superhero, Elon, has dipped in vigorously.
[Source: Elon Musk – Crony King, by Steve Sherman]
…Read the lofty interplanetary goals from the SpaceX website… SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.
Oh, just that! Wow! Lofty goals to say the least.
… The third Elon Musk venture is called Solar City. They are a manufacturer of solar panels for residential and commercial use. They boast, “Get control of your energy costs with America’s #1 solar provider.” This is where all the cool stuff starts to go all wrong… Sometimes, even the coolest of companies just don’t turn a profit.
Solar City, makes solar panels and kind of rhymes with Solyndra, remember them? It turns out that no matter how “cool” it is to talk about owning a solar panel company, it’s pretty difficult to make a buck building and selling solar panels. True market viability may only exist on another planet. There have been literally dozens of companies with liberal dreams of solar panel success who have ended in bankruptcy. To name a few: Suntech Power, LDK Solar, Q-Cells, and the most famous disaster, Solyndra. It looks like Solar City may be on its way to the same fate. Over the last year USA Today reported that Solar City has been sucking wind. It has lost 63% of its value.
It’s been almost as bad for Tesla. The revolutionary car company took a 40% hit. That is about a $15.7 Billion in market value losses between the two companies. Ouch! Elon Musk personally took a 50% loss on the two beleaguered ventures.
So what? No big deal…right? Billions invested, billions lost, what goes up, comes down. Well, that would be true if it weren’t for that fact that billions and billions of the money had come from the American taxpayer…not just venture capitalists. Solar City and Tesla have taken more than $4.9 billion in subsidies from federal and state governments… The fact is that both of these companies would not exist without the backing from government entities…
Right on the front page of the Solar City web site it makes this staggering claim, “We’re backed by billions…” Here is a list of the companies who have invested in Solyndra…I mean Solar City. Honda, Goldman Sachs, Google, US Bancorp, Citibank, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Oz-Corp, and Hydra. Okay, I made up those last two, but strangely omitted from the list of folks who have invested billions in these failed ventures is the American taxpayer!
As I stated at the outset, when one walks up to a free trough of delicious foods, who wouldn’t dig in. When a genius like Musk walks up to a government trough of free money… well, why not.
My friends, I wouldn’t mind the government picking “winners and losers” if they actually could pick correctly once in a while. But let’s face it. Their track record is about as good as Bernie Madoff.