The Crony Capitalist King

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If Elon Musk’s various projects are so Iron Man fabulous, why do they all need so much government “help”? Shouldn’t Tesla – and Solar City and SpaceX – be able to stand on their merits… if they actually have merit?musk lead

Tesla fanbois – and Musk himself – will tell you all about the virtues of his electric cars. They are sleek and speedy. This is true. But they are also expensive (the least expensive model, the pending Model X, will reportedly start around $35k, about the same price as a luxury sedan like the Lexus ES350) and come standard with a number of significant functional deficits such as a best-case range about half that of most conventional cars and recharge times at least 4-5 times as long as it takes to refuel a conventional car.

That’s if you can find a Tesla “supercharger” station.

If not, then the recharge time becomes hours rather than half an hour.

But the real problem with Tesla cars is that no one actually buys them.

Well, not directly.

Their manufacture is heavily subsidized – and their sale is heavily subsidized

Either way, the taxpayer (rather than the “buyer”) is the one who gets the bill.Musk lead 2

On the manufacturing end, Tesla got $1.3 billion in special crony-capitalist  “incentives” from the state of Nevada to build its battery factory there. This includes an exemption from having to pay any property taxes (unlike you and I) for the next 20 years. Another inducement was $195 million in transferable tax credits – which Tesla could sell for cash.

California provides similar inducements – including $15 million from the state of California to “create jobs” in the state.

Tesla does not make money by selling cars, either.

It makes money by selling “carbon credits” to real car companies that make functionally and economically viable vehicles that can and do sell on the merits – but which are not “zero emissions” vehicles, as the electric Tesla is claimed to be (but isn’t, actually, unless you don’t count the emissions produced by the utility plants that provide the electricity they run on, or the emissions produced mining the materials necessary to make the hundreds of pounds of batteries needed by each car).

Laws in nine states (including California) require each automaker selling cars in the state to sell a certain number of “zero emissions” vehicles, else be fined. Since only electric cars qualify under the law as “zero emissions” vehicles – and the majority of cars made by the real car companies are not electric cars – they end up having to “purchase” (air quotes for the same reason that you are a “customer” of the IRS’s)  these “carbon credits” from Tesla, subsidizing Tesla’s operations and adding to the expense of manufacturing their own functionally and economically viable cars.Musk 3

The amount Tesla has “earned” this way is in the neighborhood of $517 million.     

Tesla is a newfangled taken on the welfare queen. Or more accurately, the EBT card – which is designed to look like a credit card. To have the appearance of a legitimate transaction … as opposed to a welfare payment.

Underneath the glitz and showmanship, that’s what all of Musk’s “businesses” are about. They all depend entirely on government – that is, on taxpayer “help” – in order to survive.

Without that “help,” none of Musk’s Tesla’s could survive.

It is estimated that Tesla’s various ventures – including his new SolarCity solar panel operation and SpaceX – have cost taxpayers at least $4.9 billion, with Tesla accounting for about half of that dole.

And he still loses money.

Musk fanbois will counter by pointing out that other businesses – including the car business – also get “help” from the government (that is, from taxpayers) which is perfectly true. But that’s not much of a defense – much less a refutation of the charge that Musk is a crony capitalist.

Which is all he is.Tesla 5

The real difference between Musk’s operations and those of say General Motors is that General Motors’s products are fundamentally viable while Tesla’s are not. GM is happy to accept government “help” when offered but it is not necessary for taxpayers to bankroll the production of Corvettes – nor provide thousands of dollars in cash incentives to each prospective buyer in order to “stimulate” sales.

The straight dope is that Tesla could not build a single car without the government’s help. Take away that “help” and the actual cost would be so prohibitive that virtually no one except perhaps fellow billionaires like Musk with money to burn on toys would buy a Tesla.

As it is – even with massive subsidies at the manufacturing level and then again at the retail level – each Tesla still “sells” at a loss of several thousand dollars per car … adding up to almost $400 million so far this year (the company just announced this; see here).

The typical Tesla “buyer,” meanwhile, has an annual income in excess of $250,000.

Why are taxpayers – the majority of them not earning $250k annually – being taxed to support the “purchase” of electric exotic cars by extremely affluent people?

Why should taxpayers be made to subsidize any of Musk’s “businesses”?crony pic

He’s a billionaire.

And – we’re constantly told – a really smart guy.

Surely he could fund (or find) the private capital necessary to fund his various projects. The fact that he could not find private – that is, willing – investors but instead has to rely on the coercive power of the government to fund his projects speaks volumes about the fundamental worth of his projects.

He “succeeds” only because of his ability to game the system, not by offering products that people are willing to pay for (using their own money, that is).

The heroic real-life Tony Stark image notwithstanding, Musk is an operator – not a creator of value.

He has more in common with the vulture capitalist oligarchs of the former Soviet Union than with the namesake of his electric car company.

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63 COMMENTS

  1. I hold no brief for Musk or Tesla, but there is a perfectly good reason for Musk to take literally any government money that’s on offer: because it’s there.

    Musk – and the other people running Tesla, SpaceX etc – would be failing in their fiduciary duty if they did not utilise all possible means to reduce their WACC (weighted average cost of capital). By exploiting .gov they reduce their debt-to-equity ratio, and obtain funding that has a literally zero expected return. Contrast that with the expected return (and the balance sheet dilution) that happens when you go to the private market for capital.

    I am more ardently anti-gov than any individual since Lysander Spooner (and even I give him a run for his money), but I am not an idiot. As a result, I would not slam the door if someone from the government turned up and offered me millions of dollars for something I planned to do anyhow.

    Getting a business with huge startup costs (i.e., large fixed costs due to large-scale plant and machinery) is difficult under the best of circumstances, but when your competitors get billions of dollars a year in funding from .gov (and the same types of tax breaks for new plants and investments in capital goods), you would be an absolute mug (and, I reiterate, would violate your fiduciary obligations to your shareholders) if you didn’t take whatever was on offer.

    This line of reasoning is identical to the one I use when people assert that Paul Krugman is an idiot for advocating stuff that makes him look like an economic ignoramus. He’s not an idiot, and he’s not an ignoramus… but at some point in his life, someone made him a 7-figures-a-year offer to write the sort of stuff he writes: I would do exactly the same thing if I had the same offer, and anyone who claims they wouldn’t has never had a credible 7-figure offer.

    The correct way to think about it is: better that this money be in my pockets, than the pockets of someone else.

    • Hi Krato,

      Well, welfare/EBT is also “just there.” Should I stop earning my keep and go on the dole. Become a taker – like Musk?

    • Hello Krato,
      I have also heard repeatedly that “fiduciary duty” excuse from probably the same sources as you have.
      Lets examine that excuse closer… Lets say the Mafia collected “fees” at implied gunpoint from local businesses (for “protection” of course). A wealthy man who produces wildly expensive cars is well aware of the vast sums of money that the Mafia has stolen, and he offers cars for a drastically reduced price to the Mafia boss and his friends in exchange for a portion of the stolen loot.
      Is the fiduciary duty to attempt to grab a portion of the stolen loot justified? Does might make right? Can I call myself a “government” , rob my neighbor and then offer the money to Musk or to any other business? What if I got a majority vote?
      The people who came up with the “fiduciary duty” argument to tell us merely created an excuse to justify their acceptance of stolen goods.
      This is but one of many reasons that Statism can never be a moral way to organize society.

    • It’s ok to take stolen funds if there’s no way to repatriate them, and they would be as ill, or worse used if left in other hands.

      What’s not ok is to say this is a general justification for the process, and it’s certainly not ok to critique someone like Eric who is pointing out the theft is wrong, and illuminating the results of that theft as part of the reason it’s wrong.

      If Musk was saying, “The system is wrong, I do not support it, but so long as it exists, why shouldn’t it be me who games it?, and also my gaming it may be an example that gets it stopped.”

      That would make it ok. As it is, he’s taking advantage of money stolen from all of us, which can _possibly_ be justified, but supporting the continuation of the system of exploitation, funded by the fruits of that exploitation, which cannot _possibly_ be justified.

      It’s ok for someone who’s honestly looking for work, and who may have been put out of work by a ‘free trade’ deal or a minimum wage law, to accept state relief, but the burden is on him to not become corrupted.

      The second he walks into a voting booth and votes for an extension of relief, for him or anyone else, he’s become part of the problem.

  2. Eric,

    I used to like your thoughts, and mostly still do. But the boner you have for crushing Musk is getting tiresome.
    Granted, Musk is wrong when he calls for a carbon tax. That is a logical error. People make those you know. He is also wrong when he cites climate change as the reason we need to switch to BEVs. That said, he is a visionary that makes exciting, compelling cars that non green believers like myself want to buy.
    Do you really think that the ICE manufactures are not on their knee pads before the feds asking for whatever they can get? GM? Chrysler? Oh, how about the oil industry? Also, a libertarian like yourself should try and appreciate the fact that less dependence on foreign oil = less foreign wars. And you should be decrying the coercive efforts of the ICE networks to block Tesla from selling directly to consumers. That is anti free market.

    It’s OK to have a little fun Eric. Don’t be a clover. 🙂

    • Hi John,

      Of course the ICE manufacturers are taking everything they can get. Does that make it right? But the difference between them and Tesla is simply this: ICE care are economically and functionally viable. Electric cars are neither. They are ridiculously expensive; they are hobbled by short range and long recharge times and performance greatly affected by conditions.

      Electric cars are toys.

      And Tesla’s exotic electric cars are atrocities.

      • I see a great many cars and pickups, almost all GM’s, every day that are 20+ years old, have hundreds of thousands of miles on them and are running fine, with the original engine and the second transmission. No doubt Tesla’s will beat hell out of this type of reliability. What’s the life of a battery for one? I mean the ones that don’t burst into flames.

    • Dependence on foreign oil isn’t the reason for foreign wars. The military/industrial/welfare complex that profits to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars is the main reason we have foreign wars. Iran would gladly sell us more oil than we could use at a price our domestic producers couldn’t compete with in any way. And that’s just one country.

      The price of oil is now a bit of $45/bbl. Once it reaches $60 our own oil industry will be full out exploring…..and even now, rigs are going back up in Tx.

  3. We’ve basically allowed a California regulatory agency (CARB) to establish national policy on emissions & subsidies.

    The lucrative carbon credits trade (from the zero-emissions vehicle requirement) wouldn’t exist without CARB.

    They’re also the reason (with their ridiculously strict NOx standards) you’ll never be able to buy a mass-market diesel-fueled vehicle here in the U.S.

    So be prepared to pay the extra for a hybrid or fully electric drivetrain in the near future, since that’s the only way automakers will be able to meet increasingly stringent mpg & emission targets.

    • Bill, we had to buy a new mower last year. I had a choice of CARB certified and non-CARB. I chose one with a Kohler of the non-CARB type. Same for any engine driven device all the way to string trimmers, chainsaws and whatever you need. My old 88 model 44 Mag Stihl Chainsaw only has visible exhaust in the first few seconds when it’s choked and not much at that time. But for CARB, that’s just another baby killing machine even though the winds blow from west to east and it has to go around the world to get to Ca. Still, they’re paranoid that old Stihl will kill them. Too bad they’re wrong. If they were correct, I’d keep it running 24/7 and when it finally wore out rebuild it to original specs.

    • “We” have? Do you have a mouse in your pocket Bill? I have yet to hear of a non-politician who “allowed a California regulatory agency (CARB) to establish national policy on emissions & subsidies.” Please, let us not use the same terminology as the politicians and the news media does in order to collectivize blame for stupid laws, wars, and policies. _They_ did those things.

  4. Miami Dolphin Fuhhhhtball Cheerleaders Sold Yours Of 4 Chun Call Me Crazy
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7zdr-82WAo

    Hey, I just killed you,
    And your baby,
    But here’s my number,
    So call me, crazy!

    I threw a wish in a gravity well,
    Don’t ask me, I don’t never tell
    I blew into you as drone bombs fell,
    And now you’re in my way

    I’d trade my soul for this wish,
    Pennies and dimes for the Jewed-Us kiss
    I wasn’t looking for this,
    But now you’re in my way

    Hey, I just killed you,
    And your baby,
    But here’s my video,
    So sahloot me, crazy!

    War is Peas. Hate is Love. Don’t Hurt Me. Know More.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGE_vpPIoIU

    I wanna kill em like they do in Texas please. All them shiny cosplay sex slaves wanna get down on my knees. I’ll get them hard. Show them what I got. Gah gah rah rah rah. Puh puh puh poke her face. Ladies Gah Gah Koh Koh For Cuckold Statist Co Co Puffs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfi128NAEHI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfi128NAEHI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfi128NAEHI

  5. Pope’s favorite pet Cardinal Bo has a blessed boner after seeing CEBU inmates dancing in the rain… or whatever gushing gash of statist cuntery this article is trying to fill its douvhey tamponned periodical with inky blood stain wretchings with
    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/758916/popes-envoy-cebu-inmates-dance-in-the-rain-a-love-letter-to-all

    If only there was a ways and means to compress this whole nutty squirrels bag of soldiers of forrrrrrchun down past their Schwarzschild Radius and take em round a Texas Wreck Creation Null Road in a reefer full of sadist statists creepers black-whole’d a heavy Chevy levee Sagitarrius-A Holes collapsing full load
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEIeMP60NQU

    Cebu’s Dancing Inmates Offer A Special Dance for Pope Francis Visit and Put Some More Starch In His Holiness’s Horny Of Plenty White Hat
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEIeMP60NQU

    Got dam them all, Got dam them every one

    • The prisoners looked like they were seeing Nirvana or maybe that was just the chaffing of coarse, wet jumpsuits and the heat of the day. Pure free-form dancing too, no militaristic bend to it…..shit.

      • I know W T & F aren’t nearly enough of letters to D scribe whatever it is meant to be IMHO.

        The reality of group (a)morality is shocking. Not sure what Ayn was smoking this day. But where is the one example where trying to impose an ideal morality on complete strangers has not been an absolute clusterfudgehammerandsickle bloodbathbuggywhippedcreamandbeyond

        Moral Judgement
        http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/moral_judgment.html

        Maybe this Lost Village Anime will make things clear. Maybe nicht.
        http://vidzi.tv/wuuwbhvl29pi.html

        Lost Village People young man christian’s cognitive dissonance disassociation
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Village_(anime)

        Nothing can corrupt and disintegrate a culture or a man’s character as thoroughly as does the precept of moral agnosticism, the idea that one must never pass moral judgment on others, that one must be morally tolerant of anything, that the good consists of never distinguishing good from evil.

        It is obvious who profits and who loses by such a precept. It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men’s virtues and from condemning men’s vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you—whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?

        But to pronounce moral judgment is an enormous responsibility. To be a judge, one must possess an unimpeachable character; one need not be omniscient or infallible, and it is not an issue of errors of knowledge; one needs an unbreached integrity, that is, the absence of any indulgence in conscious, willful evil. Just as a judge in a court of law may err, when the evidence is inconclusive, but may not evade the evidence available, nor accept bribes, nor allow any personal feeling, emotion, desire or fear to obstruct his mind’s judgment of the facts of reality—so every rational person must maintain an equally strict and solemn integrity in the courtroom within his own mind, where the responsibility is more awesome than in a public tribunal, because he, the judge, is the only one to know when he has been impeached.

        If people did not indulge in such abject evasions as the claim that some contemptible liar “means well”—that a mooching bum “can’t help it”—that a juvenile delinquent “needs love”—that a criminal “doesn’t know any better”—that a power-seeking politician is moved by patriotic concern for “the public good”—that communists are merely “agrarian reformers”—the history of the past few decades, or centuries, would have been different.

        The precept: “Judge not, that ye be not judged” . . . is an abdication of moral responsibility: it is a moral blank check one gives to others in exchange for a moral blank check one expects for oneself.

        There is no escape from the fact that men have to make choices; so long as men have to make choices, there is no escape from moral values; so long as moral values are at stake, no moral neutrality is possible. To abstain from condemning a torturer, is to become an accessory to the torture and murder of his victims.

        Maybe its time to burn the diary of Ayn Frank. I will absolutely grant any non-statist a blank check to do whatever he pleases just no murder or strongarming. Just so long as he dont force me to be a part of it. My right to privacy and being left alone. That is necessary prerequisite to making things right. So long as you fail to give me that. I fail to give a shit. Until Then Or Otherwise let the fish head mistresses all burn.

        • Ayn fails as almost every statist fails to recognize mores’. There is no impeccable judge, no one with a background of pure objectiveness since objectiveness is not possible with human actions. Every person is raised with different mores’,esp. when speaking of different cultures.

          Infanticide, a subject to get every clover fired up and every “judge” to judging is a way of life and death to certain cultures. While they may not desire to kill a certain percentage of infants, it’s known that not doing so will result in the death of others, maybe everyone.

          And this can be said for nearly every subject. It’s only mine to judge you if you aggress against me. My neighbor might easily allow that aggression, shake his head and blow it off.

  6. Well my stinking computer has the Gremlins again (hear the little rascals giggling-can anyone tell me why Gates killed XP ?)
    Well said Tor ,one thing or bit of Hogwash that makes me want to puke everytime I hear it is ” Gateway Drugs ” even worse then “”crony capitalism”.

    • Hi Kevin,

      I got into a discussion with my mom about this “gateway drug” nonsense. She knows I sometimes partake of the dread “drug” marijuana and frets that it is a “gateway drug.” I replied that I have been an occasional puffer since high school (back in the ’80s) and – so far – have not felt the urge to step up to other “drugs.” I then asked her – an occasional partaker of that other “drug” known as wine whether she has ever felt inclined to drink grain (or better yet, wood) alcohol…

      She said no.

      • eric, I can identify ‘gateway drugs’ easily. It’s called life. Sometimes people feel the need to well, feel better. Wine can work although too much of feeling better with it can be less than great the next day…..or two depending on how “good” you felt the first time around.
        Marijuana can also leave you with a little muggles the next day so to speak although it’s easily worked off by moving, breathing hard, getting into gear physically. Just like alcohol, hair of the dog sometimes works well to set you on a regular course.

        I love beer and no doubt it was my “gateway” to a much healthier marijuana change in perspective, relief of physical and mental pains.

        I had a person ask me what drugs I had “used” as if I were always using drugs. I told them I’d tried every drug available since you have no idea of what you speak of without experience of anything, drugs or welding or flying a plane or jumping from a high place into a lake. They were aghast(stupid people). Of course that was long before all the designer drugs came along so I never got to try X which I regret. Since I don’t need and fairly much can’t stand stimulants I never did them to excess or much more than tried one, marked it in my memory and left it except when the boat from Columbia hit port(not a bad combo with port).

        But when you have a bad problem like a crushed disc every doc has a plethora of drugs that make the easily bought ones look like wannabe’s.

        This is a true story. I had back surgery as a really fired up type of person. My doc left town immediately afterward but left instructions for my meds. He also changed my care to another specialist. Since I was known to have a high tolerance of narcotics and anything that would slow you down, he gave me high dosages of both. I had morphine on demand and to my credit, I didn’t really abuse it…..much. What I really wanted was some cold beer, something some friends managed to sneak into my room along with a bit of pot to take the edge off.

        At night I’d have a nurse come around with a tribe size shot of morphine(always wired me out)and a Seconal for sleep and a Lorazepam. A few minutes later another nurse would come around with my big night time shot of morphine and a Nembutal and Valium. Suffice to say I had no problem sleeping. They never did catch their mistake so it was a nightly deal.

        My wife would say “You’re a hog”. I had about a 2 second delay to jokes which made it sorta funny to anyone watching.

        But I maintain that in daily life, we all use the drug we need. Some people drink enough coffee that if given to me I’d be passing SpaceX like it was tied down. Some need their noon martini…or three. Some simply have a certain thing they do that is almost a must for them. I’ve noticed the tougher life is and the harder people have to work the more need they have of something to leave the day behind, mostly alcohol which is in the highest production and consumption ever in this country.
        Back in the old days so many people drank beer or mead or wine just because it was safer than water. We’re about to that point again only our wine or beer is made from triple distilled water. Forget that “mountain stream”. It’s got so many PCB’s, glyphosates, 2.4 D and other crap the aquatic creatures have turned hermaphroditic or primarily female. That’s quite a cocktail and if that’s all a person drank I think breaking into “I Feel Pretty” might be a common thing.

      • Hey Eric,

        I recently discovered that over 99% of adults who die in motorcycle accidents formed their dangerous obsession with two wheeled death traps by riding bicycles as children! Parents, don’t let your children partake of this gateway activity. Just say no to bicycles.

        Jeremy

        • Heremy, hit sho nuff be the slippery part of de slide, Foist it was 3 and then two big ones but I was dreamin of them fo wheels and then got turned onta 6, man what a feelin. Soon enough it was ten that only whetted my appytite for 18, then 20 and soon 30 or more. Then I went lookin for bear and found tri-axles hooked to 4 axle jeep with 8 axle trailer hooked to that with 6 axle jeep on he end. 2500 lb ft of DD 16 and soon I was dreamin of 2 inline…..caint be sated

          • Hey Eight,

            Dang if you ain’t right. It’s the Big Wheel that sets ’em on the dangerous path. Or, maybe it’s the stroller…

  7. Elon Musk is a ripoff artist, pure and simple. The only difference between him and other mere mundane ripoff artists, is the amount ripped off (billions) and that he will never occupy a room with striped sunlight.

    Just because the “law” has decreed his version of the ripoff as “legal” it can never make it ethical or the right thing.

    • how about none of us put each other in striped sunlit rooms. what does such sadism accomplish.

      if elon owes a debt find a way to make him pay

      how does parading him around in a conga line of gimpsuited convicts repay anything

      who doesnt understand the absurd sadosexual prizzun system is the worst kind of slave and dominatrix fuckery imaginable

      • Tor, I’ll buy a round. You can play whatever you want….or nothing. I’ll play trombone, guitar. Is there a drummer, sax player in the house, bass player? Fiddler? I’m ready to jam. Because the world is round it turns me on.

    • Amen, if he tried to fund it through traditional investment methods, it would fall apart as the Ponzi scheme it is, but because Uncle is the investor, and doesn’t care about making anything on his/our “investment”, the wheels can keep turning without the flow of money ever stopping. It’s shear brilliance from a scheme perspective.

  8. OK, now, I’m sticking this everywhere I see someone using the term: there is no such thing as “crony capitalism,” and everyone interested in freedom and liberty needs to STOP USING IT.

    You can have cronyism, or you can have capitalism. You cannot have both; there is no hybrid of the two. Introducing elements of cronyism is to introduce a variety of fascism — fascism in the accurate sense, not the way it is typically used lately.

    In the meanwhile, there isn’t any such thing as “capitalism,” not as such. That word was invented by Marx and his followers in order to have something to rail against, and likewise the nonsense phrase “crony capitalism” — that gives the low-information fools something to bitch about while at the same time staining the word “capitalism.”

    • I have likewise hated using that term while discussing economics with Statists Brother John. I have only used the phrase in order to be more easily understood during debates. This post from you has prompted me to invent (I think) a more accurate substitute phrase: Crony Fascism. I invite critiques from word smiths.

      • I could care less the terms you use as long as we all know it involves the world-wide banking system and the stock market.

        Anyone who ever read about methods used by the powerful countries and what they did in Africa for hundreds of years would realize some people will kill anyone for quite small remunerations such as amusement. But the wholesale slaughters have always had one thing at their heart, MONEY….and the power vast amounts of it bring.

  9. The government can’t yet force an electric vehicle on the public. Just like it can’t force people (well, the right people anyway) to have children. So instead Uncle plays games with us, like a pigeon in a psych graduate student’s lab. Connect the one pad to 110 Volts, the other to food. Teach the pigeon to push the right pad with simple reward and punishment tests. Works every time. With pigeons anyway.

    I don’t blame Musk himself. He’s just the most brazen example of the species. I also don’t necessarily blame Congress or the state, although Uncle certainly (desperately) wants to take over transportation and energy completely. After all, there are two very large cabinet departments devoted to both. If a bureaucracy isn’t growing, it’s dying. No one moves up in the organization, no one gets more power over minions, no one gets more bragging rights at the conference hotel bar.

    But ultimately I have to put the blame on ourselves. At least the selves that aren’t interested in third parties, our selves who don’t want to see change (how much longer are we going to have to put up with the evil McCain? Barbara Boxer? The moron Maxine Waters?) Hell, just about anyone in the two party system.

    I’m glad Eric hasn’t fallen into the trap of writing about Hillary vs Trump. One nice thing about not needing clicks is he does’t have to attract eyeballs with clickbait. But it seems like we’re going to see something happen in the Republican party no matter the outcome of the election. Maybe the neocons will go back to the Democrats. Maybe. Or maybe we’ll see the end of the Republicans and the rise of another party (in name only, obviously), like the end of the Whigs before (after?) the Missouri compromise. Either way, what happens in the next few years should be interesting. The public seems to know the government is overreaching, but they don’t know what to do about it. Climate change is every bit as political as slave labor (ironically, the debate is still about energy, whether human or oil). Ultimately I think the government will take away the carrot and break out the stick. Let’s all hope the stick is just the IRS and not something much worse.

  10. Musk has boyhood dreams. To go into space, to have a car company. He made billions in the internet financial service sector and now he can make us pay for his dreams. Our dreams? That’s not important people with political influence have good ideas.

    The musk fanbois are just something else. Having ‘debated’ with them they are like children. “but the other car companies do it” “the subsidies are small” “climate change is bad” “government must subsidize to accelerate positive change” and all the other mental gymnastics one expects from the well conditioned.

    • I’d like to see a head to head comparison of energy required and by-products produced including those derived from using the required energy for something such as the production of steel vs the production of batteries for these cars. The production of plastic is fairly simple with most plants using natgas for energy and petroleum for the main part of the finished product.

      • Irrelevant. As long as the public is spoon fed a narrative that caring is the most important thing facts don’t matter.

    • Could be worse. Wernher von Braun also had a boyhood dream of sending men to the moon. Hitler let him experiment by bombing Britain. As far as I know Musk isn’t building bombs. But he’s still a young man…

    • Eric_G, perhaps if you were paying more attention to how both political parties restrict Presidential candidates gain acceptance and support during the last three plus Presidential elections you would know just how rigged the system is. Perhaps then you would lose your love for the State, and you would stop blaming your fellow tax slaves. The only people more responsible for this wicked mess than the participants running the State is the Oligarchy! Your sweetheart (the State) has murdered many millions of innocent people in recent decades. How, pray tell, could even highly informed voters have predicted that their candidate of choice would support such atrocities ahead of time? Do you also blame your fellow tax slaves for all of the lies and distortions that are spewed out by politicians during election campaigns? Are your fellow tax slaves responsible for the extremely strict limitations set in place by the 2 entrenched political party system that effectively blocks 3rd party challengers from really having a chance to compete? And if the 3rd party candidate did somehow win; would not such a person desiring power over others be reluctant at best in reducing the power of the State? You have stated that “If a bureaucracy isn’t growing, it’s dying.” as if it dying would be a bad thing. It is also an incorrect statement. It could stay the same size or shrink in order to become more efficient. No group has a right to grow perpetually. Groups do not even exist in a physical sense. When the group which considers itself to be the State grows, individual human liberty becomes ever more diminished. Do you likewise favor that?
      I get frustrated at times about the sheeple majority because they are so damned gullible, uninformed, and prone to mediocrity. I also get frustrated at them because I also came from a sheeple background; yet I emerged from it on my own merely due to my eternal search for self-improvement. I likewise attended government school, which is the main tool that the State uses to create the sheeple mindset. The sheeple could do the same thing.
      Are you ready to divorce your sweetheart (the State) now? Any decent person would.

      • Where in my comment did you read that I love the state? Where in any of my comments on this (or any other) site did I give you the impression that I love the state?

        Apparently I need to dumb it down and be more direct in my comments so that Brian can comprehend what I’m saying…

        • I had no problem comprehending what you wrote Eric_G. “But ultimately I have to put the blame on ourselves. At least the selves that aren’t interested in third parties, our selves who don’t want to see change” I do credit you for disliking McCain, Boxer, and Waters. Even Obomba campaigned using the word “change”. I took exception to your choice to blame most of the people more than you blame the State, which indicates your preferences. Over half of the people do not vote. An unknown percentage of them do not vote because it violates their principles. I am in that camp! Many Anarchists do not believe in the great man theory, and thus would not support 3rd party candidates.
          I admit that I over-reacted in the above post, and for that I apologize. But please place the blame for the financial mess this country where it really belongs: The State and the oligarchy.

          • Brian, they don’t call it prison planet for nothing.

            Back in the late 80’s I had a friend who was ex-military, ex-CIA(and they tried to kill him BTW as every ex-CIA I knew had been offed or been attempted)and I were speaking about the upcoming election involving Clinton and Bush.

            I told him I was in a quandary as to who to vote for. I didn’t care for either. So I asked him what he thought each would do. He said “The same thing as the other”. You have to remember Clinton campaigned saying he’d take Bush’s NAFTA treaty and push it through if he got the vote. I don’t even recall if I voted although I’m sure I’d had enough of Bush but Clinton was pushed hard by the MSM and Hollywood so I probably voted for him….if I voted.

            After 8 years of BC, my voting days were fairly over. I knew I didn’t want another Bush and think I voted independent and mainly Libertarian. That was the last of my voting federally except for 2012 when I voted straight Libertarian. I doubt I”ll vote again….ever. Libertarians went from .7% in ’08 to 7% in 12, a ten fold increase but that’s not many votes. I don’t see another 10 fold Liberarian vote but if I could believe it possible, I’d go vote Libertarian just to try to alleviate some suffering…..somewhere.

            This next election I will vote in local elections, maybe some state offices(don’t know much about who will be running yet) but federally, stick me with a fork, I’m done.

            • Back in Y2K I voted for W, because I liked what he was saying about ‘No nation building.’ Well, that man never showed up to be inaugurated, don’t know where he went.
              In 2004 I had 2 bumper stickers: one said “Kerry/Edwards – when you’re really full of it, you need 2 Johns.” The 2nd, “Bush/Cheney, over a million whoppers served.” I voted for the Constitution Party candidate.
              In 08 I supported Ron Paul in the primaries. Actually donated – 1st (and last) time. Voted Constitution Party again in the general.
              In 2012 I voted for the Libertarian Party candidate – don’t even remember his name. Then I realized that the least of 3 evils was still evil.
              Shoot, I even voted for Ron Paul in 88, though I didn’t know much about him back then. Just knew I didn’t want either Bush the Elder or Du-caca.
              But now I am done. I have never voted for a Damnocrap, and will never vote for another Repo-Lickin, w/ the possible exception of the State Assemblyman in the District where I reside. (Note how I avoided saying “my district.”)

              • thats the spirit. i keep getting amber alerts lately what self hating cuckold would ever read such things.

                in the next lane I spy with my little eye

                beltway eight south man refusing to give a funk about the overhead signs saying kidnapped kid alert some deadbeat dad done tookback his kids heez been a payin on lets form a posse and hang that bastard from the highest tree and we ull all use our own dicks for the hangmans rope

                heck I wont even never dial nine one one eye duh rather die first than ask them fish wife mongers for anything

                its one thing to have a state that helps the orphan and the widow out and will kick you in the nuts if you dont go along. I get that.

                but this insane faggit tree of the amera cuntry tis of thee.

                sweet land of cunt spiracy. never will I sing.

                I’m glad that her fathers died. glaad for the dead pilgrims pride marches

                those badged and buckle hatted buggerers who spewed come on every mountainside and then ate the fried green corpses of ten little nine little ate little indians.

                let free dumb ring for some other schmuck. I’m done and they’re outta luck.

                • I doan get them ambers no mo since I found I cud blok all cept BO and when he sends one I’ll be shuckin and jivin, dippin and divin goin to ground and takin the battry outta that dvice so I can’t be trakked, watchin my old analog Seiko tryin to c how much time I have to stack and rack, dig n cover, lock the gate and put on some tunes so i’m ready to rock and roll. It gonna be wild…turkey….

          • Well, as much as I believe societies will eventually move to an anarchist style self organization, governments have existed for 7000+ years in one form or another. They aren’t going anywhere, at least not in my lifetime. So with that in mind I think we should do whatever we can to minimize the damage. I have voted for the Libertarian candidates when they run. I do this not out of party loyalty or other such nonsense, but because I’d like to see someone in office who might at least try to shrink the beast. I voted to legalize marijuana (I live in Colorado), even though I’m against any prohibition of any substance. But you have to start somewhere.

            • yeah lets not get buggered by such things anymore. lets butch up and firmly just say no. those libber vagitarians promised to only put just the tip in.

              and them bastiat bastards are categorically against aggressing in our mouths. no more swallowing illogical lies. from now on we only swallow logical lies of collectivist goo.

              at least the libertarian part tee dont tell us the tax refund check is in the male. and we only have to be the fee male until uncle ben rice franklin flies his black kite up our ass and then harnesses the lightning to create a sustainable prole’o’chariot

              I’m ready for hillery dillery trumpety tock. I click on the mouse. And Chairman Mao Yellin pulls out her cock.

              Cause I’m down with opiate of the masses oh pee pee yeah you know me. For shizzle shiny trinkets thats the way uh huh its gotta be.

              hold on to what you got. have faith in the crony market cause its all that we got. take my invisible hand by jovee we ull make it I swear we’re half way their. Just pray this statist prayer it’ll be all right I swear.

              when I retire. I’s got fiddy cents. Find me in da fed club. Fine wine and a klein bottle a bub. Yo shorty its Jackson Hamilton Lincoln Washington birthday. Raining Benjamins yo yo yo.
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsjugeL09os

    • I would like it if the government would give him money to explore space travel instead. At least he wouldn’t be bothering us here with his boiled down garbage politics and self driving aspirations.

  11. Hi Eric, et al,

    David Stockman has some great stuff to say about Tesla in a blog post about Trump’s victory. Here’s a quote:

    “Just consider the shameless mountebank who has conjured the insane valuation of Tesla from the gambling pits of Goldman Sachs and Wall Street. The company has never made a profit, never hit a production or sales target and has no chance whatsoever of becoming a volume auto producer.

    Yet after posting another wider than expected $283 million loss in the first quarter, which was nearly twice last year’s red ink, Elon Musk doubled-down on his snake oil offering. His promise that Tesla would finally become cash flow positive in 2016, after burning through $4 billion in cash since 2008, was abruptly declared inoperative. Instead, Tesla will do another giant dilutive capital raise in order to fund an acceleration of the Model 3 so that it can deliver 500,000 vehicles in 2018.

    That’s a con job worthy of the seediest used car lot in America. In auto production land, today is already 2018 in the case of a mass production vehicle that has barely been designed, and which has not yet been production engineered, tooled, tested or sourced for components and materials.

    Indeed, the idea that a company which produced only 50,000 vehicles in the last 12 months can scale up to 10X that volume virtually over night on a production line and supply system that does not even exist is a laughable fiction. But what isn’t laughable is that the Wall Street casino is so blinded by speculation, greed and Fed puts and liquidity pumping that it is enabling dozens of circus barkers like Elon Musk to inflate spectacular bubbles—–financial deformations which will end up destroying the main street homegamers who fall for them, and dissipating loads of scarce capital in the process.”

    Stockman is always worth reading. This quote is in context of a lot of other great copy. See:
    http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/trumped-why-it-happened-and-what-comes-next-part-1/

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