Elon Musk Is A Cheapskate Says LA Times
Elon Musk Is A Cheapskate Says LA Times
A cheapskate. That’s how the LA Times described Elon Musk. It seems that he’s not giving nearly enough to charity. According to envious Michael Hiltzik, he should give more because he’s worth billions.
In just the first four months of this year, Vox.com reports, Musk has donated $150 million to philanthropic causes. That sounds like a lot of money. Vox calls it a “philanthropic spending spree.”
It’s wonderful that Mr. Musk is giving away some of his wealth, but apple pie is also great and so is calling your mother on her birthday…But none of those things excuse us from our obligations to pay our fair share of taxes.
There’s another way to think about it, however. One could interpret it as marking Elon Musk as one of the world’s outstanding cheapskates.
That’s because, as a proportion of Musk’s total net worth, which was estimated by Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index as $187 billion on Sunday, $150 million is about eight-hundredths of a percent, or comparatively less than pennies.
Where oh where to begin with this? Oh wait, I know! Let’s start with the fact that that reporter either doesn’t understand or is willfully misleading his readers on what effective charitable giving is.
What is ISN’T is deciding on the spur of the moment to throw the entire contents of your wallet into that panhandler’s bucket at the stoplight. What is ISN’T is just turning your entire portfolio into cash and tossing it every which way in the name of charity.
Why? Oh because there’s issues of taxes. There’s the issues of…strategy. Which is something that the LA Times and even Forbes fails to realize.
Musk is a famously cash-poor billionaire. Nearly all of his wealth, save for a few homes, is tied up in his stakes in Tesla and SpaceX, and he has pledged about half of his Tesla stock as collateral for loans. The 49-year-old Musk has said he plans to step up his giving later in life. In 2018, he tweeted that he would sell around $100 million worth of Tesla stock “every few years” for charity and will make “major disbursements in about 20 years when Tesla is in a steady state.”
Of course, Forbes then goes on to do a semi deep dive into his charitable giving as far back as 2002. All with the implication that he isn’t doing enough by THEIR standards.
Three hundred fifty charitable contributions since 2002. And yet, Elon Musk is a cheapskate?? Helloooo Bernie!
Charitable giving that has a multi-layered lasting impact is and always should be the purpose. Given my own experience, giving with those thoughts and strategies in mind resonates throughout the community impacted by the gift. Something that the Clinton Foundation has never accomplished.
Both Forbes and the LA Times want Elon Musk to just cash out and leave him ALONG with his companies and all his employees with nothing.
That's a farce. If he didn't open shop there, you still wouldn't have those "taxes" and would be out all the money he brings into the state via payroll and b2b services. Vacant land doesn't generate a whole lot of taxes.— Daniel Warner (@DSDoubleU2U) April 26, 2021
Exactly. While Tesla is getting tax breaks for bringing his company to Texas…his company is STILL paying taxes. Tax breaks are essentially a discount on taxes for a period of time, even if sometimes those tax breaks didn’t make sense. And yes, the state is now reaping MORE in taxes than if that land was still vacant and only producing grass, hay, or weeds. But $150 million isn’t near enough or something!
Let’s go back to that strategic part of the charitable giving combined with Elon’s statement regarding disbursements when it makes sense. In other words, when it makes fiscal sense. When there is enough cash flow. While the funds are still able to grow, THEN you take a certain percentage and look around for the best vehicles that will make the most impact in either short or long-term. Such as his collaboration with Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports to help small businesses/restaurants negatively impacted by the asinine COVID shut down.
Here’s the deal. Elon Musk was supposed to do like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett did, immediately publicize a list of charities he’d donate money to. Guess what? Good strategic charitable giving that has both immediate and long-term impact takes time. It takes research. It take planning.
But he’s a cheapskate!! One million to food banks in Texas feeds a LOT of people for not weeks but months and possibly over a year. Twenty million to schools in the Rio Grande Valley? That one donation will resonate for years for those districts. But sure, let’s call Elon Musk a cheapskate because he didn’t give enough per their say so.
EFFECTIVE charitable giving requires thought, insight, and strategic thinking. The result is long-term positive effects on the charities, but MOST IMPORTANTLY for those who ultimately benefit from those gifts.
One last note for those who are calling Elon Musk a cheapskate. Not a single one realizes that his charitable giving is going to be the same as how Bill and Melinda Gates are and will be doing for DECADES, strategically giving for immediate and long-term impacts to charities of THEIR choice, not anyone else’s.
Cheapskate? Not hardly.
Feature Photo Credit: Elon Musk by Tumisu via Pixabay, cropped and modified