Elon Musk Is A Cheapskate Says LA Times

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. 

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 

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7 Comments
  • MarkInKansas says:

    Ask any of those “fair share of taxes” asses exactly what constitutes a fair share. They will never say. They do not have a firm number. Whatever the actual amount being paid is at any given moment, the “fair share” will always be more.

    Idiots like that deserve their fair share of hammer blows to the kneecaps. A fair share is always “more”.

    • Cameron says:

      I have only seen two people try and answer the question of “fair share.” The first one was dismissive and said “that’s a stupid question.” The second one was a caller to Sean Hannity’s show. She said that after $20,000 you should be taxed at 100%. She was an idiot but at least she tried.

  • John C. says:

    Vanishingly few people pay one red cent more in taxes than the law requires them to do; why should anyone expect Musk to do any different? Like Trump, and anyone else with a large business enterprise, Musk has a few acres of lawyers and accountants to make sure that all the laws are followed to the least detail, and what remains is HIS MONEY. If someone thinks that the amount Musk, or anyone else, pays in taxes is less than his “fair share,” that is due to the legislators who formulated the tax laws, and they are who he should be complaining about. I am a firm believer in charity, but forced “charity” is not charity at all.

  • Mark says:

    The LA Times just needed to create a story.

    Had Musk been like the Clintons in his charitable giving, the correlation wouldn’t have been made, but the rug would have fallen from under Mr. Musk. If Elon Musk had purposefully over-paid his taxes, the LA Times or the NYTwits would have made a stink over how he was wasting shareholders’ money.

  • Ann in L.A. says:

    I’d love to see two billionaires hold a contest. One takes 10 mil and spends it on charity aimed to benefit the poor, the other takes 10 mil and spends it on capitalism aimed to benefit the poor (such as small-business loans in distressed neighborhoods). They spend the next 10 years analyzing how many people were benefited by the money: how many employed, how many had health care, how many people had money for food, including how much tax revenue went to anti-poverty programs, etc. At the end of 10 years, they tally it all up and figure out which 10 mil did more to help people.

    My money would be on the capitalist.

  • Howy says:

    Anything to ignore and deflect the real cause of Tesla’s move to Texas. Shitty, expensive government in California. Fully supported and propped-up by the LA Times.

  • […] Elon. Cheapskate that he is! Kamala Harris will also swear in former Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson to his new post as the […]

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