The Musk Behind T.U.S.K.

| July 17 2013
Hannah Thoreson

Solyndra, Fisker Automotive … companies that received hundreds of millions of your tax dollars, only to declare bankruptcy a short time later.  One of the biggest scandals in recent years.  Unfortunately, these companies are not alone.

Now politically connected California energy companies, companies so similar to Solyndra they hired the same lobbyists, are in Arizona demanding more government subsidies, more write-offs, and more of your money. These companies, who post millions in losses each year, pay no taxes, are exempt from regulations and are propped up by billions of your tax dollars, say the millions in taxpayer money they get every year are not enough.

Here in Arizona, lobbying efforts are currently underway masking itself in a conservative banner called “TUSK” (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed”). They’ve even hired Barry Goldwater, Jr. as their spokesperson. One of the primary funders of TUSK is SolarCity, the leading residential solar provider in the U.S. SolarCity is Chaired by Elon Musk, inventor of PayPal, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, and one of Barack Obama’s top bundlers.

This is not the first time SolarCity Chairman Elon Musk has advocated radical policy that hurts the working class, for his own benefit. In the past, Musk has called for $10 gasoline to fully account for all the environmental harm associated with fossil fuels. It was self-serving, of course: Tesla makes expensive electric cars which could only get more attractive if gas prices soar. He also called for a tax on carbon. “If the bad thing is carbon accumulation in the atmosphere, then there needs to be a tax on that.”

The Washington Times had this to say about Mr. Musk:

“When the history of crony capitalism is written, Elon Musk will deserve a chapter to himself. Mr. Musk began his career as a risk-taker and entrepreneur, co-founding the innovative online-payment system PayPal. His latest ventures depend on taxpayers, K Street lobbyists and campaign contributions. His pals really pay.”

In fact, one of the companies funding the TUSK lobbying campaign here in Arizona admitted “Solar energy has yet to achieve broad market acceptance and depends on continued support in the form of performance-based incentives, rebates, tax credits and other incentives from federal, state and foreign governments.”

Just like Solyndra, these companies depend on taxpayers to cover their huge losses each year.  They depend on the government picking winners and losers, on governments distorting the free market, to earn their profits.

This same company has received over $250 million from taxpayers – and counting – and is actually suing the government for more.  That’s right, they are suing the federal government because a quarter billion of your tax dollars is not enough, and you of course, are paying for the government to defend itself in court.

So the next time you hear TUSK’s ads on the radio or TV, claiming to be small business conservatives who support the free market, don’t be fooled.

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