Elon Musk Threatens to Quit Advisory Panel if Donald Trump Cuts Energy Taxes, Subsidies

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is threatening to resign from President Donald Trump’s business advisory panel if he extracts Americans from the Paris Climate Agreement which indirectly subsidizes Musk’s multiple billion-dollar business projects.

The Wednesday threat came after news reports announced that Trump has decided to quit the 2016 agreement, which critics say would increase energy costs for U.S. consumers, factories and workplaces. 

The threat was delivered via a pair of tweets from the entrepreneur, who has skillfully harnessed a variety of federal regulations to subsidize his Tesla electric-car company, his SolarCity energy company, and a Nevada battery factory.

Trump is under huge pressure from his supporters and many business groups to quit President Barack Obama’s Paris deal, which has not been sent to the Senate for approval. When shaking hands on the deal, Obama promised the United States would reduce “global warming” by cutting U.S. emission of “greenhouses gases” by one-quarter by 2025, chiefly by taxing natural fuels and subsidizing new solar energy.

Trump’s decision to quit the Paris deal would help many U.S. manufacturing industries by reducing the cost of energy from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. That cheaper energy would be a big gain for the hard-pressed manufacturing communities in the midwestern states whose voters carried Trump over the Democrats’ “Blue Wall” November 8, 2016.

But if Trump pulls out of the Paris deal, it will damage the political support and government subsidies given by Democrats to the new low-carbon industries concentrated in the Democratic-voting West and Southwest. For example, the Los Angeles Times reported that Musk’s battery factory in Reno, Nevada is reported to have enjoyed roughly $1.3 billion in state subsidies, his SolarCity company has gotten $1.5 billion from federal solar-regulations, In California, the state legislature allowed his Tesla Motors to sell more than $500 million worth of carbon energy credits, said the Los Angeles Times, and the state’s anti-pollution agency allows the owners of battery-operated cars to use low-traffic “high occupancy” lanes in gridlocked Los Angeles. Musk’s solar-energy company in New York state has reportedly gained $1 billion in near-term and short-term investment from Democratic politicians said the newspaper. 

Unsurprisingly, Musk is a strong advocate for growing “carbon taxes” on natural fuels. In a January 2017 interview with Gizmodo, Musk declared:

CO2 [carbon diooxide] isn’t exactly pollution, but it does cause warming and slight acidification of water if very large quantities are dug from deep underground and added to the surface cycle. The problem is the age-old tragedy of the commons. The common good being consumed is atmospheric and oceanic carbon capacity, which currently has a price of zero. This results in an error in market signals and far more CO2 is generated than should be. We won’t ever go to zero CO2, but the rate over time should be dropped far below what it is today.

Start low and increase it until the desired outcome is achieved. This can be offset by a reduction in other taxes, like sales tax, which is quite regressive. This is analogous to taxing cigarettes and alcohol more than fruits and vegetables, which everybody agrees makes sense. We should have higher taxes on the things that science says are probably bad for us than those that are probably good for us.

Under criticism from progressives, Musk also championed his participation in Trump’s advisory council, telling Gizmodo that “the more voices of reason that the President hears, the better. Simply attacking him will achieve nothing. Are you aware of a single case where Trump bowed to protests or media attacks? Better that there are open channels of communication.”

New York investors, including Goldman Sachs, have made big bets on the preservation of the Paris deal, according to The Huffington Post


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