Elon Musk proposes selling 10% of his Tesla stock in a Twitter poll

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Billionaire Elon Musk on Saturday asked his Twitter followers to decide whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock, promising to “abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes.”

“Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock,” the electric car maker’s CEO said. He did not directly specify where that 10% would go.

This isn’t the first time Musk has taken aim at proposals in Washington that would tax billionaires’ net worth gains. Under current US tax law, assets like stocks are taxed only when they’re sold — what’s called a capital gain. But the richest of the rich in America probably aren’t selling off their massive stock portfolios; instead, their main form of income is the value that those assets accrue, or unrealized gains.

—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021

—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021

Musk last month slammed a Democratic proposal to institute a billionaires’ tax, floated to help fund a social spending and safety net expansion bill, saying it represented the start of a new campaign from the left to redistribute wealth from the richest Americans.

“Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you,” he wrote on Twitter.

In a separate tweet, Musk said any government-induced reallocation of wealth would be better managed by the private sector.

“Who is best at capital allocation — government or entrepreneurs — is indeed what it comes down to,” he wrote on Twitter. “The tricksters will conflate capital allocation with consumption.”

Musk’s net worth ballooned this year to $335 billion as Tesla stock has soared. He is by far the wealthiest person on Bloomberg’s index tracking the world’s richest people.

A White House analysis found that when unrealized gains are counted as income billionaires pay an average of just 8.2% in income taxes, far less than the average American.

Meantime, a new analysis conducted by the economist Gabriel Zucman for The Washington Post indicated that Musk could face up to $50 billion in taxes in the first five-year stretch if a billionaires’ tax should pass.

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