Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk appeared at The Wall Street Journal’s Annual CEO Council Monday evening where he was interviewed by Joanna Stern.
Musk shared his opinion on the upcoming infrastructure bill along with the government and its role. He also touched on the tense relationship between the United States and China. Here are the key takeaways.
On The Infrastructure Bill: Musk is not keen on the infrastructure bill. He pointed to the $3 trillion deficit and called it “insane.”
The entrepreneur said he is unlikely to get a call from President Joe Biden. On the need for critical infrastructure — Musk pointed to the need for building doubled-deckered freeways and tunnels.
“The traffic problem exists on freeways, not in the suburbs. I don’t see a strong effort in this direction,” said Musk.
Musk is in favor of scraping all subsidies and pointed to the $7,500 tax credits for clean vehicles as an example; he said it was instituted at the behest of his competitors and Tesla is no longer a beneficiary.
“I’m literally saying get rid of all subsidies…but also for oil and gas,” said the CEO.
On the Role Of The Government: Musk is not an enthusiast on the state having a massive role in society but he is not a total libertarian either.
“I think the role of the government should be that of a referee but not a player on the field. Government should not impede progress,” he said at the event.
The increasing burden of new rules and regulations each year leads to the hardening of “arteries of civilization,” as per Musk.
Musk drew examples of East and West Germany and North and South Korea to make his point and lauded the efficiency of private enterprises versus their public counterparts. “We should minimize what the government does.”
Musk termed government as essentially a monopoly corporation with a license to indulge in violence.
On Taxation: Musk made it clear during his appearance that he pays a lot of tax. He said his tax rate is 53% and that was “not trivial.”
The Tesla CEO counts estate tax as a “good tax” and said it was akin to capital allocation.
On US-China Relationship: Musk touched on a wide range of topics from the shrinking human population to U.S.-China relationship. Musk said that the declining birth rate is a threat to human civilization.
Musk said Chin would have an economy two to three times that of the U.S. and that fact has not yet sunk in among some of the Chinese leadership. He emphasized the need that China acts as the “biggest kid on the block.”
“Other countries are not a threat if you are the biggest kid on the block,” said Musk. Overall, he said Tesla has a good relationship with China. He does not however endorse everything that they do.
Photo: Courtesy of Nvidia Corp. via Flickr
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