Elon Musk

Elon Musk, Welfare King!

The tech billionaire isn't alone among the mega-wealthy in getting piles of money from government at all levels, say the authors of Welfare for the Rich.


Tech billionaire Elon Musk is known for creating bold new companies such as PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX, championing liberating technologies like Bitcoin, and hyping visionary plans to colonize Mars.

But with a net worth of around $200 billion, he's not just the planet's richest person. He's one of its biggest welfare recipients, report Lisa Conyers and Phil Harvey, authors of Welfare for the Rich: How Your Tax Dollars End Up in Millionaires' Pockets—And What You Can do About It. By 2015, they write, companies led by Musk had gotten billions of dollars in subsidies, tax breaks, and other handouts. New York state even shelled out $750 million to build a solar panel factory for Musk's Solar City operation and said the company would pay no property taxes for a decade, saving another $260 million.

Musk is not alone say Conyers, a veteran journalist, and Harvey, a successful businessman who donates to many libertarian organizations, including Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this podcast. There are literally thousands of other immensely rich people who are constantly bilking governments at all levels for special perks, carve-outs, and handouts paid for by middle-class and poor people.

In exhaustively documented and perpetually enraging prose, Conyers and Harvey show how millionaire "farmers," billionaire team owners, and filthy rich oil-and-gas-and-wind-power barons lobby Congress, rewrite zoning laws, and plunder the public fisc like it's a bodily function. They also outline realistic and effective ways to fight back and level a playing field that benefits the people who need the least help from government.