Elizabeth Warren leads criticism of Time for making ‘freeloader’ Elon Musk person of the year

‘Let’s change the rigged tax code so the Person of the Year will actually pay taxes,’ says the senator

Jade Bremner
Tuesday 14 December 2021 14:55 GMT
‘Time’ names Elon Musk Person of the Year
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Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren wasn’t impressed that Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was named Time magazine’s person of the year.

The world’s wealthiest man, who recently surpassed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, with a net worth of around $300bn (£227bn) is anti-tax. Ms Warren and other lawmakers believe he doesn’t pay his fair share.

“Let’s change the rigged tax code so the Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else,” Ms Warren said on Twitter.

She also shared a mock Time cover with Mr Musk and the words “Tax Me” with cover lines that read: Musk paid “$0 tax in 2018” and that “He got $240 billion richer during the pandemic”.

Along with the quoted tweet, Ms Warren wrote: “When someone makes it big in America – millionaire big, billionaire big, Person of the Year big – part of it has to include paying it forward so the next kid can get a chance, too.”

Along with the recognition, Time magazine described Mr Musk as a “clown, genius, edgelord, visionary, industrialist, showman”.

According to a ProPublicainvestigation Mr Musk did not pay tax in 2018 because he only had assets not earnings.

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden’s has proposed a “billionaire’s tax”, which would mean assets are also taxed.

“There are two tax codes in America,” said Mr Wyden in October. “The first is mandatory for workers who pay taxes out of every paycheck. The second is voluntary for billionaires who defer paying taxes for years, if not indefinitely. Two tax codes allow billionaires to use largely untaxed income from wealth to build more wealth, while working families struggle to balance the mortgage against groceries, and utilities against saving for the future. That’s why it’s time for a Billionaires Income Tax. The Billionaires Income Tax would ensure billionaires pay tax every year, just like working Americans.”

Mr Musk responded to Mr Wyden’s comments at the time, “eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you,” he said.

The government provided subsidies to Tesla to help Mr Musk’s company and electric, clean energy cars become successful.

The Person of the Year is not an award, states the magazine, but recognises the “person who had the most influence on the events of the year, for good or for ill”.

Previous Time Person of the Year winners includes Greta Thunberg and Kamala Harris and Joe Biden (who were t joint Person of the Year in 2020), plus Donald Trump in 2016, and Mark Zuckerburg in 2010. It also recognised Vladimir Putin in 2007, Adolf Hitler in 1938 and Joseph Stalin in 1939.

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