Elon Musk once again made waves on Twitter on Aug. 10, 2019.
But this time, he wasn’t flaunting his disdain for the SEC or posting obscure memes. Instead, he was endorsing 44-year-old Democratic primary candidate Andrew Yang.
Even very early on, the three-word tweet, “I support Yang,” had garnered a whopping 18,000 retweets, 94,000 likes, and a personal thank-you from the candidate himself.
The tech billionaire’s support for Yang lit the Twittersphere aflame, generating a flurry of press coverage and buzz. That’s certainly good news for Yang, who is still polling in the low single digits and has so far struggled to resonate with Democratic voters.
Some have even speculated, in fact, that the announcement is just what the Democratic presidential contender needs to build momentum moving forward.
Tesla founder Elon Musk endorses 2020 Trump rival Andrew Yang – Washington Examiner https://t.co/u6NO4dBpxW
— Tesla Car Guy (@TeslaCarGuy) August 19, 2019
Elon Musk and Andrew Yang support Universal Basic Income — here's what it could mean for Americans https://t.co/LQ0yDRWAh8
— CNBC International (@CNBCi) August 16, 2019
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And yet, despite all the excitement surrounding the impromptu endorsement, Musk’s decision to support his fellow businessman is really no big surprise.
Here’s why: The foundational principle of Yang’s campaign is the concept of universal basic income (UBI) — or as he likes to call it, the freedom dividend. Essentially, Yang wants to supply every single American adult with $1,000 a month in taxpayer-funded income, no questions asked.
The proposal is, of course, totally ridiculous. Essentially, we’d be paying bureaucrats to increase taxes and funnel the money through various government entities — only to spit the funds back out in the form of a government-issued check.
It’s almost as if Americans would be better off keeping more of their own money themselves.
But setting aside the obvious logistical and economic nightmare that the universal basic income plan would create, the so-called freedom dividend illustrates Yang’s political perspective. He clearly believes people are entitled to government funds and that you can solve a problem by throwing money at it.
That viewpoint, while deeply flawed, is nevertheless shared by Elon Musk. And that forms the core of Musk’s support for Yang.
The provision known as the SpaceX earmark is designed to give SpaceX an unfair leg up in the government’s most recent space launch initiative, the National Security Space Launch program.
Unsurprisingly, when Musk was asked about his thoughts on UBI, he responded that it was “obviously needed.” It would seem Musk is a firm believer that the societal ills of poverty and automation can be alleviated simply by cutting a government check. But that raises an important question: Why does Musk think taxpayer funding can have such a profound effect on society? Probably because it’s a strategy that has worked wonders for him and his businesses.
Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, is almost entirely reliant on government contracts to finance its work.
Similarly, Tesla receives a wealth of taxpayer funds in the form of electric vehicle subsidies. Musk’s enterprises, it would seem, have benefited substantially from government involvement in their respective industries.
Indeed, Musk has made his bones off the back of the American taxpayer. And it’s that use of public funding that has certainly colored his perspective toward programs like UBI.
But while the billionaire entrepreneur has undoubtedly benefited from government intervention, the same cannot be said for the American taxpayer. For example, legislators in the House of Representatives recently managed to secure a $500 million carveout for SpaceX within the country’s yearly defense bill — the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The half-billion-dollar earmark would not only supply Musk’s company with a boatload of cash, it would also give SpaceX a serious advantage over its industry competitors.
The provision has become known as the SpaceX earmark. It’s designed to give SpaceX an unfair leg up in the government’s most recent space launch initiative, the National Security Space Launch program. But more than that, the earmark — along with other provisions in the bill, which would topple the Air Force’s competitive bidding processes — would waste valuable taxpayer dollars just to curry favor with SpaceX.
There’s no doubt the SpaceX earmark — and the House’s NDAA more generally — is a lousy piece of legislation that must be rejected. Still, the bill illustrates the fact that Musk, unlike everyday taxpayers, hasn’t had to deal with the negative repercussions of government intervention.
It’s no surprise, then, that he supports Andrew Yang for president. After all, Musk is used to the government funneling money his way.
Tim Tapp is the host of the syndicated conservative talk show “Tapp into the Truth.” He calls East Tennessee home — it’s where he broadcasts and writes. He also still works in quality assurance for a food manufacturing company as he takes up the cause of defending our republic.
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