Elon Musk Offers to Sell More Tesla Stock in Sparring Session With Bernie Sanders Over Taxes


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Tesla CEO Elon Musk got into a spat with Bernie Sanders on Sunday after the US senator demanded the wealthy pay their “fair share” of taxes.

“We must demand that the extremely wealthy pay their fair share. Period,” Sanders wrote on Twitter. Taking a jibe at the 80-year-old senator, Musk responded by saying “I keep forgetting that you’re still alive.”

The billionaire CEO who had already offloaded a combined $6.9 billion (roughly Rs. 51,330 crores) worth of shares in the electric car company as of November 12, further wrote, “Want me to sell more stock, Bernie? Just say the word.”

Sanders’ tweet comes amid the backdrop of Washington’s efforts to hike taxes for the super-wealthy.

US Senate Democrats have unveiled a proposal to tax billionaires’ stocks and other tradeable assets to help finance President Joe Biden’s social spending agenda and close a loophole that has allowed them to defer capital gains taxes indefinitely.

A week ago, Musk tweeted that he would sell 10 percent of his shares if users of the social media platform endorsed the move. About 57.9 percent of people voted for the stock sale.

Shares of Tesla closed lower on Friday, down 2.8 at $1,033.42 (roughly Rs.76,880), snapping an 11-week winning streak. The shares are up more than 46 percent this year following a sharp rally in October.

The stock sales, which marked the first time that Musk cashed out on a stake of that size since the company was founded in 2003, were massive by capital market standards, eclipsing the initial public offerings of most companies.

By getting Twitter users to green-light the move, he has blunted potential criticism of cashing out at a time when Tesla’s valuation has become frothy and shares are at record highs.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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