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Tesla Stock Drops 5% After Elon Musk Spars With Bernie Sanders

Elon Musk
Tesla stock dropped 5% after Musk became embroiled in a Twitter fight with Senator Bernie Sanders. Credit: JD Laisca

Tesla’s stock crashed by 5% on Monday after Elon Musk made a heated response to a tweet from Senator Bernie Sanders calling for stricter taxes on the wealth of billionaires.

Sanders tweeted on Saturday that “We must demand that the extremely wealthy pay their fair share. Period.”

Musk shot back the next day by replying to the Vermont senator’s tweet with “I keep forgetting that you’re still alive.”

Musk then followed up his barbed tweet by threatening to sell more of his Tesla stock, something he did last week following a public Twitter poll. 

“Want me to sell more stock Bernie? Just say the word,” Musk tweeted to Sanders.

Elon Musk sold 4.5 million shares of his company, Tesla, worth $5 billion, last week immediately after the majority of Twitter users who participated in his poll voted for him to sell. He has now sold up to 7 million shares.

Over 3 million Twitter users participated in the Tesla CEO’s poll. Musk is the largest shareholder in his company.

Musk’s move is said to be directly connected to Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden’s latest plan to introduce more stringent taxes for the United States’ billionaires, targeting their investments, which are typically only taxed after being sold, and thus financially “realized.”

“Much has made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10 percent of my Tesla stock,” Musk wrote. Then he asked his followers, “Do you support this?”


Although Musk promised to “abide by the results” no matter what the outcome was, many experts believe that his Twitter poll was a stunt meant to spin the fact that he was queuing up to sell stock anyway, with one CNBC report stating that the CEO would be racked with $15 billion in taxes on his investments alone.

Senator demands billionaire income tax as Elon Musk’s wealth climbs

Musk has openly butted heads with Senator Wyden over his plan to tax the ultra-wealthy. Wyden responded to Musk’s poll by saying that “Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll. It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax.”

Musk seems to be entering the peak of his professional success with companies Tesla and SpaceX — and his personal wealth has climbed to new heights as a result. Tesla shares closed at an all-time high of $909.68 late last month, just two days after the company published its revenue and profits for Q3, which were also at a record high. Tesla’s market cap is approximately $860 billion.

The 50-year-old also took over the number one spot on the list of the world’s wealthiest people last month. Musk is the third person in history to have amassed a $200 billion fortune, according to Forbes.

While Musk has shot to the top spot in the world in private wealth largely due to his electric vehicle company Tesla, a Morgan Stanley analyst believes that the future of his aerospace company SpaceX will someday bring Musk across the trillion-dollar threshold, making him the first nrillionaire in world history.



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