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Musk invokes Milton Friedman in condemnation of Biden spending bill 'trickery'

Elon Musk
Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk listens to a question as he speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington, Monday, March 9, 2020. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Musk invokes Milton Friedman in condemnation of Biden spending bill ‘trickery’

December 08, 06:18 PM December 08, 06:18 PM

Tesla founder Elon Musk blasted the “trickery” of President Joe Biden’s spending bill, channeling preeminent free-market economist Milton Friedman.

Musk, the world’s wealthiest person, posted an analysis of the Democratic spending legislation that found that by 2050, the national debt would increase by nearly 25% and gross domestic product would fall by nearly 3% should the plan be implemented with certain temporary provisions made permanent.

“There is a lot of accounting trickery in this bill that isn’t being disclosed to the public,” Musk told his 66 million Twitter followers on Wednesday.

“Nothing is more permanent than a ‘temporary’ government program,” the billionaire added, which is an almost exact word-for-word quote from Friedman, who is known for being a major proponent of free-market capitalism and one of the leaders of the Chicago school of economics.

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The Democratic bill, which many in the party claim is fully paid for, is chock-full of spending provisions that have early sunsets and drive down the headline price of the agenda, a tactic that Republicans and certain outside groups have characterized as gimmickry. Should the legislation pass, Democrats would likely seek to make those early sunsets permanent, thus increasing the bill’s actual cost by a large margin.

“In an alternative, illustrative scenario in which all temporary provisions in [the package] are made permanent, spending would instead total $4.6 trillion over the 10-year budget window,” the report reads. “In this scenario, by 2050 federal debt increase by 24.4 percent and GDP would fall by 2.9 percent relative to current law.”

This week, Musk also addressed the Democratic spending legislation during an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Musk said he thinks it might be better if the legislation doesn’t end up getting passed and cited the ballooning federal deficit.

During the interview, Musk said he is not an “extreme libertarian” but does think that the United States should minimize the role of the government. Musk also bucked the notion of federal subsidies, even for the electric vehicles that his company is known for.

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“It does not make sense to take the job of capital allocation away from people who have demonstrated great skill at capital allocation and give it to an entity that has demonstrated very poor skill in capital allocation, which is the government,” Musk said, invoking libertarian ideals.

“The government is simply the biggest corporation, with a monopoly on violence, and where you have no recourse,” he said, referencing renowned sociologist Max Weber.

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