The popular joke about Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is that every time his company reports another quarterly operational loss, he makes another high-profile speech about creating a human colony on Mars. After last week, Musk may need to consider making a series of such speeches.
Not only did Tesla report another quarterly loss last week, it reported its biggest single-quarter loss since starting business in 2009. Its Q3 2017 loss of $619 million almost doubled its previous record quarterly loss, which came in Q2 2017. That second-quarter loss barely exceeded the company’s Q1 loss of $330 million.
As if to heap insult onto injury, just a couple of days after Musk had to acknowledge his company’s worst financial quarter, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives unveiled its proposed tax overhaul for both individual and corporate taxpayers. While the GOP plan would lower the corporate tax rate on corporate profits to 20%, from its current 35%, that is hardly relevant to Tesla, which has never reported an annual profit in its history and in fact has only twice reported a quarterly profit.
Making matters even worse, not just for Tesla but for all other manufacturers of electric vehicles in the U.S., the GOP tax plan would repeal the existing $7,500 tax credit available to purchasers of these cars. This credit, along with similar credit and rebate programs available in the various states, has enabled EVs to be at least somewhat price competitive with gasoline and diesel cars. Were the credit to go away, it is very likely that sales of EVs would plummet, a reality that no amount of speeches or press releases about Mars could hope to offset.
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Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- University Leaders Call Out Bigoted Democrats. Will miracles never cease? – The presidents of Notre Dame and Princeton University wrote scathing letters to longtime anti-Catholic bigot Sen. Dianne Feinstein, after her inquisition of the religious beliefs of a Catholic Trump nominee for the federal bench. While it is wonderful that these two presidents finally, at long last decided to weigh in against the anti-Catholic, anti-Christian bigotry that has become part of the daily playbook of the Democrat Party on Capitol Hill, it is worth noting that this is nothing new, and that Sen. Feinstein has been plying her bigotry on the Senate Judiciary Committee for decades now. She is far from alone, carrying on a tradition established long ago by the likes of Howard Metzenbaum, Patrick Leahy and other Democrat Judiciary Committee members going back to at least the 1970s. So, welcome to the party, gents, but this one has been going on for a long, long time.
- For those who haven’t read their Constitution in awhile, Article VI is pretty explicit on this subject: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Any reasonable reading of the history of why this was included in the Constitution reveals that it was put there as a prohibition against the establishment of a state religion. But Democrats, mainly in their quasi-religious zeal to protect abortion on demand, in modern times have attempted to distort this into a literal prohibition of truly religious people holding public office. It’s ok for Catholics like Nancy Pelosi to hold high office, because they know she doesn’t really practice the teachings of the Church: her religion plays no role in informing her public policy postures.
- In other words, it’s fine to say you’re religious, so long as you don’t live your life that way. This is the religious test Democrats have been imposing for decades, and it won’t stop until religious leaders and leaders of faith-based universities call it out every time they see it. The letters from these two university presidents is a good start, and it is worth noting that the U.S. Council of Bishops also weighed in on this latest controversy with a letter of their own. This is wonderful as a beginning, but if it is just a one-off it will have no long-term effect. If they want to the practice to end, they will have to police it and call it out every time it rears its ugly head, because the fake news media doesn’t care about it – they actually support it – and isn’t going to call it out. Democrats like Feinstein have seen too much political advantage accrue from engaging in this practice over the years, and won’t stop unless they know they will be subject to public shaming every time they attempt it in the future.
- Can we please keep this woman under lock and key until next November? – Speaking of San Fran Nan, I noted last week that President Trump’s deal with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer virtually ensures that Republicans will have those two toxically unpopular faces of the Democrat Party to run against in the 2018 mid-term elections. But the limits of that surety could be severely tested if San Fran Nan keeps showing herself to be a doddering simpleton in her public appearances. She made such an appearance on Saturday before a gathering of San Francisco’s LGBT community leaders, confusing words, uttering garbled sentences, and generally making such a mess of her talk that she found herself having to stop and overtly note which lines were applause lines to her overwhelmingly friendly audience. It was San Fran Nan in all her awesome glory, and Republicans are praying that glory doesn’t get over-exposed before November 2018.
- When is a dead battery not really dead? When Elon Musk is just telling you it is. – Tesla drivers fleeing Hurricane Irma were given a surprise free upgrade, as the car manufacturer remotely “unlocked” the full power of the batteries in the Model S and Model X cars that had been purchased with the 60kWh option. Turns out those cars actually contained the same 75kWh batteries that others had purchased at higher prices, with Tesla simply limiting how much of that capacity the lower-paying drivers could use. In other words, prior to the passage of Irma, drivers of the 60kWh models were being told by their cars that their batteries were on the verge of death, when in reality they had plenty of life remaining, if only Tesla hadn’t artificially limited it. Cost of the “upgrade” – which obviously amounts to checking a box on a web page linked to each car – prior to Irma? $4500 to $9000, depending on the model. I swear I’m not making this up.
Just another day in bigoted Democrats America.
That is all.
Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- Elon Musk is a very creative guy. We all know it, and often admire it. He’s the guy who’s going to colonize Mars, the guy who’s going to roof your house with solar shingles and pave highways with solar pavers. He’s also the guy who is now bringing us the Tesla 3 electric motor car, his new, more compact and sporty model for which he claims to have already received 500,000 orders. It’s all so wonderful, and his giant PR operation issues about 27 press releases a week bragging about his every move. Well, ok, not quite every move.
- Here’s what Elon Musk’s thousands of PR agents never brag about: None of his very creative ideas work without very heavy government subsidies. The fact is that his various ventures in the United States alone have already brought him more than $5 billion in government subsidies, a legacy of the crony capitalism in which the Obama Administration was so heavily engaged. That amounts to about half of Musk’s personal net worth, and those subsidies are the only reason his car company has been able to eke out “profits” in just 2 quarters during its entire existence. Indeed, buyers of Teslas in the U.S. receive a big subsidy check from the federal government – the subsidy for the new Tesla 3 is $7500 – and also received state subsidies from taxpayers in many states. California’s state subsidy (because of course California has a taxpayer subsidy for this stuff) is $2500, meaning that preening celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio can make themselves feel better by buying a Tesla, and enjoy a gift of a total of $10 grand from middle class America. Cool, right?
- Musk is facing a growing backlash over all his very creative rent-seeking endeavors, but the simple fact is he has to have the subsidies to remain in business. For proof of that assertion, all one need do is observe Tesla’s experience in Hong Kong this year. Tesla had sold thousands of cars the first three months of this year, when the Hong Kong government had a large subsidy in place, but when that subsidy was eliminated at the end of March, Tesla received a total of ZERO orders for its cars in Hong Kong during April. No subsidies, no sales, and pretty soon, no company.
- So, if you are so inclined, go out and get your Tesla soon, while the subsidies are in existence and the company is still in business. But don’t buy one in Texas – Texas offers EV subsidies through auto dealerships, but no subsidies for the factory-direct Tesla, which does not do dealerships. Go to California and make the taxpayers there foot part of the bill for your awesome new car. They’ll enjoy it – they’re used to being screwed by their state’s government.
- Sen. Manchin thinks he’s the Honey Badger. Honey Badger don’t give a s–t, either. – Ok, West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin has now gone full nitwit. He’s obviously been given the party’s polling data indicating that Democrats can now cuss their way to re-election, data that has led Senators like Kirstin Gillebrand and Al Franken, along with DNC Chairman Tom Perez to go on cursing sprees all over the country in recent months. Here’s what Manchin said in an interview with the Charleston Gazette: “I don’t give a s–t, you understand? I just don’t give a s–t,” he said. “Don’t care if I get elected, don’t care if I get defeated, how about that. If they think because I’m up for election, that I can be wrangled into voting for s–t that I don’t like and can’t explain, they’re all crazy.” Democrats really do believe this is an effective strategy to attract votes from Millenials. I suspect, though, that Millenials don’t give a s–t about it. Just a guess.
Just another day in don’t give a s–t America.
That is all.