In the movie Elysium, the wealthy and privileged flee Earth to inhabit a Larry Niven-like artificial ringworld, leaving the rest of humanity behind on a destitute planet. The future, if left to Elon Musk, bears an eerie resemblance to Elysium.
Musk, the chief executive officer (CEO) and chief technology officer (CTO) of SpaceX, the CEO of Tesla Motors, and chairman of the board of SolarCity, doesn’t care about the poor or middle-class and his business models prove it. The technology-centric crowd fawns over Musk like he is the second coming of Steve Jobs. He is a creative problem solver who looks to the future. However, his products serve only the wealthy and elite.
Government support through taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies of a billionaire’s business models is a form of fascism, blind to your labels of liberal and conservative.
There was a recent article in Quartz, ”Why Elon Musk is a Utility Executive’s Worst Nightmare” fawning over SolarCity for upending the traditional power companies. Here is what they are all missing. Only homeowners can lease those solar panels that SolarCity installs. How many low, and even middle-income people are homeowners in California? The same California, and particularly Santa Cruz, which is one of the most expensive states and metro areas in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Santa Cruz’s homeownership rate is 59.4 percent and California overall is 56.7 percent compared to the national average of 66.1 percent.
Traditional power companies, like Pacific Gas & Electric, still maintain the power lines, transformers, substations and equipment for connecting those houses to the grid, yet SolarCity bears none of those costs. So, the lower- to middle-income renter subsidizes SolarCity and their customers through higher rates on electricity. Ratepayers in California have spent $1.68 billion on these subsidies to the benefit of SolarCity, competitors of SolarCity, their customers, and other industry players.
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