Elon Musk Supports Andrew Yang in 2020 Elections

Elon Musk said that he supports Andrew Yang in 2020 elections. Musk was a part of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, but quit.

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author

Aug. 11 2019, Updated 1:37 p.m. ET

uploads///Musk supports Yang

Elon Musk said that he supports Andrew Yang in 2020 elections. Musk was a part of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, but quit.

Tesla’s (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk said that he supports Andrew Yang in the 2020 elections. Yang is a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who has floated the idea of UBI (or Universal Basic Income). UBI has been a controversial topic. Some see the idea as too socialist and left-leaning. Others see it as a necessity. Notably, some Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have supported MMT (Modern Monetary Theory). However, many, including Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) chairman Warren Buffett, don’t endorse the MMT.

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The political journey of Tesla’s CEO

Before supporting Andrew Yang, Musk was a part of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers. However, Musk’s position became untenable after Trump pulled the US from the Paris Agreement climate deal. According to Tesla, its “mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” Musk couldn’t be seen associated with someone who sees climate change as a sham. But Trump didn’t change his views on Paris Agreement overnight. During his 2016 election campaign, Trump also talked about pulling out of the Paris Agreement.

Musk’s views on Trump

To be sure, Musk was a vocal Trump critic before joining his economic advisory council. Speaking with CNBC, Musk said, “I feel a bit stronger that he is not the right guy.” He added, “He doesn’t seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States.” Musk seemed to support Hillary Clinton’s policies. Notably, during her 2016 election campaign, Clinton advocated increasing spending on renewable energy.

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Meanwhile, like Trump, Musk also talked about the high tariffs that US companies face overseas. Musk has cited China and India as examples. Notably, Musk tweeted about high car tariffs in China when Trump put a 25% tariff on US steel imports. Last year, China slapped additional tariffs on US-made cars after the trade war escalated. However, the tariff increase was withdrawn after the meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina.

‘Socialist’ Elon Musk supports Andrew Yang

Musk has never shied away from his socialist beliefs. Even before supporting Andrew Yang, Musk had called himself a socialist. Last year, Musk tweeted, “By the way, I am actually a socialist. Just not the kind that shifts resources from most productive to least productive, pretending to do good, while actually causing harm. True socialism seeks greatest good for all.” Notably, the socialism-versus-capitalism debate could heat up as the 2020 presidential race progresses. Some of the Democratic candidates are seen as too socialist and left-leaning.

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Musk supports Yang on UBI, not on automation

Elon Musk has also supported Andrew Yang on UBI. When asked for his “Thoughts on UBI,” Musk replied, “Obviously needed.” Additionally, Yang calls UBI “the Freedom Dividend.” According to his website, “Andrew would implement the Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income of $1,000/month, $12,000/year, for every American adult over the age of 18. This is independent of one’s work status or any other factor.” Yang seems especially worried about automation and artificial intelligence taking away manual jobs.

Tesla is among the frontrunners when it comes to automation. From automated assembly lines to focus on autonomous vehicles, Musk’s policies seem at odds with Yang. Musk has supported Andrew Yang for 2020 elections and also endorsed his UBI. However, he might not be on the same page with Yang on automation fallout. President Trump isn’t a big fan of autonomous technology either. The president expressed his views after Boeing (BA) 737’s fatal crash earlier this year.

Tesla autopilot issues

Currently, Tesla’s autonomous vehicles aren’t completely autonomous. The company is facing lawsuits over fatal crashes that happened when its Autopilot was turned on. Tesla also got a NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) subpoena over Model 3 safety claims. More recently, the company was sued over allegedly limiting older Model X cars’ charging capacity.


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