Twitter Makes a Big Decision for Elon Musk

Nearly 58% vote in favor of him selling 10% of his Tesla stock
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2021 7:35 AM CST
Updated Nov 8, 2021 12:02 AM CST
Elon Musk Asks Twitter Users to Decide His Stock Move
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Update: Twitter has spoken. Of the more than 3.5 million users who took part in Elon Musk's poll, 57.9% of them voted that, yes, he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock, the Verge reports. In proposing the poll, the Tesla CEO had pointed out, "Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock." In response to that, ProPublica journalist Jesse Eisinger tweeted, "Thank you for confirming our story: That for the ultra wealthy income taxes are essentially voluntary. (That’s the one you previously claimed was misleading for… reasons.)" He's referring to this piece. And CNBC notes the "real reason" Musk is likely selling is to pay the $15 billion tax bill he'll soon owe on stock options. Our original story from Sunday follows:

Stop us if you've heard this before: Elon Musk is making headlines with an unconventional tweet. This time, the Tesla CEO has launched a Twitter poll to determine whether he should sell some of his shares in the company.

  • The tweet: “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?” Musk tweeted, adding a "yes" or "no" vote function. “I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes."
  • Big money: Such a sale would amount to about $21 billion, given that Musk has more than 170 million shares, calculates Reuters.

  • The background: Musk's reference to "unrealized gains" is about Democratic plans to levy a "billionaires' tax"—to make them pay a tax on their wealth even if they don't sell assets such as stock shares in a given year. Musk has previously spoken out against the idea. CNBC notes that Musk also has previously said that he will probably sell "a huge block" of his Tesla options soon.
  • Firing back: Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, criticized Musk's latest comments. “Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll," he said, per the Hill. "It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax."
(More Elon Musk stories.)

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