December 6, 2021 7:50pm
Updated: December 7, 2021 10:30am
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Congress should "can" President Joe Biden's multitrillion dollar Build Back Better Act, which Democrats are seeking to pass with budget reconciliation to avoid relying on votes from Republicans.
"Honestly, I would just can this whole bill," said Musk, ranked number two on the 2021 Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans. "Don't pass it. That's my recommendation."
Musk argued that the federal government should "get out of the way and not impede progress," emphasizing that the government ought to be a "referee" rather than a "player on the field."
"Rules and regulations are immortal," Musk said at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council event on Thursday evening. "They don't die. The vast majority of rules and regulations live forever ... there's not really an effective garbage collection system for removing rules and regulations, so this hardens the arteries of civilization where you are able to do less and less over time."
Biden's budget bill includes $7,500 subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles. It also includes an additional $4,500 for the purchase of union-made electric vehicles, which would exclude the nonunion Tesla.
Musk mentioned the subsidies during his critique of the legislation. He said that there have not been any federal tax subsidies for the purchase of Tesla vehicles during the past two years.
The moderator noted that the bill includes funding for expanding the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the U.S. In response, Musk said he still thinks the bill should be thrown out.
"Unnecessary," he said. "Do we need support for gas stations? We don't. I'm literally saying get rid of all subsidies."
Musk warned that the nation's record $3 trillion deficit could lead to negative consequences.
"If this was a company, it would be a $3 trillion loss," he said, addressing the federal government's level of spending. "This can't keep going."
Musk said the U.S. government could "delete" all billionaires and still not be able to fix the deficit.
"The government is simply the biggest corporation, with a monopoly on violence and where you have no recourse," he said. "It's the only one that's allowed to legally do violence."
He emphasized that he's not advocating for having no government at all.
"We should minimize what the government does," he said.
Musk added that there are trillions in unfunded liabilities or promised benefits for programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Musk mentioned that there are not enough individuals in the workforce overall, and encouraged people to have more children.
China's economy is expanding, and it will eventually be the "biggest kid on the block," he said.
Musk said Tesla has a "good relationship" with China overall, but added that he doesn't endorse everything its government does.