Billionaire Elon Musk’s offer to help Boeing with its 787 Dreamliner battery issues is like a drowning man being offered rescue by a man who cannot swim.
Musk, is the founder of Tesla Motors, the electric car company that received billions from the Obama Administration in its continuing failed effort to promote electric cars. Tesla was profiled in the New York Times for an incident where an owner left his car for two months without driving it. The battery could not be recharged. The Times noted ” The incident made a buzzword of “bricking,” a term from the high-tech industry typically used to describe electronic devices rendered useless by corrupted software. In this case, it was the 1,000-pound lithium-ion battery pack of an electric Roadster — a car that sold for about $110,000 but whose production has now ended — that became, effectively, a brick.”
Can you imagine what would happen if the Dreamliner becomes a “brick” midflight? “Thanks, but no thanks, Mr. Musk,” should be Boeing’s response.
Musk has become a symbol for all that’s wrong in the business world today. A brilliant entrepreneur, Musk helped start PayPal and cashed out — a true American success story. But seeing how easy it is to turn lobbyists and campaign contributions into billions in federal subsidies, Musk went over to the dark side.
Musk spent $480,000 from 2007 to 2011 to lobby Congress, the White House, EPA and DOE and his company Tesla Motors, in turn receiving a $465 million loan guarantee from DOE’s ATVM program.
Musk’s company SpaceX lives off government contracts with NASA that total nearly $1 billion. The company recently launched a rocket whose engine came apart and burst into flames.
Musk also cashed in on the green energy giveaway, when he took SolarCity, a solar company public, after receiving a $344 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy and $66 million from additional DOE giveaway programs. It’s worth noting that the Washington Post reported that SolarCity, is among a group of green companies that received subpoenas from the Treasury Department’s office of inspector general for financial records to justify more than $500 million in federal grants and tax credits the firms tapped for performing work. But that didn’t stop Musk from taking the company public a few months ago.
Even an anti-business liberal will admit that most of the “robber barrons” of the 19th century risked their own money to make their riches. Elon Musk represents everything wrong with today’s green energy companies — the risks they take are subsidized. Worse yet, their products don’t have to actually work for them to receive government largess. Its a sure bet that Boeing–and all future Dreamliner passengers– want the plane to actually work. So just as government should have done, Boeing needs to stay far away from charlatans like Musk.