Following Elon Musk’s labeling of NPR as “government funded” media, critics have pointed out that SpaceX and Tesla have benefited from billions in government contracts and subsidies over the years.
Quartz reports that Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and the recent buyer of Twitter, sparked a debate this week on his platform by referring to National Public Radio (NPR) as “government-funded media,” which he then changed to “government-influenced media.” NPR made the decision to quit the platform rather than accept the new labeling because it maintains that its editorial content is independent and frequently critical of the U.S. government.
Despite NPR’s clear ties to the government, Quartz notes that SpaceX and Tesla also get government money, albeit at far greater amounts.
SpaceX has received $15.3 billion in contracts since 2003, making it predominantly a government contractor. Nearly $3 billion worth of tax credits, preferential loans, and subsidies have benefited Tesla. The success of SpaceX has been greatly influenced by its relationships with the U.S. government; the firm primarily serves as a contractor for NASA and the U.S. military. Without a crucial contract that NASA awarded it in 2008, the company could not have survived.
Additionally, SpaceX has worked with NASA to create spacecraft like the Falcon 9 and Dragon that it can sell to private clients. These public-private collaborations have helped the government save money while fostering an increase in activity in the commercial space sector. SpaceX is asking the government for $885 million to improve broadband access in rural areas.
Similar government assistance was provided to Tesla, which in 2010 received a $465 million preferential loan from the U.S. Department of Energy and repaid it in 2013. Tax incentives offered to consumers who purchase electric vehicles have also benefited the business, reducing the price of Tesla vehicles by $4,000 to $7,500. The total benefits are estimated to reach nearly $3 billion according to one attempt to keep track of all these subsidies, including local and state incentives to promote manufacturing plants.
It is still unclear why Musk chose to target NPR over government funding, especially given that Tesla is attempting to take advantage of the most recent round of electric vehicle tax incentives that were enacted as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Read more at Quartz here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan
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