Tesla is Lose/Lose for American Taxpayers

Our government doesn’t have a lot of extra cash, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from handing it out to their buddies. That’s not really a fiscally responsible way to live but, hey, that’s never stopped them before. It’s kind of like loaning money to your friend who has a great idea that may or may not work, but you’re willing to take the risk. The problem is, we didn’t get to approve that loan, most of us don’t have access to $465 million, and we’re not getting a decent return on investment.  Also, your buddy’s product probably doesn’t catch on fire

New reports show that, in the 3rd quarter of 2013, Tesla beat expectations, but still managed to lose $38 million. In reaction, shares plummeted on NASDAQ from $155 to $146.71, which is nearly 14%. That’s a pretty big fall in a single day, and some think it’s poised to get worse. Barclay’s analyst Brian Johnson told his clients that Tesla stock “is more properly valued at $141.” Are things looking up for the next quarter? CEO and Founder (and 1%er billionaire) Elon Musk said that cash flow in 4th quarter would be “about break even.” 

Aside from the $465 million federal loan, Tesla also received a $10 million grant from the California Energy Commission. Why are regular taxpayers paying for a cash infusion for a billionaire? Good question. Tesla doesn’t just make money from selling cars. One of their main sources of income is in selling California’s zero-emission credits to other car companies. Without that income, they would have lost $53 million- that’s $10,000 per car sold. To put it simply for non math majors – that’s not good.  You don’t stay in business (without a bailout) long with numbers like that.

Sure, it’s entirely possible that it will bounce back and make all kinds of money. However, the taxpayers are kind of sunk either way. Tesla has taken in quite a bit of our money over the years. If they can’t hack it in the free market, why is the government wasting money on them? If they do succeed, the taxpayers should see a venture capital level of return on investment, since we essentially acted as venture capitalists. All we will get is a repayment at rock-bottom interest rates. Government, thanks for screwing things up for us either way. Again.