Like many little boys, Elon Musk has always dreamed of flying to Mars. But unlike most children, he never grew out of his childhood fantasy, working towards this goal for most of his life. Musk envisions a day when people will be able to live on Mars and travel back and forth to Earth at will.
The only catch is that Elon Musk thinks you, the American taxpayer, should loan the $10 billion he needs to get his for-profit business off the ground.
Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, co-founder and chairman of SolarCity, founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, and last but not least, the visionary darling of the climate change crowd. He has an estimated net worth of more than $11 billion and has stated his goal is to change the world and humanity. Musk pushes a doomsday view of the imminent dangers of climate change as a way to motivate his investors, which includes the U.S. Government, to sink billions of dollars into his particular vision of the future.
Recently at the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Elon Musk’s private space company, SpaceX, had an announcement. In the dramatic fashion that Musk is known for, he broke the news at a presentation called “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species.” SpaceX has entered the planning stage to send the first humans to colonize Mars. According to Musk, the first flights to Mars could be leaving earth as early as 2024. It should be noted that Musk has a well-earned reputation of making overly ambitious goals that often fall short.
Musk estimates the first self-sustaining colony could be up and running by the 2060’s with his company charging a measly $200,000 per trip; that is, if the passengers even survive the trip. Musk has admitted that one of the qualifiers for acceptance in the Mars colony program would include a high-risk tolerance for mortality: “Are you prepared to die? If that’s O.K., then you’re a candidate for going.” He has often said his personal goal is to live someday and ultimately die on Mars. However, he has also made it clear that he will not be one of the first humans to make the trip.
“I’d definitely need to have a good succession plan because the probability of death is really high on the first mission,” he said. With a sales pitch like that, who wouldn’t want to hop on board?
While most people earn wealth by creating goods or services that people want and need, there is another way to get rich. Elon Musk has it all figured out. It is called cronyism, and it can make billionaires out of anyone who develops the right connections in the government —whether their products are profitable or not, the money keeps coming. In the process, the taxpayers foot the bill and take the losses. Not only is Musk a never-ending idea factory; he is also a true master at marketing. He can spin grandiose tales of his vision of the future that has inspired our government to jump on the Musk Hyperloop train.
Musk’s companies have already received more than $5 billion in government funding to build a car company and a solar company neither of which can turn a profit, and a space company that has as many failures as successes. Tesla has reported only one profitable quarter since it went public in 2010. It posted a loss of $575 million in the first half of 2016. Since 2012, SolarCity’s after-tax profit had fallen from -$66 million to -$300 million by 2014. As of 2015, SolarCity’s after-tax profit had dropped to -$404 million.
SpaceX has a dismal track record of approximately one in every two rocket launches ending in a giant disastrous explosion. And with each explosion, so goes hundreds of millions of dollars in payload for the companies trying to send their equipment into space. SpaceX charges at least $62 million for each rocket launch. And in an apparent effort to throw more good money after bad, SpaceX has recently landed a deal with the Pentagon for an $83-million contract from the Air Force to launch a global positioning system satellite from Cape Canaveral in 2018.
Now, even with this long list of failed endeavors, the business magnate once again returns to his cronies in Washington looking for another government handout. But this time, he says he needs at least $10 billion to get started colonizing Mars. However, the billions of dollars Musk has already received from the government, along with the new $10 billion, does not belong to some faceless government entity. Rather, those billions have come from American taxpayers who should not be forced to see their hard-earned money squandered on pie-in-the-sky dreams, especially considering the $19 trillion national debt.
It’s time to cut the Musk loose. He has gamed the system long enough, taking billions of dollars from hard working Americans. It’s time for Musk and his company to stand on their own without the crutch of federal support. Our government should focus on solving the problems on this planet before considering funding one man’s fantasy.