Stimulus Payments Slammed by Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not a fan of stimulus checks, he has revealed. The eccentric billionaire feels that the federal aid programs being pushed to help buoy the U.S. through the coronavirus pandemic are a bad idea. In a recent interview with podcaster Joe Rogan, Musk said that the fiscal policy in the U.S. in general has become "detached from reality."

Musk was a guest on Rogan's podcast The Joe Rogan Experience on Thursday, May 7, and his words are still making waves. The entrepreneur known for founding the electric car company Tesla and the privatized space travel company SpaceX is now warning that sending a stimulus check to every American is not a solution to the economic fallout of the pandemic. "You can't just legislated money and solve these things," he said.

"This notion though, that you can just sort of send checks out to everybody and things will be fine, is not true, obviously," Musk said. "Some people have this absurd view that the economy is, like, some magic horn o'plenty. Like, it just makes stuff... Let me break it to the fools out there: if you don't make stuff, there's no stuff. If you don't make the food, if you don't process the food, if you don't transport the food, medical treatment, getting your teeth fixed — there's no stuff. We'll run out of the stores. The machine just grinds to a halt."

This conversation came even before the U.S. Congress passed another $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill called the HEROES Act, which will now be negotiated in the senate. Since then, Musk has gone on to hint that he fears for the value of the U.S. dollar itself. In a Twitter exchange with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling on Friday, Musk said that "massive currency issuance by [government] central banks is making Bitcoin Internet [ghost] money look solid by comparison."

"I still only own 0.25 Bitcoins [by the way,] Musk added. At the time of this writing, 0.25 Bitcoin is equivalent to $2,439.

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Musk's remarks on The Joe Rogan Experience were criticized for making a great number of presumptions — including the idea that regular coronavirus relief payment would make essential workers in the U.S. stop going to work altogether. On the other hand, economist Daniel Alpert argued in an op-ed for Business Insider that government spending is the best way to protect the U.S. economy from a collapse on the level of the Great Depression. Fellow columnist David Plotz added that this is why Republican senators will likely pass the House's HEROES Act — with a great deal of compromises.

In the meantime, Musk is still fighting a public feud with the state of California for his Tesla manufacturing plant to be allowed to resume work, and threatening to move it elsewhere if it is not. As of this week, over 36 million Americans are unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.