By John Tamny for RealClearPolitics
He’s not paying enough attention to them. Who’s not? A recent front page Washington Post story lamented that as Elon Musk “inserts himself into volatile geopolitical issues, many Washington policymakers worry from the sidelines as he bypasses them.” Breakups are tough, it seems. Musk is moving on, if Democrats are to be believed.
As so often happens in real life, individual achievements cause the individual to move to a new set of friends. Democrats feel jilted. And in feeling jilted, they’re “more vocal on the need to rein in Musk.” More realistically, they need to relax. Musk doesn’t need to answer to them, and shouldn’t answer to them, simply because he answers daily to a much wiser master: the marketplace.
Lest the lovesick Democrats forget, Tesla is a public company, so is Solar City, and at least for now, so is Twitter. Think about what that means, and in particular think about it relative to Washington. There are 435 congressmen, and 100 senators. No doubt many of them are wildly smart, but then it’s probably safe to say that there are some wildly smart political high-ups in North Korea and Cuba.
Certainly there were some bright minds in the former Soviet Union. But as evidenced by how tragically backwards the Soviet Union was, and Cuba and North Korea are, a few or even hundreds of wise minds planning outcomes at the top are no match for the marketplace. Not even close.
Even if we assume what’s not true, that the 535 congressmen and senators are the smartest Americans of all, they’re no match for the American population. Indeed, while it’s a statement of the obvious that there are more than a few dense members of the “revolting” (W.C. Fields) masses, the total knowledge of the American people vastly exceeds what the D.C. political class knows.
What’s just been described is the “market.” Never forget that the people are the market, which well explains why free markets always and everywhere beat government planning. The latter comprises the knowledge of the microscopically few, while the former comprises the knowledge of everyone.
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Based on that truth, is it any surprise that free market outcomes always well exceed that of “expert” planners? Markets are information and knowledge personified. Period.
Spurned Democrats will claim that they backed SpaceX when Musk was near broke, and that the federal government has long championed electric cars with subsidies, but such a view is narrow.
No doubt federal contracts for SpaceX were instrumental at a difficult time for Musk, but as is well known, Musk has saved taxpayers a fortune with rockets that are reusable. Right or wrong governments spend a lot on space exploration, only for Musk to lower their costs.
As for electric cars, it’s not as though the rather unnecessary subsidy was created for Musk. In truth, all car companies have the sales of their first 200,000 or 300,000 electric vehicles subsidized with a $7,500 federal tax credit. This isn’t to defend the latter, nor is it to say that it was necessary for Tesla’s survival (likely not given the makeup of the buyers of Teslas), but it is to say that the federal handout was hardly created just for Musk.
Adding to the above, while every carmaker allegedly enjoyed the subsidy, none saw their valuation soar about $1 trillion as Tesla has. What this tells us is that quite unlike the others, investors with actual skin in the game plainly view cars as merely the starting point for what Musk intends to accomplish with the technology powering Tesla automobiles. This is crucial.
It is simply because the politicians and other political types who presently feel “unseen” by Musk are constrained by the known; as in the world that exists today. Conversely, Musk’s enormous wealth signals someone not remotely constrained by the highly limited known. Investors expect him to push the frontier of what can be achieved on the transportation front well beyond the proverbial frontier that is today.
Hopefully some of this explains to Democrats and other Lefties why they’ve been “ghosted.” Precisely because Musk answers to the much more exacting and future-shaping market, it would very much impair his own progress if he slowed down in order to talk about the present with Democrats.
The simple truth is that the present is the past in commercial terms. In other words, it’s not you Democrats. It’s Elon Musk creating a future that logically can’t be planned by people looking into the past.
Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.
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