President Joe Biden on Friday signaled a little patience as the world’s richest man angered the US economy, dismissing Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s comments about job cuts at his electric car maker.
According to a Reuters report on Friday, Musk said in an email to Tesla executives that he has a “very bad feeling” about the economy and will cut 10% of salaried jobs as the number of hourly workers increases.
He also ordered the company, which employs about 100,000 people, to “temporarily halt all recruitment operations worldwide.”
When asked by a reporter about Musk’s comments, Biden listed a number of US automakers that have been able to “overwhelmingly” increase their investment, particularly in electric vehicles. In contrast to Musk, a staunchly anti-worker, Biden noted that many of the new jobs in the industry are union jobs.
“I think Ford is increasing investment in building new electric cars: 6,000 new employees — union employees, I might add — in the Midwest,” the president said at a news conference about the May jobs report released Friday. “Chrysler’s former company, Stellantis, is also making similar investments in electric vehicles.”
“You know, a lot of luck on his trip to the moon,” Biden added, referring to Musk’s space exploration company, SpaceX.
SpaceX is currently charging $62 million for Falcon 9 launches and Musk has pledged to resume moon landings and send a manned mission to Mars.
The Labor Department’s May jobs report showed that employers added 390,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6% for the third consecutive month.
The Tesla CEO previously noted that inflation, which is currently at its highest level in 40 years. Last month, he joined Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — who is also one of the world’s richest people — in claiming that pandemic relief packages are to blame.
As Common Dreams reported in April, companies have shifted inflationary costs to consumers and eliminated small wage increases granted to workers during the pandemic by raising prices.
As economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich pointed out in an op-ed published by Joint Dreams earlier this week, the real problem with the economy right now is neither inflation nor worker wage increases.
“The real problem is the increase in corporate power and the declining power of workers over the past 40 years,” Reich said. “Unless we address this growing imbalance, companies will continue to drain the economy’s gains into the pockets of CEOs and shareholders – while Americans fret every day.”
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