Dec 14, 2021 - Economy

Musk and Warren trade barbs over taxes

Combination images of Elon Musk and Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Combination images of Elon Musk and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Photos: Patrick Pleul/Pool/Getty Images (left); Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Elon Musk called Sen. Elizabeth Warren "Senator Karen" on Tuesday after the Massachusetts Democrat took aim at Time Magazine naming the billionaire Tesla CEO as its 2021 Person of the Year.

Driving the news: Warren tweeted after Musk was announced by Time on Monday, "Let's change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else." Musk retorted in a tweet to Warren saying, "Stop projecting!"

  • "You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason," Musk continued.
  • "Please don't call the manager on me, Senator Karen," Musk added in another Twitter jibe, using the slang term for a white woman perceived as entitled.
  • "And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year," Musk added in another tweet.

Between the lines: It's unclear how much tax Musk has paid since such matters are generally private, but he's offloaded billions of dollars of his Tesla stock in recent weeks.

  • The sales are part of a plan to exercise some of his vested stock options that will expire next year, and to sell some holdings to cover tax obligations, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva notes.

The big picture: Musk surpassed Amazon chief Jeff Bezos as the world's richest man earlier this year.

Go deeper: Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more comment from Musk and further context.

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