Senator Elizabeth Warren took to Twitter on Monday to condemn tech billionaire Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform, saying the agreement is “dangerous for our democracy” as she called for a wealth tax and tougher regulations on Big Tech.
Warren’s comments, the latest salvo in an ongoing feud between the Cambridge Democrat and the Tesla and SpaceX chief executive, came hours after it was announced Monday that Musk had reached a deal to buy Twitter.
“Billionaires like Elon Musk play by a different set of rules than everyone else, accumulating power for their own gain,” Warren wrote in the tweet, posted at 5:22 p.m. Monday.
This deal is dangerous for our democracy. Billionaires like Elon Musk play by a different set of rules than everyone else, accumulating power for their own gain. We need a wealth tax and strong rules to hold Big Tech accountable.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 25, 2022
Earlier in the day, Representative Katherine Clark called out Musk’s tax practices in a tweet posted shortly after news of the potential deal first broke.
“If they can afford to buy Twitter, they can afford to pay their fair share in taxes,” the Melrose Democrat wrote shortly after 9 a.m.
Musk, an outspoken and prolific Twitter user with more than 84 million followers, has been critical of the platform for its handling of free speech issues and censorship. He didn’t appear to acknowledge Clark or Warren’s tweets Monday, but he posted a tweet earlier in the day saying he hopes people who disagree with him will continue using the platform.
“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” Musk wrote.
I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
Musk has also used the platform to promote his opinions on social and economic issues and is known to disparage Twitter users who disagree with him.
Musk and Warren have been engaged in an ongoing feud, on Twitter and off, as the progressive senator has pushed for tougher tax regulations on the nation’s highest earners.
In December, Warren called out Musk on Twitter for avoiding federal income taxes, shortly after he had been named Time’s “Person of the Year.” Warren cited a Pro Publica report from last June that showed Musk, the world’s wealthiest person, paid no federal income tax in 2018 and paid only $65,000 in 2017 and $68,000 in 2015.
“Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else,” Warren posted on Twitter Dec. 13.
Musk responded the next day with a tweet that said, “Stop projecting!” and linked to a Fox News article about Warren’s past claims of Native American ancestry. Musk followed that up with a second tweet saying Warren reminded him “of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.” In a third tweet, Musk wrote “Please don’t call the manager on me, Senator Karen.”
Warren went after Musk again that night in a fundraising e-mail, calling him a “poster child for how our rigged tax code lets billionaires pay hardly any taxes at all” and pushing her plan for a wealth tax on people with fortunes exceeding $50 million.
A few weeks later, Musk said on Twitter that he had paid “the most taxes ever in history for an individual” — reportedly more than $11 billion for 2021.
Will visit IRS next time I’m in DC just to say hi, since I paid the most taxes ever in history for an individual last year. Maybe I can have a cookie or something …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 20, 2022