Net Worth Linked to Bailouts?

There is talk in the media about Covid bailouts and the rules. Not paying tax is a good reason to exclude, along with climate targets.

There is a lot of “their CEO is worth $50 billion, he should pay” comments too.

This is flawed.

Firstly, moral point, should we impose different laws on people with different amounts of money?

Secondly, net worth is not money. The way it is reported in the media is designed to mislead, outrage is a talking point, logic is dull.

Take Elon Musk (Tesla), net worth of $30 billion. If Tesla needed a bailout, would he pay his staff? No. A recent court case showed he had less than $75k. The rest of the worth is in stocks and assets. He isn’t poor, he can sell things but owns little now. The only way to raise those funds is to sell his company. Either losing it or ending up losing the staff in redundancies as the company is split into pieces. The same is true of all billionaires. No one got rich with cash and no one has a billion in a bank account.

Are there loopholes? Yes, Jeff Bezos (Amazon) eans $75k a year in cash. Why? Because it is enough cash to have handy but keeps tax low. The rest is in shares in Amazon. If it collapsed, his billions on paper disappear and those staff end up unemployed. That “money” is only valid if someone buys his shares. Would you buy a company that was bankrupt and needed a bailout? No, in addition the share price would plummet if word got out and then the billions on paper vanish.

The claim was made about Richard Branson (Virgin), mainly as it is an airline which people dislike and people don’t like him as a person. Both fair points but to pay the staff without a bailout would mean selling company assets (like planes), thus putting people out of work. At which point the claim would be “billionaire makes staff redundant”. The story is made to annoy and inflame, not reflect actual finances which is a dull area.

Your net worth right is not what is in your bank account.

Selling off a company and making people redundant to raise enough money to keep your company and staff doesn’t make sense. This is why they have asked for support.

Rules on climate and tax is great. Totally support it. Expecting the person who owns and made the company to sell everything, including the company itself, is flawed.

It’s a hard situation but abusing “rich” company owners is not actually very helpful.

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