Elon Musk on Job Creation: “I’d Be Happy to Talk to Trump”

Donald Trump campaigned on the imperative to bring back jobs for Americans. He should turn to Elon Musk to succeed on his aims.

Elon Musk
Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Elon Musk’s business acumen, ethics, and technological ingenuity have the potential to be invaluable in addressing one of the most politically charged issues in recent years: job creation in the U.S. Indeed, his company Tesla already constitutes a dynamic and growing part of the American economy. For example, Tesla is developing a 5.5-million-square-foot lithium-ion battery factory in Nevada, where it expects to employ approximately 6,500 full-time workers with a variety of skills – all of whom would be paid over $22 per hour. This would, of course, be in addition to all the jobs and innovations involved with Tesla’s other projects and Musk’s other pursuits, including aeronautically oriented SpaceX and solar energy company SolarCity.


Despite Musk’s contributions both to technological innovation and to creating American jobs and infrastructure, he has been the target of many criticisms from conservative groups and politicians. Columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin describes numerous examples in an article for The New York Times. He describes how the CEO of the largest privately own coal company, Robert E. Murray, called Musk a fraud for accepting $2 billion in subsidies from the government for Tesla. Indeed, many have criticized Tesla for having gotten wealth through corrupt political support for his interests in green energy.

At the same time that he is criticized for being a conniving capitalist benefiting from unjust political support, Musk seems to exemplify what a benevolent and productive business leader ought to do. He creates jobs, pays workers well, promotes green energy, and creates innovations in space exploration. Sorkin captures the utter dissimilarity between Musk and classic caricatures of corrupt business leaders by asking:

What other chief executive do you know who takes only $1 a year in salary and has never sold a share of Tesla except to pay taxes? Yes, he pays taxes — to the tune of some $600 million in just the past year.

Few citizens contribute more to the American economy than Elon Musk. Given President Trump’s repeated calls for creating more American jobs throughout his campaign trail, then, it may well be prudent for him to look to Musk both as a symbol and as a source of information on how to create promising and competitive American jobs while also invigorating the economy. Certainly, Musk is open to it. When Andrew Sorkin wrote to him asking if he would be willing to engage with the President on such issues, Musk replied, “I’d be happy to talk to Trump.” Here’s hoping they get a chance to have this meeting with meaningful result.

What early US presidents looked like, according to AI-generated images

"Deepfakes" and "cheap fakes" are becoming strikingly convincing — even ones generated on freely available apps.

Abraham Lincoln, George Washington

Magdalene Visaggio via Twitter
Technology & Innovation
  • A writer named Magdalene Visaggio recently used FaceApp and Airbrush to generate convincing portraits of early U.S. presidents.
  • "Deepfake" technology has improved drastically in recent years, and some countries are already experiencing how it can weaponized for political purposes.
  • It's currently unknown whether it'll be possible to develop technology that can quickly and accurately determine whether a given video is real or fake.
Keep reading Show less

Catacombs of Paris: The city of darkness finds its new raison d'être

Ancient corridors below the French capital have served as its ossuary, playground, brewery, and perhaps soon, air conditioning.

Excerpt from a 19th century map of the Paris Catacombs, showing the labyrinthine layout underground (in color) beneath the straight-lined structures on the surface (in grey).

Credit: Inspection Générale des Carrières, 1857 / Public domain
Strange Maps
  • People have been digging up limestone and gypsum from below Paris since Roman times.
  • They left behind a vast network of corridors and galleries, since reused for many purposes — most famously, the Catacombs.
  • Soon, the ancient labyrinth may find a new lease of life, providing a sustainable form of air conditioning.
Keep reading Show less

Baby's first poop predicts risk of allergies

Meconium contains a wealth of information.

Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that the contents of an infants' first stool, known as meconium, can predict if they'll develop allergies with a high degree of accuracy.
  • A metabolically diverse meconium, which indicates the initial food source for the gut microbiota, is associated with fewer allergies.
  • The research hints at possible early interventions to prevent or treat allergies just after birth.
Keep reading Show less
Mind & Brain

Big think: Will AI ever achieve true understanding?

If you ask your maps app to find "restaurants that aren't McDonald's," you won't like the result.

Quantcast