Elon Musk is no longer the world’s 2nd-richest person after Tesla shares lost a quarter of their value since January

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Elon Musk on Monday lost his position in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index as the world’s second-richest person after Tesla’s shares fell another 2.2%.

He was unseated by LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault, the luxury-goods tycoon. The billionaires are separated by a few million dollars on the list of the world’s wealthiest people.

Arnault has amassed a fortune of $161.2 billion, while Musk’s fortune fell to $160.6 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Musk’s drop in wealth was a direct consequence of Tesla’s stock falling 24% from its January high. The electric-vehicle maker’s shares spiked to an intraday high of $900 in late January but have slumped to about $580.

The company’s market capitalization has dropped below $560 billion from a peak of almost $870 billion. Wedbush said public-relations issues in China had hurt Tesla’s monthly sales.

Read more: UBS says to buy these 42 ‘new momentum’ stocks that are poised to outperform in a rising inflation environment

Musk nabbed the top spot on the list in January after Tesla shares skyrocketed amid a boom in technology stocks.

The Tesla boss was already having an eventful week in markets last week after his bitcoin U-turn triggered a wipeout of about $350 billion from the crypto market; bitcoin stabilized after he clarified that Tesla hadn’t sold any of its crypto holdings. His suggestions on how to improve the technical efficiency of dogecoin spurred small increases in the price of the meme-inspired cryptocurrency.

“Tesla is the poster child of the low or no earnings equity movement that has worked incredibly well, as markets saw ever-increasing central bank liquidity through 2020,” said Chris Weston, the head of research at the brokerage Pepperstone, adding that when Tesla moves it can become a momentum-and-trend juggernaut.

“That time is over, at least for now it seems, and in a world where market participants are debating the timing around a reduction in the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program, and other central banks are already tapering theirs, the market has moved from high growth stocks to value.”

Tesla’s shares closed at $576.83 on Monday but were trading 0.2% higher, at $578.29, in Tuesday premarket trading.

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Elon Musk had an unexpectedly tame SNL performance, and NBC gave the billionaire CEO free PR despite his anti-union stance and ultra-wealth

Elon Musk
NBC and Saturday Night Live did not reference controversies surrounding Musk’s stances on labor and stimulus checks during his May 8 TV appearance.

  • Elon Musk’s appearance on SNL was tame and uncontroversial, despite his inflammatory tweets.
  • SNL did not address address Musk’s anti-union stance or his wealth increase during the pandemic.
  • Given the lack of context surrounding Musk’s appearance, NBC aired an uncritical portrayal of the billionaire CEO during his sketch comedy show appearance.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

During Elon Musk’s opening monologue as Saturday Night Live host on May 9, he said “I’m making history tonight.”

Musk made history in several ways during the show. He is the only person worth $184 billion – making him the second-most richest man in the world – to host. He is also only the second billionaire CEO to host after Donald Trump, and did so without a background in entertainment.

But Musk did not mention his wealth or companies, including Tesla and SpaceX. He said during his monologue that he was making history as the first person open about having Asperger’s, an autism spectrum disorder where people have “difficulty responding to the body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice of others,” per Medical News Today. Some pointed out the statement was not accurate, as former cast member Dan Aykroyd has Asperger’s and hosted the show in 2003.

Though Musk is known to make inflammatory statements, his appearance on live TV was tame and uncontroversial. NBC gave the world’s second richest man a platform to show a human, sympathetic side with little critique of his massive wealth and power.

Prior to the show, some SNL cast members criticized the decision to invite Musk due to his ultra-wealth, prompting NBC to reportedly allow comedians to choose not to participate with Musk as host. Cast members Michael Che and Colin Jost brought up some criticism surrounding Musk, joking that the CEO hosted the show to distract from failed SpaceX rocket launches.

“Why are all these rich white people trying to go to space?” Che said.

Yet later in the episode even Che and Jost appeared friendly with Musk after asking him numerous times “What is Dogecoin,” the cryptocurrency that started as a joke in 2013.

Popular comedy shows, like Saturday Night Live, can be a powerful platform for social and political critique and criticism, and that can include poking fun at powerful figures, even guest hosts. But Musk’s SNL episode failed to address his extreme wealth or the power and influence he wields.

SNL had no mention of Musk’s public statements against unions, his decision to defy local COVID-19 restrictions to open his Tesla factory (which led to hundreds of cases spreading among workers), and the fact the National Labor Relations Board found Tesla guilty of violating US labor law.

SNL did not mention how Musk’s wealth tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic alongside other billionaires, as millions of people simultaneously suffered from job losses and slashed incomes.

SNL did not mention Musk statement on Twitter in July 2020 that “Another government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people.”

There was also no mention of Musk’s power to move markets with one tweet.

With the lack of context surrounding Musk’s appearance, NBC aired an uncritical portrayal of the billionaire CEO during his sketch comedy show appearance.

When fellow billionaire Trump hosted SNL at the height of “The Apprentice’s” popularity, he proclaimed it was a “bigger deal” for NBC than him. Yet reports from The Washington Post, Harvard University, and The New York Times said the media’s portrayal of Trump’s presidential bid – which was often obsessive and sometimes uncritical – and focus on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s controversies ended up helping him win the Republican nomination and presidency.

Time will tell how Musk’s portrayal on SNL will influence his future.

NBC was not immediately available for additional comment.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to grill the billionaire who said the rich would hide their assets from a wealth tax

elizabeth warren
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has invited billionaire and wealth tax critic Leon Cooperman to testify at a hearing.
  • Cooperman has been an outspoken critic of Warren and her wealth tax proposals.
  • The hearing, which is for the Senate Finance subcommittee Warren chairs, will examine taxes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has extended an invitation to one of her most vocal critics to debate her marquee policy, the wealth tax, on Capitol Hill.

On Monday, Warren invited billionaire Leon Cooperman to testify at a hearing for the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth, which Warren chairs, first reported by CNBC. The hearing’s topic: “Creating Opportunity Through a Fairer Tax System.”

It’s the latest in an ongoing debate between the two. In a March CNBC segment, Cooperman criticized Warren’s Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, which would levy additional taxes on households with net worths $50 million and over. He has also criticized Warren’s wealth tax advocacy, and wrote her a five-page letter in 2019 in response to a tweet she sent asking him to “pitch in a bit more.” Warren even incorporated Cooperman into one of her presidential campaign videos about the need for a wealth tax.

Cooperman’s perspective: The rich would hide their assets from a wealth tax

In March, Cooperman told CNBC: “If the wealth tax passes, go out and buy yourself some gold because people are going to rush to find ways of hiding their wealth.” This remark was in reference to his previous assertion that people would utilize gold as an asset for hiding their wealth.

He said that a wealth tax is “foolish,” has “no merit,” and that there are other, better ways to raise revenue, with eliminating waste as the best option.

“I don’t think it’s intelligent. I don’t think it’s legal,” he told CNBC of the wealth tax at the time.

leon cooperman crying about taxes on cnbc

Implementation issues – and whether the wealthy would simply dodge a wealth tax – have emerged as the two most prominent criticisms of Warren’s plan. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has previously cited the difficulty of implementing such a tax, although the Biden administration hasn’t explicitly ruled it out. A recent study from IRS researchers and economists found that the top 1% of Americans fail to report about 21% of their income. Over $1 trillion a year in taxes may be going uncollected, according to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

Warren’s perspective: A wealth tax could help address inequality, and raise trillions

Warren campaigned on a wealth tax in the 2020 presidential campaign, and has continued to advocate for it as one measure to help address growing inequality during the pandemic. Her Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act could raise at least $3 trillion in the next 10 years, according to an analysis from economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

If the wealth tax had been implemented in 2020, it would have raised $114 billion from billionaires, according to an analysis from Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). Over the last 13 months alone, American billionaires have added $1.62 trillion to their collective net worths, according to a report from ATF/IPS.

A wealth tax is also a popular measure among Americans: A recent poll from Hill-HarrisX found that over half of Americans see a wealth tax as a way to address inequality. Wealth taxes have also gained traction internationally, with the International Monetary Fund saying one-off measures could help support economic recovery.

Now, the two may discuss their views at a Congressional hearing

Warren invited Cooperman to testify on this legislation at the April 27 hearing; and she asked him to RSVP by April 22.

“This hearing is an opportunity to share your views on how to strengthen the nation’s tax system to address economic inequality, raise revenues to fund critical pro-growth investments in families and communities, and bolster our long-term fiscal and economic outlooks,” she wrote in her invitation, which was viewed by Insider.

In a statement to CNBC, Cooperman said that he was “trying to determine whether she’s being objective or whether she’s just trying to promote her own agenda.” He added: “I’m a bit suspicious given how she never responded to the letter I sent her before.” Cooperman did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

In her invitation, Warren said that, “as we move expeditiously toward consideration of changes to our rigged tax code so that the wealthy pay their fair share, I believe you should be afforded the chance to present your perspective directly to Congress.”

She added: “The opportunity will allow you to fully air your views, not merely in front of the financial news audience where you often express them, but before the entirety of the American people.”

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American billionaires added $1.62 trillion to their wealth over the last 13 months

Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • From March 2020 to April 2021, America’s billionaires added $1.62 trillion to their wealth.
  • A new report from IPS/ATF tracks how much billionaires have gained during the pandemic.
  • These gains could signal that inequality keeps increasing during the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Over the last 13 months, American billionaires added $1.62 trillion to their wealth – a 55% increase.

This was a finding in the latest report from the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF). Both groups have tracked billionaire gains throughout the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen a K-shaped economic recovery for Americans: High-income workers have seen their jobs and pay grow, while low-wage workers have experienced the opposite.

“Billionaires’ huge pandemic-era wealth growth comes on top of a 19-fold increase in billionaire wealth over 31 years-from an inflation-adjusted $240 billion in 1990 to $4.56 trillion in 2021,” the report said. The report used data from Forbes to track billionaire gains from March 18, 2020 through April 12, 2021.

The number of billionaires has also grown, going from 66 in 1990 to 719 today.

“The concern is that we sort of further entrench the inequalities that we came into the pandemic with, meaning the number of households that are economically precarious grows,” Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality at IPS, told Insider.

He said the “concentration” or “pooling” of wealth among billionaires has also accelerated.

“That’s the reality: We’re going to come out of the pandemic another degree of more unequal,” he said.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, the bottom 50% of Americans held $2.49 trillion in total household wealth. Meanwhile, the top 1% added about $4 trillion to their wealth during that time – more than the bottom 50% holds in total.

To offset the inequality that’s arisen during the pandemic, Collins recommends a combination of supporting frontline workers, lifting up the wage floor, and taxing the rich over the next six months.

If nothing is done, Collins said, that economic precarity could grow. He predicts that homeownership could decrease, as economic vulnerability – and the lack of savings – rises.

Additional taxes on the wealthy have become a hot-button topic during the pandemic. The International Monetary Fund has said that one-off taxes on the wealthy and corporations could help with coronavirus recovery; however, not everyone agrees, with Nobel Prize-winning inequality economist Angus Deaton saying the wealthy would find a way to dodge a tax. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig also just said that $1 trillion or more in taxes could be going uncollected every year.

President Joe Biden has proposed a hike in the corporate tax to fund his infrastructure package, and has said that Americans earning over $400,000 could see a tax increase. In a speech defending the tax increase, he said that he was “sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced.”

Collins said he thinks Biden has about two years to enact change and start making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

“There’s a possibility of totally turning the course here,” Collins said. “But it is going to require some courage and boldness and spine, but I actually think the broader public is with the president on this.”

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The youngest billionaire in the world right now is a teenager in Germany

drogerie
Kevin David Lehmann inherited 50% of his father’s stake in German drugstore dm-drogerie markt.

  • The youngest billionaire in the world right now has a German drugstore chain to thank for his fortune.
  • That’s according to Forbes‘ annual billionaire ranking, which was released on April 6.
  • The teen, 18-year-old Kevin David Lehmann, is worth $3.3 billion and inherited his wealth from his dad.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It’s good to be Kevin David Lehmann.

Lehmann, 18, is worth $3.3 billion after inheriting stakes in German drugstore chain dm-drogerie markt from his father, Guenther Lehmann. That’s according to Forbes’ 35th annual billionaires list, which was released on April 6.

Dm-drogerie markt, the source of Lehmann’s wealth, is the leading drugstore chain in Germany. It was founded in 1974. According to the company website, it employs over 41,000 people across more than 2,000 stores throughout Germany.

According for Forbes, neither Lehmann nor his father is actively involved in the company, and little is known about them. Insider has reached out to Dm-drogerie markt for comment. Lehmann could not immediately be reached for comment for this story.

The No. 2 spot among the world’s youngest billionaires in 2021 is held by 24-year-old Wang Zelong of China, who is worth $1.5 billion. The No. 3 and 4 spots are held by Norwegian sisters Alexandra and Katharina Andresen, who are 24 and 25 years old respectively and each worth $1.4 billion. They both own part of their family company, Ferd, a multibillion-dollar investment firm.

The low profile of the current youngest billionaire in the world – who has no discernible presence on any major social platform – stands in stark contrast to the previous titleholder. In the 2020 edition of Forbes’ billionaire ranking, the title was held by reality TV star and fashion mogul Kylie Jenner. While 23-year-old Jenner has fallen off Forbes’ 2021 billionaire ranking altogether, she was – controversially – named the world’s youngest self-made billionaire in 2019 at the age of 21.

Forbes’ list pulls together information on the world’s wealthiest people using stock prices and exchange rates as of March 5 and only considers those individuals whose net worths are higher than $1 billion. According to the list, there are now 2,755 billionaires in the world, more than there have ever been before.

Even after the pandemic year of 2020, the world’s billionaires are also richer than they’ve ever been, though estimates of their collective gains vary. Per Forbes, the collective fortunes of the world’s billionaires increased by $8 trillion to a whopping $13.1 trillion. Meanwhile, a report from the Institute for Policy Studies found that the world’s billionaires added $4 trillion – substantially less than Forbes’ estimate – to their wealth from March 18, 2020, to March 18, 2021.

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AmericanĀ billionairesĀ could fund two-thirds of Biden’s COVID-19 relief package just using profits generated during the pandemic, a report shows

Jeff Bezos Bill Gates Elon Musk
Bill Gates and Elon Musk.

  • The total wealth of US billionaires rose $1.3 trillion amid the pandemic, the ATF and IPS said.
  • This could fund two-thirds of Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan.
  • The momentum for measures that address wealth inequality has grown during the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

American billionaires have earned so much money during the pandemic that they could fund two-thirds of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package using profits generated in the last year, a report shows.

The combined fortune of American billionaires rose around $1.3 trillion, or 44%, from March 2020 to March 2021, Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) said.

This increase is equivalent to two-thirds of the $1.9 trillion cost of Biden’s pandemic rescue plan, which he signed into law Thursday.

The total jump in wealth for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the pandemic would fund almost all of the relief plan’s supplemental $300 weekly unemployment benefits for the next six months, the groups said.

The groups based their analysis on Forbes data.

As of Wednesday, the US’ 657 billionaires were worth a combined $4.2 trillion, the ATF and IPS said. Under current tax laws, none of this would be taxed during their lifetimes, unless the underlying assets are sold at a gain, they said.

Momentum for measures that address wealth inequality, such as through a wealth tax, has grown during the pandemic as the world’s billionaires have grown richer while other people sunk into unemployment.

Argentina became the first country to respond to the pandemic with a one-off “millionaire tax.” Fewer than one in 100 earners will pay the tax, which the government hopes will raise $3.78 billion to help pay for its pandemic response.

Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts proposed an Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act for the US. This would apply an annual 2% tax on individual net worth between $50 million and $1 billion, or 3% on net worth above $1 billion.

The ATF and IPS said if the tax had been in place in 2020, US billionaires would have paid a combined $114 billion.

The number of billionaires in the US increased 7% during the pandemic, the groups said. Musk alone increased his wealth by $141.6 billion, or nearly seven-fold, over the last 12 months.

During this time period, Americans have made more than 80 million filings for unemployment benefits.

Biden is addressing some of the economic fallout of the pandemic through his relief plan, which includes $1,400 stimulus payments for most taxpayers and an expansion of the child tax credit.

Not a single Republican in either chamber of Congress voted for the package, saying it was unnecessary and too expensive.

“The relief package will ease some of the suffering, but it is temporary,” Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality at IPS, said. “We also need to permanently address the underlying economic conditions that the pandemic exposed.”

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