Twitter Can't Believe How Hard Valerie Bertinelli Roasted Elon Musk

Yesterday evening, Valerie Bertinelli apparently had enough. Elon Musk was making noise over Senator Bernie Sanders' insistence that the extremely wealthy should pay more in taxes.

"Elon, you have enough money to make every single person that works for you a millionaire and yet you just continue to be an a**h***," Bertinelli tweeted. This is a reference to how, according to CBS News, Musk is worth more than $300 billion. While most of that worth is tied to various assets and not a direct currency, those assets are theoretically taxable.

As with anything involving Elon Musk on Twitter, most applauded the take, while some maintained that Musk's wealth had been earned and so should fall outside the purview of the government. "That moment when you realize your childhood idol is still incredibly cool," one wrote. "Making your Chicken Involtini tonight," another said. "You can kick a billionaire's a** and teach the world how to make delicious food at the same time." On the other side, an example of the disagreeing minority snarked, "It's called capitalism and that's what the greatest economies in the world were built on." However, it should be emphasized that one has to actively trawl through comments about how Bertinelli states what everyone else thinks in order to find anything even attempting a dissent. 

As of writing, Elon Musk has not responded.

What's being disputed?

On Twitter, Elon Musk invited all the derisive attention by commenting at Senator Sanders, "I keep forgetting that you're still alive." But the drama of the insults and Musk's recent selling of Tesla stocks distracts from the debate of what the discussed tax means for billionaires like Elon Musk.

As mentioned, most of Musk's wealth is in his assets, specifically the stocks he owns. As Vox explained, stocks that aren't sold aren't taxed. People are incentivized not to sell stocks as their value increases because that would raise the amount of taxes owed. Rather, people like Musk can use the value of those stocks to get cheap loans that work as an effective income. However, the recent discussion about a "billionaire tax" directly addresses this problem. Observer writes that if enacted, the proposal would tax 24% on the value increases of unsold stocks.

This isn't why Musk has been selling his Tesla stocks lately, though. CNBC reported that Musk received these options in 2012 as compensation, with the value being $6.24 per share for 22.8 million. Those shares are now each worth $1,222.09. In August 2022, that option expires unless Musk sells them. Yet, to do this, Musk will also have to pay an employee benefit tax, an income tax, an investment tax, and a California tax. This, CNBC estimates, will cost him $15 billion. 

Of course, neither Valerie Bertinelli nor her fans sympathize.