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Old 06-01-2015, 02:02 PM   #21
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Well, GE payszero, or at least very very little taxes every year, so.. why wouldn't any large multi-billion-dollar corporation follow suit?
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Old 06-01-2015, 03:22 PM   #22
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Well, GE payszero, or at least very very little taxes every year, so.. why wouldn't any large multi-billion-dollar corporation follow suit?
GE actually does pay taxes. According to the statement of cash flows in their audited financial statements, GE paid $2,955, $2,487 and $3,237 million in income taxes in 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively. But alas, little of those taxes paid were U.S. federal income taxes, principally because most of their profits are outside the US and not repatriated so are not subject to U.S. corporate income tax under the tax code.

Their provisions for current federal income taxes were only $51, $85 and $685 million for 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively, and relatively paltry sums given GE's size.

It's all laid out in their annual report, but I guess that U.S. Senators and the press didn't look it up because it didn't jive with their message for that news cycle.
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Old 06-01-2015, 03:32 PM   #23
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I believe Elon Musk is the real deal. Getting either SpaceX *OR* Tesla underway would be an incredible achievement. Doing both simultaneously is staggering.

On the other hand, I wouldn't want to work for either Musk or Steve Jobs. Success at this level rarely comes with a work/life balance.
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good ROI for gov't
Old 06-01-2015, 03:49 PM   #24
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good ROI for gov't

Given that the cost of launch services for the government haws been cut, at least in half, the ROI for the gov't is pretty good.
I don't really have a problem with a company doing what it was paid to do, just because the payer was the government. The NASA Commercial Resupply Missions are worth the money (not going to Russia). If SpaceX and Orbital (fingers crossed for Antares recovery), get better at what they do because of gov't contracts, then so be it.
Elon Musk wants to drive down the cost of launch, ultimately to get to Mars. He needs a business plan to fund that mission and develop the required technology. He's providing launch services to the government and commercial operators at a better price and arguably better performance (ignoring to-date reliability, since ULA has 75+ straight missions and Ariane is pretty reliable too).
Better ROI than most other gov't spending, IMHO.
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Old 06-01-2015, 04:13 PM   #25
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Well, GE payszero, or at least very very little taxes every year, so.. why wouldn't any large multi-billion-dollar corporation follow suit?
GE isn't alone:

Thirty companies paid no U.S. income tax 2008-2010: report | Reuters
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Old 06-01-2015, 08:49 PM   #26
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GE actually does pay taxes. According to the statement of cash flows in their audited financial statements, GE paid $2,955, $2,487 and $3,237 million in income taxes in 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively. But alas, little of those taxes paid were U.S. federal income taxes, principally because most of their profits are outside the US and not repatriated so are not subject to U.S. corporate income tax under the tax code.

Their provisions for current federal income taxes were only $51, $85 and $685 million for 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively, and relatively paltry sums given GE's size.

It's all laid out in their annual report, but I guess that U.S. Senators and the press didn't look it up because it didn't jive with their message for that news cycle.
Just because they have a provision for taxes does not mean they paid anything.... the provision is a GAAP entry.... their tax return is based on the tax code.... there can be real big differences in the two....
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:36 AM   #27
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Just because they have a provision for taxes does not mean they paid anything.... the provision is a GAAP entry.... their tax return is based on the tax code.... there can be real big differences in the two....
Reminds of what my mother sometimes says (she used to own a small pharmacy):
  • One set of books for you
  • One set of books for the accountant
  • One set of books for mr. taxman
And we all live happy every after
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:44 AM   #28
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Just because they have a provision for taxes does not mean they paid anything.... the provision is a GAAP entry.... their tax return is based on the tax code.... there can be real big differences in the two....
No kidding Sherlock.

The numbers I referred to were for current income taxes, which is what would have been shown on their return and paid either during the year in the form of estimated payments or when the return or extensions are filed so it would represent what was paid. The numbers that I quoted did not include the change deferred income taxes for those years.

That is why I was specific and said "provisions for current income taxes" rather than "provisions for income taxes", because I know it makes a difference. I guess you read over that word "current".
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:18 PM   #29
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I recently read a review in the WSJ about a biography about Elon Musk. I was struck my this conclusion relevant to the OP:

Quote:
Controversially, Mr. Musk has received hundreds of millions of dollars in government loans and contracts to build his businesses. But to those who make the reasonable case that the government should not be trying to pick industrial winners, one can only say that it has frequently spent a lot more for a lot less in return. He is hardly alone in corporate America in working tax credits and subsidies to his advantage. If America does not consider Mr. Musk a bargain, Mr. Vance’s book makes clear, any other country in the world would take him at many times the price.
Also see In Praise of Moonshots - WSJ
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:40 PM   #30
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At the end of this is "See (hear) the complete interview here:"

Title: Elon Musk Responds To “False” LA Times Article On Tesla Funded By Govt Subsidies (w/video)
Elon Musk Responds To "False" LA Times Article That Suggest Tesla Is Funded By Government Subsidies (w/video)


Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Overview
http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/
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Old 06-05-2015, 05:48 PM   #31
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Mr. Musk is shaking up the military industrial complex gravy train. I suspect we will be seeing many more hit pieces on the man in the future, all with some element of the truth and none probably the whole truth.
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Old 06-05-2015, 06:58 PM   #32
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Meh--companies protest contract awards all the time.
I hope SpaceX becomes competitive, it would be great to drive down launch costs. But his Falcon 9 booster is not a well-proven launch system yet, the one offered by ULA is--it's extremely reliable. The payloads on these boosters are often worth much more than the rocket, and sometimes the function served by these national security payloads is kinda important. Let Musk first prove his rockets in the private commercial market, where his bid will have to include the cost of insuring the payload.
If the USAF is forced to award SpaceX contracts based solely on price, without due consideration for the track record of reliability of all competitors, it will amount to yet another taxpayer handout to Mr Musk.
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Old 06-06-2015, 06:53 PM   #33
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If the Atlas runs out of Russian engines for one reason or another, dealing with SpaceX may be more of a handshake than a handout. Talk about national security...
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Old 06-07-2015, 02:03 PM   #34
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I posted earlier in this thread that I absolutely consider Musk an innovator. And I also view this 'welfare' claim against Musk as unfair and twisted. As others have said, he is apparently playing by the rules, and that's smart. If you don't like the rules, talk to your Congress-person (but please don't argue it here or the thread will get locked!), and I don't blame Musk for using them.

But here is where I have a problem - those rules were intended to promote the environment, and Tesla is misleading (to put it mildly) the public about the 'green-ness' of EVs in order to keep this game going. Take a look and judge for yourself:

This Tesla blog: The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me) | Tesla Motors

references this Tesla 'White Paper”: http://web.stanford.edu/group/greend...slaReading.pdf

The pertinent section is where Tesla claims the Roadster “Well-to-Wheel” efficiency is 1.78x better than a hybrid (1.14/.64) and 2.24x a standard gasoline car (1.14/.51):

see thumbnail below


These numbers were critiqued (often unfairly, IMO) on other sites, and here is one Tesla owner/blogger's response to the critics - Charging a Tesla Model S Might Be Costing More Than You Think - TESLARATI.com

and I agree, the critics went too far the other way, but even the Tesla owner/blogger (and fan) had to agree that Tesla's numbers are just bogus by a wide margin. So let's review the numbers/facts (excuse me for going back-forth on km/miles, but that's how they are reported):

Start with 'Vehicle Mileage” - the Tesla Roadster's 53kWh pack, and 393 km range (EPA) gives 134.86 Wh/km. Tesla exaggerated the 'mileage' by 1.226x already.

Tesla apparently uses an 86.33% number for charge efficiency/losses to come up with 2.18 km/MJ 'Vehicle Efficiency” (110 Wh/km converts to 2.525 km/MJ; multiply by .8633 to get 2.18) . To get a better handle on these numbers, let's use more current Model S Wh/km and loss numbers (the concept is the same, but more/current data is available). The Tesla owner/blogger and others also report ~ 86% charge/standby-loss efficiency on 240V chargers. And this is generous if any significant charge time is done at 110V (according to Tesla, charge efficiency drops to < 73% on 110V, and this does not appear to include the non-charge time standby losses). So take Model S EPA 85kWh/426km = 199.53 Wh/km divide by a generous 86.33% charge/loss factor (assuming no 110V charging) = 231.13 Wh/km. That converts to 1.202 km/MJ, now multiply by Tesla's “Well-to-Station” efficiency of 52.5%, and you get 0.631 km/MJ.

Like miles/gallon, bigger numbers are better. Wait a minute... that makes the Model S worse than a hybrid (@ 0.64), and only ~ 24% more efficient than even a standard gas engine (@ 0.510). Where did the 'green' go?

But that's not all. In the 'Well-to-station' column, they use Natural Gas to generate the electricity at 52.5% efficiency. Again, some funny assumptions here - the fine print says that is based on “The H-System Combined Cycle Generator from General Electric“ which is among the most efficient type of NG turbine available, and it looks like they are using peak efficiency numbers.

This source: SAS Output

indicates that NG CC units are running an average of ~ 44.5%, and coal plants run ~ 33.82% (Coal supplies more power on average than NG). What % of NG plants are these high efficiency units? And who says that all the power used to charge EVs comes from NG anyhow? But even giving Tesla the benefit of the doubt on ALL this - take the EIA average number for NG CC units of 44.5% (ignore lower efficiency NG units, ignore lower efficiency coal), and add in the other losses that Tesla does account for (Natural gas recovery @ 97.5%, NG processing @ 97.5%, grid transmission efficiency @ 92% - 97.5% x 97.5% x 92% = 87.46%.), you get 44.5% X 87.46% = 38.92%. And that puts a Tesla Model S at worse efficiency (0.468 km/MJ) than standard gasoline cars! And that is with lots of assumptions in Tesla's favor!

Sure, when we have an excess of 'clean' energy to feed the added EV demand (when will that be?), things would look better. As I mentioned on another thread, EVs are added demand on the grid, so we really need to be looking at where the additional marginal energy production comes from (the renewable energy has already been allocated, I don't see where we have any significant 'excess' available to charge EVs). But Tesla's analysis was done to compare today's EV to today's cars (which will also improve in the future). And the actual numbers show that EVs are not green today (and may not be for a very, very long time), and Musk is playing on the general public believing that they are, and feeding that with a chart and talk along those lines. I have a big problem with that. You can have your own opinion, but not your own facts.

I welcome any relevant/documented added info and/or corrections, maybe I made an error or misread something and I'd like to be accurate.

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Old 06-08-2015, 01:58 PM   #35
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Thanks for that analysis ERD50. I had a hunch that there might be some fudging going on with the numbers. Using the best NG generators does not reflect reality for sure. Even using hydroelectric power does not factor in the high initial costs of dam construction on the environment.

I do like Musk and the Tesla and I hope he is successful. He has certainly created a good buzz.
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:48 PM   #36
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Thanks for that analysis ERD50. I had a hunch that there might be some fudging going on with the numbers. Using the best NG generators does not reflect reality for sure. Even using hydroelectric power does not factor in the high initial costs of dam construction on the environment.

I do like Musk and the Tesla and I hope he is successful. He has certainly created a good buzz.
I do find it kind of scary that people like Musk are able to distort reality for the general public, who either aren't going to analyze the numbers, and/or are so enamored with the perception of EVs being 'green', that they don't want facts to mess with their view. The scary part is, this translates to the general public supporting these technologies through their governments, and then we end up with money chasing the wrong things.

I am impressed with Musk and the Tesla (just not from the environmental side of things), though I might stop short of hoping the Tesla is (more long term) successful. If it is a poor environmental choice, why would I want to see it 'succeed'?

On a more positive note: One of the co-founders of Tesla has been in the news lately (Ian Wright of WrightSpeed). He is developing a series-hybrid micro-turbine drive train for garbage/delivery trucks, and the recent news is they have developed a turbine in-house that is claimed to be more efficient than the Capstone units they had been using.

They claim this cuts fuel consumption in half - which is a total savings, not merely pushing the fuel burning somewhere else. I go into more detail in this thread:

Enviro-Green Tech: The Good? (not the Bad and the Ugly)

-ERD50
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