Others have already answered this more succinctly ("politics"), but sure, I'll bite.
I get a little tired of the Musk worship.
Why does his company need a huge pile of tax breaks to succeed? If I open a company tomorrow, how can I get away with not paying taxes?
Rich people can affect public policy to help them make more money. But in this case, think of it less as giving tax breaks, and more of giving tax incentives for finally succeeding at doing something we've been trying to do for a long time anyway. I'm sure Musk made plenty of threats to build this factory somewhere in Asia if he didn't get favorable treatment here in the US. At least, he would have been a dumbass not to.
Why are Tesla's debt bonds in Junk status but he continues to get freebies from states?
S&P 's reasoning was that Tesla had all of their investment in one kind of product: electric cars and batteries. Not enough diversity to avoid risk. So if China preemptively opened their own Gigafactory and undercut Tesla's battery prices, all of Tesla's assets would be kind of worthless and they'd go kaput. It already happened with Solyndra, it could well happen again. Hell, we might as well give up and let China build batteries and electric cars for the world now.
Why are Tesla's cars so rudely expensive? Is there a plan for a 4 door sedan that a real family can afford in the 20K - 30K range like the Prius?
OK, I'm not a Musk worshipper, but I've followed enough tech news that the "Model E".. oops, sorry Ford, "Model 3" will be priced at 35K after they finish fleecing the early adopters for funding all of the preliminary engineering R&D costs with the Model S and the Model X. And they would have come out with the Model 3 sooner, but one of the blockers is... the lack of a Gigafactory. Tesla already consumes the majority the world's supply of Li-ion batteries serving the Model S production as it is.
Why is it that a guy with a big mouth and political friends on all sides gets so much tax subsidy, loans, breaks and deals?
I dunno, ask your friends at Exxon and Monsanto? I would think Musk seems to be some kind of small fry in comparison. Oh, now you've got me looking up his bio... http://www.biography.com/peopl...
Why are guys who run factories employing tons of US citizens in US based factories (like Toyota) who produce super reliable product with great mileage get slapped by the media when a bogus story about a gas pedal getting stuck?
Heh, do you also remember the story about the faulty seatbelts back in the 90s, and Toyota blamed messy American fast food culture for spilling food in the clasp mechanisms and jamming up the works? Silly media. Anyway, I bet those companies also get some nice tax breaks. Maybe some of those tax breaks are expiring, because Ford/Mazda has been moving some of their assembly plants from Michigan to Mexico. BTW, if you're interested in that kind of news, http://www.thetruthaboutcars.c... tends to have pretty good coverage and typically includes a healthy helping of humor, wit, and sarcasm.
Not sure why people need a super-hero.
Er, are you suggesting that Musk should have gotten into boring venture capital financial firms after making his fortune? It seems to take a special kind of nerd to throw your finances at the relatively high-risk and low-margin pursuits of electric cars and space launch vehicles. Most other nerds I know do that kind of thing as a hobby.
3.8 million priuses have been sold and cab drivers will tell you they easily go into the 300K range and even if the battery runs out the car is still useable.
I like the Prius (at least the Gen2 Prius)... it's a very different experience than driving most cars, and they've done the best job of "gamifying" the process of hypermiling, and the planetary transmission is genius! Still, there are plenty of hobbyists modifying their Prius to try to get more out of it... making it work more effectively like a plug-in hybrid, or increasing performance some how. If the Prius is Good Enough for you, that's great! But many people see hybrids as an interim solution... 600 miles on a 10-gallon gas tank was a great advance, 2x more than typical ICE compact cars.
But instead we continue to give money to the cartoon guy.
Yes, Musk has done a better job wrangling together publicity.. But, uh, feel free to buy a Nissan Volt, or Chevy Spark, or whatever