Relatable: Elon Musk Is Mad About His Paycheck

A Delaware judge struck down Elon Musk’s $55.8 billion pay package at Tesla after finding the CEO had “extensive ties” with the board members who approved his pay deal, according to the Wall Street Journal Tuesday. Musk had a temper tantrum after the decision, suggesting he may move Tesla’s incorporation from Delaware to Texas. The billionaire joins the 89% of Americans who are dissatisfied with their compensation. His qualm is, unintentionally, the most relatable thing he’s done in years.

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“Never incorporate your company in the state of Delaware,” said Musk in a tweet on Tuesday. “Should Tesla change its state of incorporation to Texas, home of its physical headquarters?” asked Musk in a poll on X, to which roughly 87% of respondents answered yes. On Thursday, Musk tweeted that “Tesla will move immediately” to transfer its state of incorporation through a shareholder vote.

More than 60% of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware, including Tesla, because of the state’s significant tax and legal benefits. Most corporations can escape state income taxes by incorporating in Delaware, and the state has a more efficient legal process to resolve corporate disputes quickly. Texas, where Tesla is physically located, is less popular for incorporation but has many similar tax benefits.

Musk’s actions this week prove that even billionaires can participate in the fight for fair compensation. Most people feel they aren’t paid enough, with 60% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck. Elon Musk is just like us. Every week, he’s gotta figure out how he’s gonna pay for his next rocket, overpay for his next social media site, or fund the next era of artificial intelligence. Musk is upset his job doesn’t pay him more, making him just a multi-billionaire and no longer the richest man in the world.

The reason Musk’s pay package was up for dispute in the first place is because a Tesla shareholder, Richard Tornetta, challenged the terms of his pay in 2018, and the case found its way to court in 2022. The trial was heated and emotional, with Musk’s lawyer breaking down crying at one point. Tornetta, a heavy metal drummer, held just nine shares of Tesla in 2018 when he originally filed his complaint.

Musk does not take a paycheck from Tesla, but he owns a significant amount of stock in the company. The CEO said he felt uncomfortable transforming Tesla into a leader in AI and robotics without controlling roughly 25% of the company.

Elon Musk has an estimated net worth of just under $200 billion as of Wednesday, but his concerns over his pay package should be an inspiration that you always get your worth. As Musk fumes about his pay, his employees are fighting for basic rights. A Federal agency accused Tesla of discriminating against Black employees in September. The wife of a SpaceX employee filed a negligence lawsuit against the company after she was severely injured in a rocket test. Musk sent a message from his beacon on Tuesday, always fight for your workplace compensation.

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Maxwell Zeff