Australian Economy

US president Joe Biden hits back at Elon Musk for saying he has a ‘super bad feeling’ about the economy

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has said the electric carmaker must cut staff by around 10 per cent because he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy.

The comments were made in an internal email sent to Tesla executives on Thursday, and titled “pause all hiring worldwide”.

Tesla was not immediately available for comment.

Mr Musk earlier this week asked Tesla employees to return to the office or leave the company.

“Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week,” Mr Musk wrote in another email sent to employees on Tuesday night.

“If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”

Atlassian co-founder opens door to Tesla staff

On Friday those comments drew criticism from worker advocates, including Australia’s third-richest man, Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar, who ridiculed Mr Musk’s directive in a series of tweets as being “like something out of the 1950s”.

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Atlassian’s “work from anywhere” policy was “key for our continued growth”, Mr Farquhar said.

“We’re setting our sights on growing Atlassian to 25K employees by FY26,” Mr Farquhar concluded.

“Any Tesla employees interested?”

Mr Musk shot back: “The above set of tweets illustrate why recessions serve a vital economic cleansing function”.

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In Silicon Valley, many tech firms moved to mixed home and office working during the pandemic, while others have set dates for returning to the office only to push them back as new outbreaks have occurred.

President shoots down Musk

US President Joe Biden shot back Friday at Mr Musk’s comments about the US economy, rattling off a number of American companies who are growing.

“While Elon Musk is talking about that, Ford is increasing their investment overwhelmingly and I think Ford is increasing the investment in building new electric vehicles, 6,000 new employees — union employees I might add — in the Midwest,” Mr Biden responded.

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‘Lots of luck on his trip to the moon’: Biden dismisses Elon Musk’s criticism on the economy

“The former Chrysler Corporation, Stellantis, they’re also making similar investments in electric vehicles. Intel’s adding 20,000 new jobs making computer chips,” he added.

“So, you know, lots of luck on his trip to the moon,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Musk, the world’s wealthiest man and also chief executive of SpaceX, also has a record of taking on other billionaires.

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In 2021, Mr Musk posted an image of a second-place medal in response to a tweet by Jeff Bezos celebrating the success of Amazon.com.

In 2017, Mr Farquhar’s Atlassian co-founder, Mike Cannon-Brookes, cooperated with Mr Musk, publicly taking up and facilitating his offer to supply a powerful Tesla battery installation for the state of South Australia after it suffered a blackout in 2017.

Mr Cannon-Brookes, who has since led a campaign to buy Australian energy company AGL Energy Ltd and speed up its transition to renewable power, reposted Mr Farquhar’s remarks criticising Mr Musk’s return-to-office order.

Reuters

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