Tale of two of the most powerful star-crossed men

San Francisco: It is ironical that two of the most powerful men in the world are besieged and beleaguered as they dominate the headlines here – one an elected official, US President Joe Biden and the other an out and out capitalist – the world’s richest man with blue sky between himself and his challengers, centi-billionaire Elon Musk.

Both appear to be under the cosh, President Biden has two high powered support acts – ex Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton with their star power – who are trying desperately to prop up his sagging fortunes as they criss crossing America for the tumultuous and bitterly contested midterms.

The sprint to the finish here has polarised the Democrats vs the Republicans even further as three Presidents go hell for leather giving clarion calls of Democracy is under threat. As candidates make the final push, Obama said democracy is on the ballot in Pennsylvania.

Former President Donald Trump is all set to announce his presidential run for 2024 on November 14. Voters are bristling with anger over all encompassing hurting economic issues and the killer inflation biting into incomes with spiralling rents, grocery and energy prices. Main Street is battening down the hatched as mortgages are soaring into the stratosphere.

Almost in parallel, the Elon Musk hyper act is caught in a brutal maelstrom. The Chief Twit has gone ballistic sacking Twitter employees as he loses $4 million a day. The sacked staff’s legal insurrection is only part of his problems for he doesn’t want any rub off on his mothership Tesla. However, he is unrelenting.

On Friday he tweeted: “Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day”.

Musk added: “Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required”. However, workers are disputing this saying that they have been given between one to three months severance.

With the bird roiled, the twitter baggage has spread to India where the new week broke with news that Twitter India has sacked 90 per cent of its staff. Since Elon Musk took over the platform, the company has been revising its plans, and job cuts have played a large part in this process. According to Bloomberg, more than 90 per cent of its staff in India have been fired over the weekend. Major advertisers have pulled out and it remains to be seen how the Tesla and SpaceX owner will cauterise the damage. The wound though is deep and grievous for the moment.

There is already talk that Musk may retract on sackings, re-hiring some who have been given pink slips rudely. Not only has this generated unsavouriness, but shares in his electric vehicle maker have dipped by more than 35 per cent, and closed down just 3.6 per cent for the day on Friday, amid a market rally that followed a volatile week. By way of comparison, the Nasdaq Composite is down by about 18 per cent over the same time frame. Musk first announced he had agreed to buy Twitter on April 25, 2022. Tesla shares closed that day at $332.67, and closed today at $207.47 capping his first full week of Twitter ownership.

Musk spoke at the 29th annual Baron Investment Conference on Friday, where hedge fund investor Ron Baron — who is now a Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter shareholder, and who is generally bullish on Musk’s businesses — asked the CEO about juggling new responsibilities, CNBC reported.

In addition to running a re-usable rocket maker and satellite internet company (SpaceX), and a multinational electric vehicle and sustainable energy company (Tesla), as well as funding and founding a brain-chip company (Neuralink) and tunneling business (The Boring Company), Musk now calls himself “Chief Twit.” More formally, he is the CEO and sole director of Twitter after his $44 billion deal.

Musk told Baron: “My workload went up from about, I don’t know 78 hours a week to probably 120”, adding that, “once Twitter is set on the right path, I think it is a much easier thing to manage than SpaceX or Tesla”.

(IANS)

1 Comment
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