Tesla CEO and Texas transplant Elon Musk was declared Time’s Person of the Year Monday.
In a post explaining why Time picked Musk, Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal pointed to Musk becoming the world’s richest man ever—he has a net worth of $266 billion—and to Musk representing a societal shift. Noting other billionaires like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Time wrote, “our lives and many of the basic structures around them are now shaped by the pursuits, products and priorities of the world’s wealthiest people.”
Indeed, Musk’s prominent influence is especially seen in Austin. The Gigafactory in southeast Travis County, which will see Phase 1 completed by the new year, could employ 5,000 people. Production on the Model Y is expected to ramp up in the coming year. Full volume production of Cybertrucks at the headquarters is expected in 2023.
The Cybertruck’s arrival will add to Tesla’s takeover of the EV market. Last week, Musk claimed roughly two-thirds of EVs in the U.S. are Tesla vehicles.
Texas is also the site of other ventures, including aerospace company SpaceX, where a rocket known as Starship is being developed. Last week, Musk said the reusable orbital rocket could be the difference between whether humanity becomes a multi-planetary species or doesn't. Additionally, Neuralink, a company with a small Austin presence, is working on a brain-machine interface system that hopes to restore full body functionality for people with spinal cord injuries.
Musk could become a trillionaire, investment firm Morgan Stanley projected in October, following the status Tesla gained in October with a valuation of $1 trillion,
Watch: TIME's 2021 Person of the Year @elonmusk on his wealth and income inequality #TIMEPOY https://ti.me/3EScXEo\u00a0pic.twitter.com/xkxgiuSeoe— TIME (@TIME) 1639409443
In an interview with Time, Musk was confronted with the public’s growing disdain for billionaires and wealth inequality. At one point, he referenced Warren Buffett, saying “so yes ok he’s got a high net worth, but he’s doing a useful job for the economy and he’s very skilled at it and could probably keep doing it.”
Musk pointed to a different factor that he sees as worthy of criticism.
“Excess consumption, I think, is a thing to get upset about. If someone’s just wasting money and personal luxuries in a crazy way,” Musk said.
Time’s pick swiftly faced backlash online after it was announced. Some referenced the little income tax that billionaires pay. In 2018, Musk paid no federal income taxes. Others mentioned how a federal jury order in October called on Tesla to pay $137 million over claims that a former contractor was subjected to racial discrimination at work. The recent sexual harassment suits at a Fremont, California Tesla factory were also referenced.
This isn’t the first time the magazine’s pick for person of the year has been criticized. In the article announcing Musk as its choice, Time said it names the person or group who most shaped the past 12 months “for better or worse.” The publication even has a page for its controversial choices, which include figures like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, 11 U.S. presidents (including Texans Lyndon B. Johnson, George Bush and George W. Bush) and “peacemakers” like Pope John Paul II and Martin Luther King Jr.
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- San Marcos favorite Industry Burger opens "mid-October" on E. 5th, featuring "low key healthy" Texas fare.
- Still Austin Whiskey Co. introduces "The Artist," its new rye whiskey.
- Domain NORTHSIDE favorites Bakery Lorraine, Grimaldi's Pizzeria, Jeni's Ice Cream and Sprinkles released their fall flavors.
- Cinnaholic at The Arboretum opens Friday, October 14, serving "create your own" cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats.
- San Francisco's Marufuku Ramen opens next Wednesday, October 12, in the Mueller District.
- Carpenter Hotel announces its popup food truck, Lil Carpenter, open Fri-Sun both ACL weekends, serving what you want, early to late, coffee to donuts, to dogs/burgers/fries/beer.
With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.
Artists and music lovers are set to pack into Zilker Park for The Austin City Limits Music Festival in the coming two weekends. Following that, Formula One will bring racing fans to the Circuit of the Americas.
For those two events, the airport is anticipating high passenger days with 30,000 or more people departing flights.
ABIA recommends arriving at least two and a half hours in advance for domestic flights on those days. For ACL, it's expected on both Sundays of the festival along with the Monday and Tuesday after. The F1-driven high passenger days are expected on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-26.
\u201c#AustinCityLimits visitors, you\u2019re in for a weird and wild ride \ud83e\udd18\u262e\ufe0f \n\nFlying in or out of our airport? We got firm and fun tips for you: https://t.co/RawVRalOXN\u201d— Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)) 1664894083
F1, especially, could draw in loads of travelers as the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees last year. ABIA warns that highways leading to the airport may see even higher traffic than usual around the event and that travelers should plan their route accordingly.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, said travel numbers come in 24 hours in advance. So, it's hard to predict if the airport will see travel volumes at the same levels that have happened around previous F1 races or if it'll top ACL's flight traffic.
Still, she says historical knowledge points to a chance for it.
“We've had that Monday after F1 break the record for single busiest in airport history," Grimmett said. "So context clues I would say yes, but I can't confirm that. But the historical background points to that."
In anticipation of the high volume of flyers, the airport received additional TSA officers for security screening through the end of October. To prepare even further, the Department of Aviation and partners hosted a job showcase and hiring fair to address the continued labor shortage the airport has experienced.
Relief from hectic travel days is on the horizon with November likely to see a slowdown.
"I don't anticipate it will be as busy as October just because we don't have as many events going on," Grimmett said. "Thanksgiving is kind of our primary holiday that we see a lot of passengers coming in and out of the airport."