'Shark Tank' star Kevin O'Leary defends Elon Musk's nearly $300 billion fortune - and predicts many workers won't return to offices

'Shark Tank' star Kevin O'Leary defends Elon Musk's nearly $300 billion fortune - and predicts many workers won't return to offices
Kevin O'Leary. Mike Blake/Reuters
  • Kevin O'Leary defended Tesla CEO Elon Musk's almost $300 billion fortune this week.
  • The "Shark Tank" investor predicted a permanent shift from offices to remote working.

"Shark Tank" investor Kevin O'Leary defended Tesla CEO Elon Musk's massive fortune in an interview on "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Saturday.

The O'Leary Funds boss - whose nickname is "Mr Wonderful" - also attributed the recent surge in asset prices to aggressive fiscal stimulus, and predicted that many people who worked from home during the pandemic won't return to their companies' offices.

Here are O'Leary's seven best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. "You think about what that man's accomplished and how he's changed everybody's lives. Space, what he's done with electric cars, making the economy greener. Should we punish him for that? Is he a bad guy?" - defending Elon Musk's roughly $300 billion fortune.

2. "When he dies we're taking it all back anyway. Now if you'd like to accelerate that, should we arrest him, shoot him, and take all the money now?" - dismissing the idea that Musk is too wealthy.

3. "You print $3.5 trillion, put it in a helicopter and throw it down into the country, you're darn right the stock market's gonna go up. So is the watch market, the wine market, the car market. Anything that's a hard asset has exploded to the upside because money is free." - discussing the impact of government stimulus on asset prices during the pandemic.


4. "They're never coming back. They have proven that they can use technology to do their job successfully, creatively, functionally, productively. They want to stay at home, raise their kids, take care of their elderly parents. In fact, if you say to them, 'You have to come back to the office, that's our new mandate,' they'll say, 'Nah, I'm just gonna quit and work somewhere else." - arguing the worker exodus from offices represents a permanent shift to remote work.

5. "Videographers, photographers, and animators used to be considered starving artists; they made nothing pre-pandemic. They are now the most sought-after individuals as the entire economy has gone digital."

6. "These people don't want to work anymore in a cubicle. In fact, they don't want to work at all. They want to be contractors. They used to make $30,000, now they make $150,000. A huge transition is occurring."

7. "I would always tell students that if you're going to college and getting yourself $100,000 in debt, make sure you're an engineer, an engineer, or an engineer, and at night take some engineering classes - everything else is worthless. I don't feel that way anymore." - recognizing the surge in compensation for people with digital skills.

Read more: A 25-year market vet breaks down the 4 signals showing investor euphoria has gotten out of hand to a degree seen before stock crashes throughout history - and shares 3 things to watch that could trigger the next drop