Should Free Marketeers Turn Down Money?

by Robert VerBruggen

Think Progress is making a big deal of the fact that a businessman featured in a Romney “you didn’t build that” ad received subsidized small-business loans. (They also complain that he did some work for the Navy and Coast Guard, but I don’t even understand why that’s supposed to be bad — no conservative says the military shouldn’t exist, or that it shouldn’t contract out some of its work to private companies — so I’ll set it aside for the purposes of this post.)

This reminds me of people who whine when anti-pork legislators take pork for their own districts. Well, of course they do. Why should their constituents pay taxes toward everyone else’s pork and get none of their own? The solution to the problem of pork is to eliminate it across the board; until then, all districts should get their fair share.

The same thing goes for small-business loans. This man pays taxes that support this government endeavor (and many others he does not benefit from), and he is operating in a business environment in which all his competitors have access to government funds. The political belief that such funds should not exist does not change this reality.