Jonah Goldberg makes a great distinction:
…the difference between being pro-business and pro-market is categorical. A politician who is a “friend of business” is exactly that, a guy who does favors for his friends. A politician who is pro-market is a referee who will refuse to help protect his friends (or anyone else) from competition unless the competitors have broken the rules. The friend of business supports industry-specific or even business-specific loans, grants, tariffs, or tax breaks. The pro-market referee opposes special treatment for anyone.
Goldberg’s point is that the GOP must make up its mind about which one it is. Pro-business is crony capitalism, venture socialism and Big Government as we know it today. Pro-market is more the Tea Party putting real checks on Washington. Goldberg describes the GOP’s dilemma in more detail; RTWT.
To make my view clear: I am not pro-business, I am absolutely pro-market. The mentality that the economy would boom (and America would be great again) if only we could vote in smart people to tinker with the economy in good ways – if only the Republicans had power to do better Washington-y things than the Democrats do – that mentality is part of what has gotten America into a hole.
The truth is, nothing that government does to
rig interfere with markets and business outcomes is ever much good. It never turns out anything as well as the politicians said it would, and never as well as what markets – that is, free people – could do, if left to their own devices.