"We've always encouraged young people," Mitt Romney said in a speech to students at Otterbein University in Ohio today. "Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business."
Liberal sites and commentators immediately jumped on Romney for asking students to borrow from their folks. ("The advice fits right into the characterization that Romney is 'out of touch' with regular people," Annie-Rose Strasser wrote in an instantly ubiquitous post this afternoon.) Romney might be the wrong messenger. His family members were very rich, and not every son and daughter has a mom or dad with thousands of dollars to spare. But there's nothing wrong about this particular message.
Young entrepreneurs borrowing from their parents is commonplace. Almost half of Asian immigrant start-ups tap family for loans. Entrepreneurs have a phrase, "the Three Fs," to refer to the friends, family, and fools necessary to get small companies off the ground. The Small Business Association has a page dedicated to help start-up firms approach family members for money in a polite and constructive way. Bottom line: It's not culturally insensitive to suggest risk-takers ask their parents for money. It's sensible, and it's common.