Not sure what the point is of the article
Are there ANY industries that are legal, and function according to proper red-in-tooth-and-claw capitalism? I thought that most experienced some level of cronyism, subsidy, tax break, barrier to entry or outright corruption. It's pretty much the nature of the beast.
It's the same way that "free market" is an oxymoron. A market, by definition, has to have some rules, and some method of enforcing them. Thus any market has some limit to it's freedom, even if it is as simple as unequal distribution of information, or unequal access. I do understand that generally "free markets" mean "fair and free as possible" but then it quickly gets bogged down in the argument over what should be regulated and how. Much like "small government" sounds good, but often means "apart from the bits I like".
While 5 billion over 9 years can sound like a lot in subsidies, there are plenty of posters pointing out how much actually is thrown around by various countries/states, so it can be seen as pretty small potatoes considering Musk has actually delivered many of his products, and in a somewhat timely manner. Contrast this with say defense procurement (even during a prolonged war/imperialist conquest), the nuclear power industry, the airlines, and the whole electric grid deal.
Whilst solar power is not a generation tech (well, PV ain't) it is a very effective reduction in consumption when your big power use is cooling. So you get more power at the times you need it most. Not so good for the UK, but chunks of USA it's just grand. Same way heat pumps and geothermal aren't going to stop your power needs, they do make things more efficient. I like nuclear and hydro power generation, but neither of those would be at all feasible without government funding/support/control. Since when they do fuck up they kill an awful lot of people. Well, hydro does, jury is still out on nukes. Hydro is at least profitable when you count all the externalities, we can't cost the externalities of nukes until we've got the ability to consume high grade waste, which is _hopefully_ going to be possible in thorium salt reactors. But those are a few years away from being scaled up, and will again probably need some sort of government pork to be able to become suitable for grid level production.
Education, emergency services, transport infrastructure and armed forces are generally accepted as being important, and usually best run by the state, with various sub sections handled by private interests.