Small businesses will lead the next American Revolution

    In the days prior to the American Revolution of 1776, our forefathers preached a theory of self-rule based on the concept of "no taxation without representation." They reasoned that if the King of England could tax them at will, they would never be truly free.

    Today, we face a similar tyranny from another set of would-be kings who use government as a tool of legal extortion and practice what is best described as "taxation without honest representation."

    Each new day, the media documents outright lies from our elected representatives, incompetence and waste by their royal appointees and the corrupt use of our treasury for political paybacks. It has gotten so out of hand that the Supreme Court of this land declares these new kings can take your property, against your will, solely because someone else can generate more tax income with it than you can.

    It is no surprise that the first American Revolution was led by independent business people like Samuel Adams. Large corporations such as the East India Company were too economically important to the throne and were protected. The brunt of new taxes and regulations such as the Stamp Act fell squarely on the shoulders of colonial small business people. Adams sounded the alarm not simply based on current taxes and regulations but what would happen if the trend continued unabated. At first, Adams and his group used diplomatic channels, the media and public protest. When this was ignored, it evolved into boycotts, civil disobedience and war.

    Current conditions bear a striking resemblance to those of the first American Revolution. The governor tells outright lies, uses sweeping, "king-like" veto powers to fundamentally change the meaning and intent of legislation enacted by our representatives, and steals hundreds of millions of dollars from a privately-funded, irrevocable trust explaining that, since it was established by government, it can be unilaterally changed by government, without the consent of the people.

    The chilling effect of this king-like proclamation is that government can no longer be trusted to keep promises or honor contracts. Like kings, they can change them at will. Closer to home. we see the Milwaukee Public School Board thumbing their noses at throngs of angry citizens, ignoring their grievances and passing what amounts to a double-digit tax increase to prop up their failing institution.
    Milwaukee County supervisors relentlessly use stealth and deceit to push through a dishonest and undeserved pay increase, and the mayor and the Milwaukee Common Council look for higher pay (and therefore higher pension benefits), all while bemoaning a cash-strapped budget.

    The time has come for a new, well-mannered American Revolution, one that demands honest representation and an end to the lies, waste, corruption and theft of property by outright taking or regulation that have become the calling cards of these new and would-be kings.

    Once again, it must be led by those damaged the most, the economic lifeblood of our country, the small business person. This revolution will not be fought with muskets, but with collaborative action, lawyers and accountants, elections, referenda and where necessary, recalls. The tools are all there and enormously effective in the right hands. The Ament recall was but a taste of what can be accomplished.

    It is also important to realize we do not stand alone. Sam Adams created "committees of correspondence" to link the colonies. Today, we call them "networks." They are being established nationwide and are primarily led by business people. I have fought beside such networks in states like Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada. Like the original 13 colonies, we are forming partnerships among the 50 states, working together, sharing experiences and strengths, and planning coordinated actions. Wisconsin has been identified as a primary battleground in this new revolution and has attracted significant national investment. We must supply leadership to manage and grow that investment. 

    The key to winning this revolution is solidarity rooted in the realization that, as citizens, we are all in this together against the tyranny of these new kings. The only true enemies are the kings themselves and their minions. Once these kings are vanquished, we will find we are rich beyond all expectations with resources aplenty to return the American Dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all. And this is what the new revolution is really all about.


    Chris Kliesmet is the executive administrator of the CRG (Citizens for Responsible Government) Network in Milwaukee.

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