Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law


Zero Mostel serenaded us in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” with a song that featured “Something for Everyone”, referring to comedy or tragedy. That could easily be the theme of the massive, two-year budget resolution passed by Congress last week. Defense got a lot; domestic spending got more; immigration reformers were pleased; children received even more insurance; states got disaster relief. Put enough money on the table and virtually everyone will be happy, or at least engaged. With trillions at issue, surely there is a spot for any concerned (about re-election) member to find a safe harbor. What do massive deficits matter when the fate of the Republic depends on my successful re-election. Besides, this is just a resolution; the real funding come from the appropriation bills; surely we will do them next year. Who didn’t favor such a glorious, painless escape from our constitutional duty, just a few die-hard Democrat “never-Trumpers” and some dinosaur deficit hawks.

Riddle me this Boopsie – what happened to the bleats from Republicans and Democrats alike about “fiscal responsibility” and “not burdening our children and grandchildren with massive deficits”.   I would love it if someone would go back to the last election for each current member of Congress and compare their campaign rhetoric on the issue of the deficit with their votes. How many of therm were true to their word, and how many just pandered at the sacred altar of re-election?

Is it possible that the size and scope of the over-reaching federal government has exceeded the ability of the constitutional scheme to manage it?  From FDR and the New Deal right through to President Trump, the Federal government has reached its tentacles deeper and deeper into our daily lives. It seems like there is a proposed Federal solution for everything. What happened to individual freedom and responsibility, or states rights? Could most of the issues talked to death in Congress be handled more efficiently and swiftly at the local or state level? States were given the responsibility and power under our federalism system to be the crucible of ideas and solutions. If the Federal government was put back into its original place in our system, why couldn’t, and wouldn’t, the states’ craft solutions to problems that work for them and, possibly, serve as a model for others?

Folks, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The corollary to that is, “If it is broke, fix it” We don’t need Einstein to tell us that something has to give. And the time for that to happen is NOW. Every member of the House of Representatives, and a third of the Senators, are up for re-election. Please, please take the time to study the candidates and vote for the one that pledges to work with whoever to effectuate real solutions to real problems. Platitudes and campaign slogans won’t change a darn thing. This is no longer a partisan issue; parties are not the answer, Only principled men and women working together can bring about the radical change in Washington and its back-scratching culture that has brought us to this sorry state.


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