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NW 5U ND AY I TU.L IIY MAMMA; MAMMA, DON’T YOU WORRY ‘NUT 01.! OCIAL 5 URITY HEM0 4g The landscape of the Sixth Congressional District, stretching from Dallas almost to Houston, is predominantly rolling pasture and farmland with suburbs on each end and Bryan-College Station in the middle. In the ten county seats in the district towns like Cleburne, Corsicana, Waxahachie a man who can talk cattle or cotton or oil over a cup of coffee in the local cafe is going to feel right at home. These are conservative people, for the most part; so on a recent tour of his district, Congressman Phil Gramm wasn’t at all reticent about the substantial cuts in social programs he’s been backing. It is 7:30 a.m., September 3, at the Cleburne Civic Center. The congressman is launching into his standard opening remarks about the economy and redistricting. Despite the early hour, more than 200 people have come for their first glimpse of Gramm since the passage of historical budget and tax laws, one of them bearing the names Gramm-Latta. As with other crowds along the one-week tour, the average age is probably about 50. Everyone in this group is white, as are most of the crowds along the tour. “Where are the blacks?” a reporter asks a Gramm aide. “They live in Ennis,” he explains. College Station In his opening remarks, the congressman, looking and sounding much like the economics professor he used to be, brings “both good news and bad news” about the economy. The good news is that the economic program will work; the bad news is that it isn’t working yet. He talks briefly about the district, expressing his gratitude to the local state representative, Bruce Gibson, for seeing to it that Texas will have a good conservative redistricting plan. Gramm concludes his remarks and invites questions. “Are you going to eliminate welfare for young people who have nothing but children or is it going to go on like Johnson set it up?” he is asked. The congressman mentions that “we have taken food stamps away from the strikers,” and he basks in the applause that follows. “What about Social Security and the proposed eliminOon of the minimum benefit?” he is asked. “I talk to my mamma every Sunday,” the congressman says, “and she says `don’t mess with Social, Security,’ and I tell her, ‘Mamma, I’m not going to cut Social Security.” Social Security, he assures his listeners, will take the place of unearned minimum benefits in cases that affect the “truly needy.” “Let me say,” Gramm continues, “that no issue in my time in Congress has been so demagogued than the minimum benefit in Social Security change.” Questions on a variety of issues follow. Asked about immigration, Gramm explains that he favors a bracero program. On the farm bill, he observes that “the government cannot guarantee success in any industry.” On foreign aid: “No one is more opposed to foreign aid than I am.” Labor: He favors a federal right-to-work law and revision of the Davis-Bacon Act. A woman, perhaps in her early 40’s, stands and expresses her appreciation for “the great job done in Washington.” She tells Gramm that the budget has not been cut enough in two areas. “One of them is the Legal Services Administration,” she says, “which I feel should be completely abolished in so far as they support most of your leftist and liberal causes and are not really helping the poor that they were intended to help. And another is the National Science Foundation which may or may not do some .good, but they waste an awful lot of our money. Would you tell us the status of those please?” “Well, I have voted to terminate legal services,” Gramm says, and his listeners applaud. “I personally don’t think we’re ever gong to solve this nation’s problems in court. We have provided funding through block grants if people can convince their state legislators that they ought to spend their money on legal services. And I agree with you. There’s nothing wrong with promoting liberal causes. I want people to have at it, but not with my money.” Again his listeners applaud. The National Science Foundation, Gramm says, should have been cut even More than it was. “We have reduced the so-called social, biological, and economical sciences, basically because of a lot of publicity concerning and I don’t need to tell you all the research on the bi-sexual frogs in Poland and all the horror stories you read.” Gramm mentions the research projects he himself has done on the Greenback and Free Silver movements in this country but he points out that he would have done them even without NSF fund ing. “I sort of have a view of academics which is not popular in the administrative part of the university. And that is, if a fellow’s got an idea in him, he’s going to get it out. Now it may be different I’m an economist by trade when you gotta have test tubes and laboratory equipment, but for economics all you need is a pencil and a piece of paper. And so I enjoyed not teaching during the summer, and I enjoyed not having to be harassed Congressman Visits Home Folks `Don’t Mess with SS! Gramm’s Mom Says By Greg Moses 4 SEPTEMBER 25, 1981