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Market Solutions for Urban Despair

Regarding the article "Dahmer Case Unleashes Black Anger in Milwaukee," Aug. 16: As Wisconsin's senior US senator, I believe the solution to our drug crimes, our crime crises, and the crisis of inner-city despair is to unleash the potential of the people themselves.We must reject programs that lead to welfare dependency and a self-satisfied bureaucracy, and instead focus on free enterprise, self-help, volunteerism, and empowerment of individuals. In short, we should bring market incentives to bear to cure poverty and joblessness. First, we must enact federal enterprise-zone legislation. This bill would provide incentives that reduce regulatory and tax barriers to small business investment and job creation in distressed urban areas like North Milwaukee. Second, we must enact the Small Business Economic Opportunity Enhancement Act, which would create a "micro-loan" program through community-based nonprofits to help low-income and minority entrepreneurs become successful small business owners. Third, we need to restore tax incentive s for charitable giving. Charities and nonprofits outperform welfare programs, and charities are more in tune with local needs than federal programs administered from Washington. The success of an antipoverty agenda cannot be the success of government bureaucrats, but rather the success of individuals, small businesses, nonprofits, churches, and community-based organizations - all working together to make Wisconsin and America a better place. US Sen. Robert W. Kasten Jr., Washington

Was coup a trap for hard-liners? With all of the ponderous analyses of the Soviet non-coup, why has no one suggested the obvious: namely that Gorbachev and Yeltsin baited the trap and the Communist Party fell into it? Gorbachev became party general secretary and pressed for reform immediately; obviously he would have been removed instantly had he not paid lip service to the party. Reform momentum was increased as rapidly as possible. Liberals either left the party or arranged for expulsion. But Gorbachev stayed as party head of an increasingly reactionary Central Committee. Meanwhile he cultivated and consolidated support from the West, especially the promise of economic aid. With the liberals gone and the threat of impending massive political changes, Gorbachev and family go away on vacation, leaving the hard-liners to mind the store. They take the bait. An outrage such as a failed reactionary coup is really the only way Gorbachev could attack the party and win. D.R.V. Golding, Honolulu

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The failure of the attempted Soviet coup is a victory not just for democracy, but especially for democratic federalism. While the junta attempted to seize power through Mikhail Gorbachev's central Soviet government, it was Boris Yeltsin, the democratically elected leader of the Russian Republic, who rallied the opposition. In Sinclair Lewis's novel "It Can't Happen Here," when a totalitarian regime seizes power in the US, virtually its first act is to dismantle the state governments that give our nation its name. Mark Menchik, Alexandria, Va.

I am not a communist, but I think we need a reminder these days that communism is one of the many systems of thought aimed at improving the lot of mankind. It did so, on balance: Communism in the Soviet Union did much harm, especially under Stalin, but it had lifted Russia out of the gross miseries of czarist centuries. There are some sincere reasons why "conservatives" cling to communist ideals. It sad that the first act of Lithuania on becoming free is to cut away a freedom: by banning a party, the com munist one. Guy Ottewell, Greenville, S.C.

Thanks from a 'user-friendly' airline On behalf of Midway Airlines and its 4,700 employees nationwide, I sincerely appreciate the vote of confidence afforded by the editorial "An Idea That Will Fly," Aug 12. As you know, Midway Airlines' size and scope afford it the opportunity to be immediately responsive to what we see as a logical approach to the general consumer. Over the past 12 years of its history, Midway Airlines has prided itself on being "user-friendly." This latest step - making its tickets refundable - is yet another tactic in our overall strategy. The Monitor is one of the United States' most respected publications and we appreciate its support. Sandra Allen, Chicago, Communications Director, Midway Airlines

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