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Conservative ideas winning the day

A RECENT letter about ''Mallard Fillmore" (Feb. 24) said that the ''real conservative agenda" includes ''no help for the needy and medical insurance only for the rich." This complete misunderstanding of conservative philosophy is one of the reasons liberals are losing the debate in this country.

Conservatives want to help those in need as much as anyone else; they just think their ideas are better at helping. Welfare reform has done more to help people than any social program in the last 20 years. Free trade, free markets, and the spread of democracy are doing more to lift the third world out of poverty than foreign aid ever could. Low taxes and fewer restrictions on business create good jobs, the real key to fighting poverty.

If liberals want to win the national debate, they need to stop saying, ''We care; you don't" and start persuading people that their ideas are better at helping than conservative ideas. In fact, they could start with the next big issue: Why is a monthly government Social Security check better than a personal retirement account that they own and can leave to their children when they die?

BRUCE CANTWELL
Merrimack N.H.

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