The educated citizen

Posted: Apr 21, 2004 12:00 AM

As election 2004 swings into full gear with all of the promises, rhetoric, charges and counter-charges that come with it, it's important that potential voters understand the issues. Educated voters asking educated questions of candidates makes for better candidates and better results at the polls. It also makes for better public policy.

The trouble is, with so many people expressing distrust in the news media, it's sometimes hard to know where to turn for reliable information on key issues of the day.

Well, not anymore. The Heritage Foundation has produced the most comprehensive, up-to-date candidate briefing resource on issues ever found in one place. But "Issues 2004" isn't just for candidates ? it's for all citizens who understand that the health of a republic depends upon an educated, informed, active citizenry.

"Issues 2004" is a Web-based product that is easy to navigate, comprehensive in scope and current. It covers eight general categories in which some 40 different specific issues are discussed, offering sound recommendations on how those issues should be addressed in the public-policy arena.

After all, it isn't enough to just know about the problems and issues facing the country, it's important to know what the solutions are too. You can count on Heritage to provide practical, real-life solutions that are based on the data and the uncompromising principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense. The eight general categories covered in "Issues 2004" are:

  1. Defense & Homeland Security
  2. Domestic Policy
  3. Economy
  4. Education
  5. Foreign Policy
  6. Health Care
  7. Nations & Regions
  8. Welfare

Readers can also sign-up for e-mail alerts, find contact information for experts on all the issues covered, and find links to the sites of key government offices and agencies.

As a mom who home-schooled her own kids for five years, I highly recommend "Issues 2004" as the best tool for educating students on the key policy considerations of the day and about the importance of civic participation. Now that my children are in public school, I've found that "Issues 2004" is also a great resource for parents (like me) who need to look smart in front of the all-knowing teens who bring up discussions they've just had in, say, civics class, that sound a little one-sided. It's The Heritage Foundation to the rescue with quick, easy-to-read-and-understand explanations of the facts and what makes for sound public policy.

One of the most useful features for following the activities of Congress is the section "On the Hill," which provides the up-to-date schedules of both the House and Senate as well as a link to the proposals up for discussion on any given day.

There is also a section that provides an in-depth look at an issue that's hot in the news at any given time. For example, at the writing of this column, the "Issue in Focus" section provides everything you need to know about "Jobs," including links to such intriguing papers as "10 Myths About Jobs and Outsourcing," "The Myth of a Jobless Recovery," "The Outsourcing Bogeyman," and "Why We Have Nothing to Fear from Foreign Outsourcing."

Call me biased, opinionated, whatever you will, but I'm awfully proud to be part of an organization that has taken the time and gone to great expense to create a tool to educate folks on matters of public policy and on the conservative ideals that make for a better America.

There are far too many liberal policies on the books that run our lives, empty our pocketbooks, and hold our children hostage to a colossal government that encroaches on their freedoms and robs them of their futures. As the president of The Heritage Foundation, Ed Feulner, likes to say, "In Washington, there are no permanent victories, and no permanent defeats." In other words, with virtually every election, everything is up for grabs.

Dr. Feulner wrote in his book "The March of Freedom" that Heritage is determined "To set the terms of national policy debate. To offer, not a lament for a lost America, but positive, practical, free market alternatives to the failed liberal policies of the old order."

That's a determination worthy of admiration. And if it's worthy of your admiration, it's also worthy of your support. If you agree it's time to study the issues and demand solutions for America that work, make sure you add Issues 2004 to your list of web favorites.