As the public debate over America’s future unfolds, The Heritage Foundation continues to advocate conservative solutions for America. A comparison of the Heritage solutions with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s nationally televised address on August 31, 2012, illustrates the extent to which the Heritage ideas have penetrated the public debate.

To increase America’s energy supply that helps drive the economy, Heritage has long advocated expanding onshore oil production into previously restricted areas, opening the outer continental shelf to oil and gas exploration, exploiting oil shale as a source of oil, and streamlining the process for bringing nuclear-powered electricity-generating stations on line. Governor Romney spoke of “taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.”

To give every American child a chance to get the education that helps maximize his or her potential in life, Heritage has long advocated freeing states and their education systems from federal government red tape and facilitating choice by parents of the schools their children attend. Governor Romney said: “When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.”

To reduce barriers to the international trade that helps the economy grow and create jobs, Heritage has called for enactment of legislation to facilitate free trade agreements between the United States and foreign countries. Governor Romney stated that, “we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements.”

To limit the size, scope, and cost of government, Heritage published in May 2010 a detailed plan called Saving the American Dream: The Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity. The Heritage plan is designed to drive down federal spending toward a balanced budget, at a level not to exceed 18.5 percent of the economy’s annual total output of goods and services, without raising taxes and while maintaining a strong national defense. Governor Romney stated that “we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.”

To help get government out of the way of our job-generating small businesses, Heritage has called for pro-growth tax policies, reducing regulatory burdens on small businesses, and repeal of the job-killing Obamacare health care legislation. Governor Romney said, “we will champion small businesses . . . [t]hat means reducing taxes on business . . . simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business most . . . [a]nd it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.”

This short survey of ideas advocated over the years by The Heritage Foundation, compared to the current statements of one important voice in the public debate about America’s future, shows what a conservative think tank can accomplish through careful analysis and dedicated advocacy — exercising the power of ideas. Heritage will continue to contribute to the public debate its best thoughts on conservative policies, based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.