Mitt Romney outperformed President Obama. He looked confident, knowledgeable, energetic, optimistic, and even empathetic-something that he has struggled since the release of the leaked 47% video. But Romney won not because he became a debate superstar. Romney is a good debater and has been for a while but Romney won because Obama was flat.

Our President can’t spell out the successes of his first term. It’s hard to tell if there are any if he can’t spell them out in last night’s debate. He has no plan for the next four years. The only thing that the American people got from last night’s debate is that Obama will increase taxes on the wealthy and let the Bush Tax cuts expire even though he extended them during his presidency. That’s not a vision for the next four years. He doesn’t get simple economics.

Say what you want about Bush Tax cuts, but letting them expire won’t just hit rich people like Donald Trump. This tax hike would hit small employers which account for 20 million of small businesses.  Small businesses account for 70% of America’s employment. Let’s be honest; is it smart to raise taxes on those who create the vast majority of our jobs?

This isn’t rocket science. You don’t have to be a small business owner to understand that higher taxes strains enterprise. Higher taxes make higher costs for businesses which is something that our country must avoid especially since the unemployment rate is still under a malaise level at  8.2%.

However, the most important key to this economic puzzle is not the Bush Tax cuts. A clear sign for a healthy recovery is a strong middle class. Obama and Romney both agree that the middle class is an essential foundation for our country. But how has the middle class done in the last four years? How have the not-so-wealthy done under Obama’s administration? Well, Vice President Biden couldn’t have said it any better,  the middle class has been “buried” over the last four years.

Look at some of the numbers. The middle class is struggling with property value. An Associated Press September poll found that 36% of likely voters believe that their family situation has worsened in the last four years especially those who have a family income less than $100,000. Another poll shows that a staggering 85% of middle class families feel that they are worse off than a decade ago.

This isn’t surprising. Gas prices increased dramatically during Obama’s four years. Gas prices increased 103.79% under int the last four years. Groceries increased as well. From milk to bread to eggs and even toilet paper. Rent also went up and college tuition, well that unfortunately has risen. Families are not feeling better. The Federal Reserve study couldn’t put it any better, the family net worth dropped to the lowest since 1992.

Obama hasn’t helped the middle class. He has helped his buddies like the United Auto Workers (UAW) with the auto bail out which gave the union $26.5 billion in order to keep outrageously high wages like $75.86 an hour. He also his friends in Wall Street where they reached record profits under his administration comparing to President Bush’s eight years. What has he done in the last four years that helped every day Americans? Not so much. He has helped the wealthy and the few in the Democratic base (such as unions) and has left behind most of the country.

He has especially let down those 46.7 million Americans who depend on food stamps. That’s a record number in our country’s history. This country was founded in the idea that you can make it big and be independent. Yet, because of stagnant unemployment and policies that created uncertainty throughout businesses, a lot of Americans resort to government help.

The last four years have clearly not worked. A new vision is needed and Mitt Romney has a different plan action that will help most Americans not just the ones on Wall Street and the ones that have their companies close to bankruptcy.

The Romney Ryan plan specifics can be seen and understood, whereas Obama’s is vague and full of political rhetoric. One of them is that it will keep taxes low just like they were under the Bush period. The one difference is that Romney will cut spending instead of increasing it while cutting taxes which is why Obama inherited a terrible deficit. After all, Romney did balance the budget without raising taxes as Governor of Massachusetts.  He worked with Democrats to do that something that Obama hasn’t done in his four years.

There are two different visions, and it’s time to choose. Looking at the numbers: are you better off than you were four years ago? Should this country go through four more years with this president?

Alex Uzarowicz | Knox College | @AUzarowicz