Before casting your vote in the election for president, ask yourself two questions:
First, is the United States better off today than four years ago? Even more important, will you be better off four years from now?
Electing Mitt Romney as president will bring real change, giving Americans reason for hope about the future. President Barack Obama's record provides cause only for worry.
Fewer Americans are working today than when Obama took office. Millions are not on the official unemployment reports because they have given up on finding work. Millions more are "underemployed" in low-wage or part-time jobs that are all they can find. This is not the American dream. It has become a nightmare for too many people.
Trillions of dollars have been wasted on programs such as "stimulus" and bail-outs of big businesses and irresponsible states.
The national debt is $16 trillion, with $5.4 trillion of that piled up under Obama.
Obama has spent $90 billion on "green" energy - while attempting to wreck the coal industry.
What about the next four years if Obama is re-elected? "Obamacare" would kick in fully. Health insurance would cost more for tens of millions of people. Some families would lose the insurance they have now.
New limits on coal would force tens of millions of families to pay hundreds of dollars a year more for electricity.
Our economy, straining to hold its own, would be crippled by new taxes - at least $1 trillion, admits Vice President Joe Biden.
The world would become even more dangerous, thanks to an Obama foreign policy that refuses to recognize the resurgent threat of Islamic terrorism, snubs the leader of Israel and has done little or nothing to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons.
The past four years have not been good. The next four would be worse under Obama.
Romney represents a real and realistic alternative. His economic policies will hold taxes low, allowing the private sector to create new jobs.
More important, Romney brings the predictability on government regulation and taxes that businesses need to create jobs - and families need to begin buying again and thus, growing the economy.
Romney will abandon the war on coal, which will help to hold electric bills down.
Romney will ensure programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid remain available to the many Americans who rely on them. Real health care reform, not a government takeover that will cost many families more for medical care, will occur under Romney.
Our foreign enemies will face a strong, determined United States - not a nation second-guessing ourselves and our heritage - under Romney.
It has become clear Obama's policies are expensive failures. Four more years of an accelerated drive toward bigger government would be a catastrophe.
"You didn't build this," Obama said in an insult to scores of millions of hard-working people. Romney understands we indeed did build America - and need a chance to rebuild our nation's prosperity.
That makes the choice crystal clear. The Salem News endorses Mitt Romney for president, and urges voters to elect him on Nov. 6.