The American middle class cannot afford four more years like the last four.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask Vice President Joe Biden.

At a Tuesday campaign rally, he offered a remarkably candid assessment of the Obama presidency: “the middle class…has been buried in the last four years.”

Finally, Joe Biden’s making some sense.

As every family struggling to make ends meet knows all too well, the last four years have been devastating for the middle class:

• 23.1 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed or have given up looking for work.
• Unemployment has been above 8 percent for 43 straight months and is higher than when President Obama took office.
• About four million workers have left the labor force, mostly because the job market offers so few prospects.
• Median household income is down $4,520 from $55,918 in January 2009 to $50,678 in August 2012.
• The middle class is shrinking. 49.1 million Americans are living in poverty, and another 97.3 million qualify as “low-income.”
• Food prices are rising and gas prices have doubled, but incomes have fallen.
• Under Obama, the average cost of family health care premiums has increased by $3,065.
• The national debt is now over $16 trillion.

Sadly, the list goes on, but the message is clear: On Obama’s watch, the middle class indeed “has been buried.”

Now if the vice president knows this, you would think he and President Obama would have new ideas or a bold agenda for creating jobs in the second term they seek. But they don’t.

The only policy plan the president has for a second term is a tax increase, which according to a study by the firm Ernst & Young would cost America 710,000 jobs. The middle class has been buried in the last four years, but Obama and Biden want to bury them some more.

We need a new direction. We need a president with a plan to save and strengthen and empower the middle class—to dig us out of the last four years of failed policies.

The Romney-Ryan Plan for a Stronger Middle Class will do just that. It is expected to create 12 million new jobs over the next four years. It has five key components:

1. Implement the Romney plan for North American energy independence, which will not only create good jobs but will also make energy more affordable and more secure.

2. Ensure every American has the education they need to find a good job, and improve job training so those who are looking for work have the skills they need in today’s job market.

3. Pursue trade policy that works in America’s interests; crack down on cheaters like China that gain an unfair advantage and hurt American workers and American companies.

4. Get our spending under control and cut the deficit to protect our investments before they are lost in a Greece-style economic meltdown.

5. Champion small business; instead of imposing new taxes and excessive regulations, free small businesses from the heavy-hand of government bureaucrats to create the jobs we so desperately need.

In addition, Mitt Romney will cut taxes for the middle class, bringing much needed relief to families whose budgets are stretched thin and who are worried about their future.

There’s hard work ahead, but unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney has a record of getting the job done. From starting companies and saving businesses to rescuing an Olympics and governing a state, Mitt Romney has spent his life turning around difficult situations.

America needs a turnaround. The middle class knows it. And even Joe Biden knows it. But only Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a plan to take us toward a better future.