America’s economy remains mired in an anemic, “jobless” recovery. The president remains mired in a big-government philosophy, despite the dismal results it’s produced on his White House watch. His opponent, who has an impressive background as both a businessman and governor, advocates correcting our errant course by reducing the taxing and regulatory obstacles to the private sector.

Those circumstances make Republican nominee Mitt Romney the clear choice for president on Tuesday.

Four years ago, candidate Barack Obama promised “hope and change.” But his economic futility shows that our best hope for a positive change in the next four years is to elect a man who has a better understanding of — and appreciation for — the free market’s potential.

And while any election featuring a sitting president is largely a referendum on the incumbent, the aspiring replacement’s credentials are a crucial consideration, too. In this case, Mr. Romney’s qualifications align well with the tests of our time.

The Obama campaign has tried to use Mr. Romney’s role as Bain Capital’s co-founder and CEO against him. But in our view, Mr. Romney’s experience as the successful boss of that investment/management firm would be an asset for him as president.

October’s national unemployment rate, announced Friday, was a grim 7.9 percent. That’s just slightly better than the 43 straight months at 8 percent or higher (all under this president) — a streak that ran through August as the longest at that awful height since the Great Depression. And the present jobless rate would be much higher if millions of Americans hadn’t given up on finding work during the Obama presidency.

Now President Obama suggests creating another government job for a “Secretary of Business.” Perhaps he forgot that he already has a Secretary of Commerce.

Our economy doesn’t need more deficit-growing federal intervention. It needs fewer government burdens on the private sector. It needs a president who can forge practical, productive compromises across party lines.

As the Republican governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007, Mr. Romney worked effectively with a heavily Democratic legislature. Among their shared accomplishments, all without raising taxes: streamlining state government, erasing a $3 billion deficit, adding $2 billion to a “rainy day” fund and reducing red tape for small businesses.

As for his state health care reform law, aka “Romneycare,” unlike Obamacare, it didn’t boost taxes or cut Medicare. Another crucial distinction: Romneycare was a bipartisan initiative. Obamacare passed both chambers of Congress without a single Republican vote (and with 34 House Democrats voting against it) — and without time for lawmakers to read the 2,700-page behemoth.

That mislabeled Affordable Care Act added, in effect, another unsustainable entitlement program, even as Medicare and Social Security continued to plummet toward fiscal oblivion.

President Obama did appoint a bipartisan debt commission — then chose not to take the political risk of supporting its recommendations.

Meanwhile, he will have presided over four consecutive federal deficits of at least $1 trillion, boosting the record national debt over $16 trillion. Before he became president, the largest annual deficit was a comparatively modest $455 billion.

So the next president must do more than jump-start a sluggish economy. He must find common ground with the other party on the hard long-term calls required to rescue our fiscal future.

Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes on the “rich,” whom he defines as those with an income of more than $250,000. That would do little to balance the books while forcing many small businesses to eliminate jobs.

The president can’t run on his poor economic record. Thus, he warns that Mr. Romney’s ideas represent a “return to the failed policies of the past.”

Yet the past includes our last 45 months of economic futility under President Obama.

Mr. Obama is America’s first black president — a landmark achievement for a nation still emerging from centuries of racial injustice.

He also deserves considerable credit for giving the bold order to take out Osama bin Laden last year. And he wisely backed away from his foolish notions about closing the prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo and trying 9/11 defendants in civil court in Manhattan.

Still, he has struggled to contain some serious foreign-policy menaces, including Iran’s unchecked march toward a nuclear arsenal and proliferating turmoil in the Mideast. And his administration still hasn’t clarified what went so horribly wrong before, during and after the murderous terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

At its core, though, this presidential election is about America’s economic present and future.

Mr. Obama did inherit a severe economic mess. But after nearly four years as president, he can’t keep passing the buck.

Mr. Romney charts a course for real change — and has a proven record of advancing bipartisan solutions.

President Obama does not.

Mr. Obama has offered stale, statist policies in the White House. Mr. Romney would provide fresh, private-sector insights.

Give Mitt Romney a chance to get America back on the right economic track.

Give him your vote.