I offer this after the second political debate, but before the third presidential debate, which you’ve now watched and the pundits have now told you who won.

The first two debates both carried their own flavor and I am in general agreement with the analysis about who won and why. Not sure what is at stake in the third and final go-around but will watch it with interest and for its entertainment value. In fact, I liked the Al Smith charity dinner much better than the debates — both candidates got to bash each other in front of an audience without being interrupted by each other or a moderator.

Both President Obama and Gov. Romney had some great zings and both delivered a pretty peppery and perky deposition with Romney taking a few more shots at Obama and Obama being a little more self-deprecating but, all-in-all, it was a fun 10-minute showcase for each of them to shine.

In the second debate I saw much of the same from both candidates. The president, though more forceful and energetic, still ducked a question or two although he played much better defense and offense than in the first debate. The former governor also ducked some questions and kept telling us “I know how to fix this” and “I know what to do,” yet never offered much concrete to back that up.

Yes, he balanced the budgets in Massachusetts and the Olympics, but he failed to accentuate the piece that both organizations were healthy when he took command. Far from the case when the president had to step into a hornets nest. The country was in two wars he had no-part in creating and the economy was free falling and needing both stimulus and some gutsy bailouts that, with hindsight, I can’t see any way the economy could have turned around without the government stepping in.

Letting the banks, insurance companies and auto industry fail or go through bankruptcy would have crippled our nation. While Romney claims that Obama is not doing it fast enough, it keeps coming back to me that slow and steady will win the race. The battle with the economy, ending one war and continuing to end the other is solution-based thinking.

The debt is the biggest issue and how to attack that should be the biggest challenge for the next four years. The fact is the debt is far more than the president promised when he took office but I ask, “do we want a leader that will change the course if necessary or one that will stick with something just to save face or for political gain?” It is the definition of a leader to make adjustments and to create a pathway to success.

Next come the numbers. The former governor kept saying his “five-point plan” will lower the taxes for the middle class and not effect the rich. His basis is that he will make cuts and close loop holes to balance the tax breaks. Every study put out there suggests this is hogwash — the math just doesn’t work. Perhaps the trickle down from tax breaks will stimulate the economy but without a little redistribution of the tax code I personally just do not see how this can work.

From my seat, in my small little world, I think that specific tax cuts for small business would stimulate activity. For instance, I want to buy an expensive piece of equipment that will help that business grow. I am on the edge; part of it is wondering if the economy will continue to grow (I’m happy with the pace it’s growing, I’m afraid that new policies and/or new wars could set the economy back) and how the rest of the world’s economy will effect us.

With the right tax incentive I could very easily be pushed off the fence. Regardless of whether my personal income is taxed more or not, this incentive would create more jobs and more commerce by buying this piece of expensive equipment. My hope in making this purchase would be that it would lead to more business and higher profits.

When I was younger and struggling and investing everything back into the business, I paid very little tax every year because my income was non-existent. I always thought that paying my fair share of taxes would be a great thing — it would mean that I made it. I took pride that I was a job creator and that my associates were taxpayers and that I was helping move the economy in my small way.

Wasn’t it the goal in the beginning to be above the middle class and then paying my fair share? When only those making $250,000 or $1 million each year are being asked to share some of the burden, I would think most people might share my belief — if you are fortunate enough to be in that tax bracket, you should be gladly forking over a couple more percent.

There are more defining issues for our country in all of this. It is not just about raising more money or reallocating the monies we need to run the government, it is about controlling expenses, identifying waste and creating a culture that wants to work, wants to contribute, and wants their version of the American dream.

To that point, I want reform in many areas and arenas. I want health reform to continue, I want work-fare to replace welfare and I want us all to get along (at least let’s not get into anybody else’s fight or wars that don’t effect our national security, especially the wars we can’t define or win.

Sleep loose. Peace out.

Reade Brower, a longtime local resident, is owner of The Free Press and Courier Publications LLC. He can be reached at reade@freepressonline.com.