It's shaping up to be a battle royale.

In one corner is the dashing new President-elect, who promised hope and change and a new way of doing business in Washington. A Democrat who promised to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans; protect and grow middle-class jobs; and lead America into a new post-partisan era.

In the other corner is the upstart rookie Governor of New York, who has retreated into the tax-and-spend stereotype often associated with the Democrats of the partisan era. A governor, who in the middle of a recession, brazenly seeks to raise 137 taxes and fees on middle-class families to the tune of more than $6 billion. All while raising overall state spending.

It's a battle for the economic security of the middle-class family and whether "change we can believe in" is really on its way.

The southpaw Obama threw the first punch, with a roundhouse promise to deliver a blow to the recession by helping ease the financial burden on hard-working families. But a jarring right upper-cut from Paterson threatens to actually make that burden worse by raising taxes on everyday middle-class life.

The bottom line, and boxing analogies aside, David Paterson's actions are posing a serious threat to the economic plans and promises of Barack Obama before he's even put his left hand on the Bible to take the oath of office.

If Obama provides a modest tax cut (speculation ranges from $250-$1,000), but Paterson delivers $6 billion in tax hikes...the tax hikes win. The middle-class family loses, again.

If Obama takes steps to protect good-paying jobs, but David Paterson delivers 137 tax hikes on consumer goods and services...those jobs will be gone. And the middle-class family loses, again.

If Obama takes steps to improve access to health care (something Paterson claims to want as well), but the governor's tax hikes cost hundreds of thousands of jobs as projected ...lost with those jobs will be nice health benefits. And the middle-class family loses, again.

Unfortunately for President-elect Obama, there are other governors, mayors and congressional Democrats whose plans to hike taxes and spending on everyday middle-class goods will far exceed any tax cuts Mr. Obama may propose.

If that's the case, it will be a sucker punch to the middle-class families who believed that change was indeed coming in the way politicians do business.

This week, Sip & Savor will contrast the economic goals set out by Mr. Obama with the budget realities put forth by Gov. Paterson. The contrast is stark. And the stakes are high.