As President Biden marks his 100th day in office this week, the schism between Democrat and Republican visions for the country, particularly on social and economic policies, has never run deeper.
Biden laid out his plan for the U.S. in a joint address to Congress on Wednesday night, touting a $6 trillion spending plan that would fundamentally expand the role of the federal government.
The Biden spending package, known as the American Families Plan, is designed to grow government assistance programs for education, child care and housing.
Biden insisted his proposal would help Americans by putting money directly into their pockets.
“No one should have to choose between a job and a paycheck, or taking care of themselves and their loved ones, or parent or spouse or child,” Biden said.
The Wall Street Journal criticized Biden’s “cradle to grave” plan, arguing that it was designed to make the middle class dependent on government.
Republican Sen. Tim Scott from South Carolina delivered the Republican rebuttal to the president’s remarks Wednesday, and directly refuted Biden and the Democrats’ big spending approach.
The South Carolina senator argued that conservative policies and principles are the way to set Americans free, not big government stepping in.
Scott told the American people in his televised address that the American Family Plan would lead to “even more taxing, even more spending, to put Washington even more in the middle of your life — from the cradle, to college.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence, during remarks to the Palmetto Family Council at a dinner on Thursday evening, expanded on the Republican vision for Americans — to build upon individual success and determine their own destinies without heavy government influence.
Pence said that he has “had enough of higher taxes” and “a bigger welfare state” during Biden’s first 100 days.
The former vice president expressed the conservative view that devotion to freedom and limited government would result in individual prosperity.
“After 100 days I think the time has come for Americans devoted to faith and family and freedom, and limited government, to stand up and unite behind a positive agenda and win back America. And it starts right here and right now, in South Carolina,” Pence said.
This “tale of two americas” has become even more striking over the last year, as calls for social justice and law enforcement accountability erupted following the death of George Floyd in police custody over the summer.
Specifically, the growing debate over whether America is “fundametally racist” has embroiled both Republicans and Democrats.
Scott, a Black man who grew up in the South, addressed the issue of racism in his rebuttal speech, detailing instances in his life when he was judged based on the color of his skin.
“Nowhere do we need common ground more desperately than in our discussions of race,” said Scott.
“Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country,” he continued. “It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different kinds of discrimination. And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”
Biden weighed in during an interview Friday morning, saying he doesn’t “think the American people are racist,” but that the country’s history of slavery and Jim Crow laws still have impact on America today.
On numerous occasions, Biden has referred to the term “systemic racism” to describe the racial issues dividing the country.