Marco Rubio sought to portray himself as the candidate of fresh economic ideas Tuesday by delivering a speech in Chicago focused on overhauling the country's higher-education system.
The Florida Republican derided existing colleges and universities as running a "cartel" more interested in blocking new competitors than embracing low-cost ways to teach students. As president, Rubio said, "within my first 100 days, we will bust this cartel by establishing a new accreditation process that welcomes low-cost, innovative providers."
Rubio has also proposed requiring universities to tell students in advance how much money they can expect to make with a given degree and allowing corporations to essentially pay for a student's tuition in return for a percentage of the student's paycheck after graduation. Elsewhere in his remarks, Rubio called for cutting the corporate-tax rate to 25 percent and rewriting immigration laws to give priority to workers needed in the economy rather than to family reunification.
Rubio has offered most of his ideas before, and critics were quick to point out Tuesday that he has not been able to pass any of them as law -- and in some cases hasn't even tried -- while he's been in the U.S. Senate. Some conservatives, including the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, have slammed Rubio's tax plan as a bad idea.
Still, Rubio used the speech as an opportunity to again try to cast the 2016 presidential race as one between the past and the future -- a contrast his campaign thinks will benefit the 44-year-old Cuban American.