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PolitiFact Florida: Rubio on Cap & Trade, Bush on Education Spending


PolitiFact Florida recently put a pair of claims from two of the leading candidates on the Republican side in the 2016 race for the White House under the microscope.

First, on April 19, Senator Marco Rubio appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation," where his take on the subject of climate change veered into the economic effects addressing the problem would have.

"If we do the things they want us to do, cap and trade, you name it, how much will that change the pace of climate change vs. how much will it cost to our economy?" Rubio told host Bob Scheiffer. "Scientists can't tell us what impact it would have on reversing these changes. But I can tell you with certainty it would have a devastating impact on our economy."

While PolitiFact concedes that the senator is right on that former: scientists can't tell us what impact cap and trade would have on climate change; they took a look at what Rubio called it's "devastating impact" on the economy. The finding?

"We rated his statement 'False' based on that part of it," PolitiFact Florida's Josh Gillin said. "These studies are all over the map really in terms of how they're going to effect the economy - maybe not to the same degree, but there also is no telling how something would work unless you had a specific policy in place."

"What we found is when we looked at programs in places like California and New England and Europe, the predictions beforehand that the sky would fall if we these cap and trade were put into place really didn't seem to turn out that way," Gillin added. "In these places, there's just a minor effect on those regional economies - a few hundred dollars per family, some analysis say. Some even go so far as to say that there are benefits because the quality of life...has improved with the environment."

Turning to another GOP presidential hopeful with ties to Florida, former governor Jeb Bush spoke to Republican voters in New Hampshire recently about one of his pet topics - education standards, particularly Common Core.

"We have an 80 percent graduation rate in high school after spending more per student than any country in the world other than Liechtenstein I think, or Luxembourg and a couple other small countries," Bush said.

"We rated what he said as 'True,'" Gillen said. "We looked at a couple different studies here, we looked at some national statistics and it does seem to be the case that the United States' (four-year secondary education) graduation rate overall is about 81 percent."

"There's a list of over 30 industrialized nations, and what we found is, yeah, the United States is about fifth from the top in secondary per pupil spending - above us is Austria, Luxembourg as (Bush) mentioned, Norway and Switzerland," Gillen added. "They all spend a little bit more than we do - about $12,700 per student every year." 

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.