During last week's GOP Debate, Marco Rubio stated that "welders make more money than philosophers." Many in the media took this as an opportunity to pounce on Rubio, pointing out that philosophy professors earn a higher mean wage than welders. While this is indeed true, it distracts from the point Rubio was attempting to make. For starters, it fails to take into account the vast difference in workforce size between welders and philosophy professors, and the fact that most philosophy majors don't go on to become professors in that field.
As Rubio said, vocational careers have largely been belittled by modern American society. Considering that many jobs for skilled workers offer comparable pay to those requiring bona fides from academia, this is incredibly unfortunate. Take my family's own industry, electrical construction, for example. Due to the shortage of available labor, you can find an electrician earning $80,000 a year relatively easily, and making upwards of six figures in a market such as Washington, DC is not unheard of.
In short, you are a heck of a lot more likely to find work as a skilled tradesman than trying to become a professional chin scratcher--and that was the core point of Rubio's statement. In the words of Mike Rowe, "I don’t think we need fewer philosophers. I think we need more philosophers who can weld. Or better yet, more welders who can philosophize."
Anthony DeFazio is a seventeen-year-old homeschool student from the Washington, DC area. He serves as the Communications Director of American Individualists, in addition to working in the electrical construction industry. Follow Anthony on Twitter: @anthonyjdefazio