GOP 11/10/15 Debate: Marco Rubio wants fewer philosophers, more welders

At the 11/10/15 GOP debate, Marco Rubio said, to wild applause, "I don't know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers." Transcript at [1], video below.

It's not hard to find many sources pointing out that Rubio is probably wrong about who makes more money. Vox media, CNN, the Washington Post, and others jumped on that aspect.

Some have also stuck up for vocational schooling. They're probably right about the earnings and they're right about vocational schooling. But, it's telling that they don't discuss the other aspects of what Rubio said.

If we're discussing literal philosophers, then perhaps we need more of them and we need them to be as good as they can be. They might help us deal with issues like euthanasia and so on. They might help stop the U.S.'s slide into idiocracy (as amply demonstrated by the GOP). We aren't going to turn into ancient Athens overnight, but heading in that direction is better than the direction Rubio wants: everything oriented towards making money. In Rubio's world, if you can make more money welding you should do that, even if as a philosopher you'd do more good for the U.S. To Rubio, the shining city on the hill is one big mall.

Rubio's comments play into the anti-intellectual, yahoo strain in the GOP. Rather than seeking to channel and change such sentiments, the GOP plays to the Tea Parties types in order to get votes. Rather than sneering at (mostly far-left) intellectuals, perhaps conservatives should seek to field some who would be more to their liking. Rubio's comments come from the same dark place as Ann Coulter's comments about soccer. Like her, Rubio would abandon the field rather than encouraging their side to do a better job.

On economics, the GOP doesn't represent the interests of welders, Joe the Plumbers, or Bob the Builder (unless that referred to billionaire builder Bob Perry). The GOP tends to extol groups that it then stabs in the back by supporting jobs being sent overseas or by importing foreign workers to drive down wages. Welders might think Rubio is sticking up for them, except his immigration policies would result in their wages falling.


RUBIO: ...If you raise the minimum wage, you're going to make people more expensive than a machine. And that means all this automation that's replacing jobs and people right now is only going to be accelerated.

Here's the best way to raise wages. Make America the best place in the world to start a business or expand an existing business, tax reform and regulatory reform, bring our debt under control, fully utilize our energy resources so we can reinvigorate manufacturing, repeal and replace Obamacare, and make higher education faster and easier to access, especially vocational training. For the life of me, I don't know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.


If we do that -- and if we do this -- if we do this, we will be able to increase wages for millions of Americans and we will be able to leave everyone better off without making anyone worse off.

CAVUTO: Thank you, Senator Rubio.