Earlier in tonight’s GOP debate, Sen. Marco Rubio made a rousing call for more vocational education. “Welders make more money than philosophers,” he said to applause. “We need more welders than philosophers.”
But do welders really make more than philosophers? Not according to the Bureau of Labor*, which notes that philosophy professors make a median salary of of $63,630, compared to $37,420 for welders.Yo, Marco. If you had studied philosophy instead of political science in college, maybe you would have known better. Hey, maybe if you had ever held a job that wasn't with a government or the GOP**, maybe you would have known better.***
(*Bureau of Labor Statistics? If so, fun fact: the BLS used to hire philosophers to figure out what all its labor statistics meant. I met the BLS guy at the APA a couple of times.Check ancient JFP's for confirmation.)
**Correction: for a few years, Rubio started his own law firm and was off the Florida payroll for a few minutes, at least until he started teaching at Florida International University for 69k/year, a state institution of higher education which does not, to my knowledge, teach welding.
***More fun facts, from the Washington Post:
In fact, the average first-year salary for college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy is $42,200 — with a mid-career average of $85,000, according to Payscale.com. For college professors, the median salary is $89,913, with the top 10 percent having a salary near $200,000.
By contrast, the top 10 percent salary for welders is only about $58,590, BLS says.