A Fox News host let Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) repeat his inaccurate claim that welders make a lot more money than philosophers — and jokes that Plato would have been better off learning a trade than “yapping about his philosophy.”
The Republican presidential candidate noted Tuesday that online searches for welding classes had sharply spiked, and he argued during the debate that vocational training was more lucrative than a liberal arts education.
“Welders make more money than philosophers,” Rubio claimed during the GOP debate. “We need more welders than philosophers.”
However, according to the salary database PayScale.com, the average annual salary for graduates with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy is $97,000 — while graduates with an associates degree in welding technology earn just $58,500.
Rubio appeared Wednesday morning on “Fox and Friends,” where host Brian Kilmeade asked him about his claims without questioning whether they were actually supported by fact, reported Media Matters.
“You said we need welders, that welders get paid more than philosophers,” Kilmeade said. “We’re getting too many people with philosophy degrees. Here’s your tweet. ‘The Google trend, searches for welding classes are spiking 1300%.’ Are you happy to be behind the welders today?”
Rubio said that other trades, such as machinists, airplane mechanics and car technicians, “are good paying jobs” — which he said should be the end result for a quality education.
“For the life of me I don’t know why we stopped teaching Americans to do that kind of work, to work with their hands,” Rubio said. “These are good paying jobs. We can be teaching kids to do that when they’re 16 or 17 years of age, and there’s a shortage of people.”
The senator claimed that manufacturers can’t find enough qualified workers, and Kilmeade chimed in by mocking anyone who pursued learning for its own sake.
“Plato would have been so much more successful if he had just welded and stopped yapping about his philosophy,” Kilmeade joked.
Rubio agreed that the famed Greek philosopher and mathematician — whose ideas helped form the basis of Western Civilization — was something of a failure in key measure.
“If you can find a philosopher that can weld, that’s pretty good,” Rubio said.
Watch the entire segment posted online by Media Matters: