Rubio, who really does not approve of people studying philosophy as he also ran it down repeatedly at the Red State Gathering, said during tonight's debate that 'welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and fewer philosophers.' Rubio is an Aristotelian without knowing it, because unlike the Platonists he divorces practical wisdom from theoretical contemplation. The problem with not studying philosophy is that you can't escape it. If you aren't trained, you simply are driven by ideas that come from you know not where, and which bear consequences you have not considered.
For example, consider his claims about the market. If the first assumption is true -- that welders make more money than philosophers -- isn't the second principle analytic? Not only is the market aware of the need, it's adjusted compensation accordingly. Won't, then, the market make sure we get the welders we need without us having to do anything at all?
Why are we even talking about this? Because he wants to meddle with the market, of course, by pushing vocational programs. He thinks government meddling is the answer to a market problem: we value welders more, and even pay them more, yet for some reason our schools keep producing philosophers instead of welders.
I'm not sure that the first assumption is true, actually: welders make very wide ranges in salary depending on their specialty. Philosophers also vary widely depending on their institution's prestige and funding. Although right now the move to make faculty into adjunct rather than tenure-track has really depressed compensation, those who do succeed at gaining a tenure track position do quite well. Some welders make great money, and some don't. I'm the grandson of a welder. He didn't get rich. He did survive the great depression, though I gather for a long time the only welding people would pay for was the crafting of whiskey stills. But people would pay for that.
On the other hand, the reason to study philosophy isn't so you'll become rich. It's because, as Aristotle says at the beginning of the Metaphysics, "All men by nature desire to know." It's nice if that turns into a paying gig, but it's a universal claim: all desire to know, so it's a study that is proper to any sort of person at all. Not everyone has an equal capacity for it, but everyone has some capacity, and some natural drive and desire for it. We want to know, we want to understand, and we want to pursue this knowledge as well as we can. Philosophy is not the only road these days, but it is the ground of all of the roads, and it is their meeting place.
UPDATE: You know who has a degree in philosophy (and Medieval studies)? Carly Fiorina.