Marco Rubio Says Welders Make More Money Than Philosophers Do. He’s Wrong.

It was the first question of the GOP debate: Would you raise the minimum wage? And to Sen. Marco Rubio specifically, a few moments later: “Since you aren’t a fan of all [the government’s] giving away, tell us tonight what you would take back.”

Here’s how Rubio responded:

If I thought raising the minimum wage was the best way to help people increase their pay I would be all for it, but it isn’t. In the 21st century, it’s a disaster. 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 is 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 use our energy resources so we can reinvigorate manufacturing. Repeal and replace Obamacare and make higher education faster and easier to access—especially vocational training.

Here’s how he clinched it, to rousing applause:

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.

Here’s the one big problem with that statement:

Chart by Alison Griswold

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the GOP primary.