Several folks in last night's Republican presidential debate, including Marco Rubio, apparently decided to use philosophy as a foil for some of their typically ridiculous claims about education. In response, lots of people are citing an average salary for people working as professional philosophers — sometimes attributed to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — north of 70k, much more than 'welders.'
I would like to take this opportunity to ask folks to think about what they're doing. I am, and the rest of you should be, extremely dubious of statistics saying folks working as academic philosophers are making $70k on average. There is, to be blunt, no way such numbers —if they are being correctly reported — are being arrived at without massively undercounting continent faculty working at multiple schools, all technically 'part time,' and almost surely making 'welder' salaries or less. None.
At very least, let's not gleefully paper over the economic reality of many members of the profession just to score points against grandstanding right wing politicians. That would be to continue one of the worst patterns of the current academy, namely that of throwing many of us, and the most vulnerable of us, under the bus in order to reinforce the narrative that there isn't a problem with the economics of our profession — a position which is flatly wrong and only serves the interests of the most privileged subset of professional academics.