(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) plugged vocational education as a way to raise wages at the Republican debate hosted by Fox Business Network Tuesday night.
"We need more welders and less (sic) philosophers," he said.
He was responding to a discussion about raising the minimum wage.
Rubio, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson all said they would not raise the minimum wage because it would have negative repercussions.
"What makes America special is that we have millions and millions of people that are not rich, that through hard work and perseverance are able to be successful," Rubio said.
"The problem is that today people are not successful working as hard as ever because the economy is not providing jobs that pay enough. If I thought that 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 20th 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's 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 utilize our energy resources so we can reinvigorate manufacturing, repeal and replace Obamacare, and make higher education faster and easier to access, especially vocational training.
"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."
'People have to work really hard'
"I would not do it," Donald Trump said.
He said high taxes and high wages mean the U.S. is not going to be able to compete against the rest of the world.
"I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can't do it."
'People need to be educated on the minimum wage'
"I would not raise it," Dr. Ben Carson agreed.
"As far as the minimum wage is concerned, people need to be educated on the minimum wage. Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.
"It's particularly a problem in the black community. Only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job, who are looking for one. You know, that -- and that's because of those high wages. If you lower those wages, that comes down.
"You know, I can remember, as a youngster -- you know, my first job working in a laboratory as a lab assistant, and multiple other jobs. But I would not have gotten those jobs if someone had to pay me a large amount of money.
"But what I did gain from those jobs is a tremendous amount of experience, and how to operate in the world and how to relate to different people, and how to become a responsible individual. And that's what gave me what I needed to ascend the ladder of opportunity in this country.
"That's what we need to be thinking about. How do we allow people to ascend the ladder of opportunity, rather than how do we give them everything and keep them dependent?"