But, if someone always takes the easy way out, they will always have wet feet. :)
Learning enough PHP/mySQL to use pre-built solutions is a very valuable skill to have. WA Solutions are designed to get the less experienced designers started with dynamic sites. They become a stepping stone to using the extensions that created them. Static sites are definitely on the way out for all but the most basic brochure sites.
Where would we be now if we stuck with tables instead of learning enough CSS to do what we need? The web is moving way too fast to stick with static sites. The sooner you get up-to-speed the easier it will be.